March has been very good for Josip Drmic.
At the beginning of the month, Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld called the 21-year-old up for the friendly against Croatia.
The striker’s performance in the 2-2 draw should be enough to get him on the plane to the World Cup.
He scored two goals and instantly became Switzerland’s key player. Drmic also scored nine goals in 10 Bundesliga games to become the league's most prolific attacker since the winter break.
In the wake of the Franconians’ 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart in the vitally important six-pointer at the bottom of the table on Wednesday night - in which Drmic scored both goals for the home side - it seemed fair to assume that the man of the moment had done enough for his side to avoid relegation (they are 14th in the table on 26 points).
“Drmic won’t play in the second division,” FCN sporting director Martin Bader confidently predicted.
It has emerged that the striker has a release clause in his contract (until 2017) that would allow him to leave for €3.5m if Nüremberg were to go down to the second division though.
To say Drmic has become fundamentally important to Nürnberg’s chances of survival would be an understatement"
And it’s inconceivable that someone wouldn’t snap up the quick, versatile forward - who’s equally effective in the centre and on the flanks - if that were the case.
A total of 15 league goals in his debut season at Nüremberg, a side who don’t create too many chances, speaks of his ability to make things happen in and around the opposition box.
“Drmic finds space because of his pace,” Hitzfeld told Swiss broadsheet NZZ. "It’s very important to have this kind of pace at international level”.
Appenzellerzeitung noted that, following his €2.2 move from FC Zürich last summer, the Freienbach-born son of Croatian immigrants has already done better than Swiss icons Stéphane Chapuisat and Alex Frei had done in their debut seasons in the Bundesliga, at Dortmund.
“I have to say I’m surprised, in a positive way, how quickly I have settled,” Drmic admitted.
“I tried not putting too much pressure on myself. I knew that everything in Germany would be faster, bigger and more intensive. I prepared for that mentally”.
On the pitch, Drmic seems to have that rare talent of being able to anticipate opportunities as well. To say he’s become fundamentally important to Nürnberg’s chances of survival would be an understatement.
All FCN squad members combined have scored just two more goals than Drmic has notched on his own.
“Drmic gives Nüremberg the kiss of life,” wrote Kicker magazine after the Stuttgart win.
Coach Gertjan Verbeek did his best to play down the hype. “He’s showing his class but we’re playing with 11 men on the pitch and have people who provide for him," the Dutchman said.
He's fighting a losing battle though. When you’re this prolific, it’s impossible to stay in the shadows.
If he keeps producing goals at the same rate, Nüremberg might still lose him despite staying up.
Hertha, who need to look for a replacement for the Dortmund-bound Adrian Ramos, are reportedly weighing up a bid.
Bayer Leverkusen are also said to be interested. The Cologne-based tabloid, Express, however, claimed that Bayer’s attempts to secure the services of the forward could well be thwarted by Arsenal.
“The Londoners have made an approach to Nüremberg,” they wrote last week.
So how realistic is that story? Express, it should be noted, were one of the first German papers to accurately report on Lukas Podolski’s move to Arsenal in the summer of 2012.
A raft of English papers had confidently claimed that the Germany forward would move to the Emirates six months earlier, but that was never a realistic prospect.
The striker fits the bill as an understudy to Olivier Giroud for Arsenal"
As a young and relatively cheap option - Drmic would probably be allowed to leave for a fee in the region of €7m if the club stay up - the striker fits the bill as an understudy to Olivier Giroud, and his experience on either flank would be appreciated by the Gunners.
Tying him down now would make imminent sense as well. One or two decent showings at the World Cup for the Nati, as the Swiss call their national team, would make Drmic much more expensive.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Drmic said on Wednesday when reporters asked about his future.
But there’s also the less sensational possibility that someone briefed about the alleged enquiry from Arsène Wenger to push the interested Bundesliga clubs into making an offer.
Drmic is being advised by the same agency who look after Marco Reus (Dortmund) and Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos and Mario Götze.
It’s fair to say they know how to play this game, just as well as their clients do.
One thing seems certain though: Drmic’s stock is set to rise even further.
On Saturday evening, he’s in action away to SC Freiburg, who are in 15th place, only separated from Nürnberg by goal-difference.
It’s another six-pointer and a chance for the Swiss striker to end his brilliant month on top of the world - or “mid-table safety”, as they call it in Franconia.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:
Augsburg’s André Hahn is also hot property. The 23-year-old winger has a release clause that can be triggered for €2.25m - but only until March 31. That’s Monday. Kicker magazine reports that Borussia Mönchengladbach (at home to Hamburger SV on Sunday) are in pole position to sign up the best player in Markus Weinzierl’s surprisingly good side. (A win at Mainz 05 on Saturday could take them to seventh spot in the league). Augsburg might yet be able to tie Hahn down to a new deal but he’s likely to make more money elsewhere. He’s currently on €200k. No, not per week. Not per month, either. Per year.
Bayern Munich, who won their 24th title on Tuesday, have put their dominance into perspective. “The score against Dortmund is only 2-2, if you consider the last four years,” said Matthias Sammer, “we won’t let up now”. That’s reassuring. Pep Guardiola’s men are taking on a slightly reluctant TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday before visiting Old Trafford on Tuesday night. “We have decided that we will play this game,” joked TSG sporting director Alexander Rosen.
BT Sport's live Bundesliga matches this weekend:
Friday March 28: FC Schalke v Hertha Berlin - 7.30pm, BT Sport 1
Saturday March 29: Freiburg v Nuremberg - 5.30pm - BT Sport 1
Sunday March 30: Borussia Monchengladbach v Hamburg - 2.30pm, ESPN
Sunday March 30: Hannover v Werder Bremen - 4.30pm, BT Sport 1