In the summer of 1996, 1.FC Nürnberg re-joined forces with adidas.
While there had only been a three-year period where the two Bavarian organisations were apart, Nürnberg had worn Erima and Puma in the interim.
Newly relegated from 2.Bundesliga, Nürnberg were operating in the third-tier Regionalliga Süd and their new outfits – red home and yellow away – were fairly plain, with each shirt paired with matching black shorts.
A first-placed finish ensured immediate promotion back to the second level and Nürnberg were rewarded with two new strips. The unusual shorts design, whereby one set of adidas stripes matched those down the left-hand side of the home shirt, appears to have only been given to teams in Germany.
It would prove to be another successful season for the club, finishing third in 2.Bundesliga behind Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Freiburg to make it back to the top flight for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
While the red away shorts would appear to have been chosen specifically to match the home shirt if a mashup was required, it appears that they didn’t deviate from the red-black-red look that season. And, while they did don change shorts with the white shirt, it wasn’t the black set that was called upon.
Instead, against the all-red of FSZ Zwickau and the red-blue-blue of SpVgg Unterhaching, they wore white alternative shorts. However, as adidas had not provided them with a white set in either of their two seasons back – the 1997-98 third was yellow, green and black – they had to delve into the past. And, as wearing Puma or Erima shorts was not an option, that meant shorts from their previous spell with adidas, featuring a trefoil.
It’s quite jarring to see the mix of adidas eras. France did carry the trefoil on the left sleeve of a retro-style shirt against Brazil in a 2004 friendly to mark the centenary of Fifa, but otherwise the marking has been absent from football pitches for nearly three decades.
Was this Nürnberg example the last appearance of the famous old adidas logo in a major country’s domestic league?