Is Timm Klose the key to City’s survival bid?
PUBLISHED: 11:21 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:21 02 June 2020
When the extent of Timm Klose’s injury was made public following that disappointing League Cup defeat to Crawley Town in August, it provided Daniel Farke with the first of many injury blows this season.
For the Swiss himself, his second chance at Premier League football was denied him - the likelihood was that he’d be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
But fate has intervened and now he finds himself in the selection equation, just like everyone else, when football resumes later this month.
Given the endurance and quality he’d displayed in the Canaries Championship winning exploits, it was a deflating moment for everybody concerned when he suffered his injury. Not least because of the impact he made in a struggling City side during their previous experience of Premier League football.
Klose injected some much-needed quality into a back line which was leaking goals and struggle to contain sides. Against Manchester City, Klose was tasked with nullifying Sergio Aguero, a challenge he rose to with aplomb.
Signed by Alex Neil in January, the Swiss combined technical finesse with conventional defensive techniques which offered City a glimmer of hope in a season that could have panned out so differently.
His knee injury at Selhurst Park was significant to the outcome of that campaign.
It curtailed his season and City went onto suffer relegation, something that seemed avoidable had Klose retained his fitness.
His importance was paramount to City’s prospects. For all the discussion surrounding the big-money addition of Steven Naismith, Klose did leave his mark on that particular campaign.
The feeling among many at Selhurst Park that day was anguish. Klose’s absence felt, and subsequently was proven to be, significant. In hindsight, some City fans would identify that moment as the decisive one.
In 10 appearances that season, Klose averaged the highest interceptions, clearances and blocks per game when compared to his defensive competitors. The sample size is smaller due to his January addition, but it reinforces how much of an impact the Swiss international made to City’s side.
Following relegation, most Canaries supporters expected him to waltz back into one of Europe’s top leagues. He’d displayed his quality at the highest level with Wolfsburg and now City.
What followed was somewhat of a footballing education in the Championship. An experience which Klose has admitted has made him stronger and more adept at coping with the rigours of English football.
His emergence in the Premier League previously left many expecting him to prove his worth again, particularly given City’s philosophy lends itself to his qualities.
City’s defensive crisis this season has been born from an acute injury crisis. Every one of the Canaries defensive options have been sidelined for at least a month.
Klose was expected to miss the entirety of the campaign. The enforced suspension of the season has given him nine games to prove his worth to the City cause and replicate his form across a similar amount of games.
More widely, his return offers Farke the option of deploying a three-man defence - something City’s head coach experimented with in pre-season and confessed he would have utilised had the players been available to him.
Klose’s skill set could lend itself nicely to that particular formation, one that relies on progressive passes from defenders to break lines, whilst City’s athletic, young full-backs possess the energy needed to make that system operate coherently.
But, injuries can prevent players from hitting the ground running and making the impact they’d hope. An advantage of the current crisis is that all players are beginning from a base level devoid of match fitness.
Unlike numerous City players, Klose possesses genuine top-flight experience, a trait that could prove invaluable as Farke’s men seek to pull off their ‘little miracle’.
Now, the Swiss defender has been offered a chance at Premier League redemption. His performances previously offered encouragement and gave City a tangible chance of safety - Farke will need him reproduce the same level of performance again.