City ace reveals West Ham striker Haller apologised for horror tackle
PUBLISHED: 17:10 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 26 September 2019
Christoph Zimmermann accepted an apology from West Ham’s Seb Haller for the sliding lunge that sidelined him until January.
The Norwich City defender damaged ligaments in his foot on his Premier League debut last month at the London Stadium.
Haller escaped any punishment for the attempted tackle but Zimmermann disclosed the Hammers' big-money summer signing had looked to make amends.
"I have seen the scene over and over and the more often I look it does not get better," said Zimmermann, on a visit to the offices of the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News on Thursday afternoon. "He is not too late but you can see how he slides in and that is dangerous.
"His right foot misses my right foot as I pass the ball.
"If he had hit me then the foot would have been broken because it was in the air, the actual problem was he missed my foot and it landed on the ground again and then his left leg followed through and my foot got trapped a little bit.
"In slow motion it looks really bad but those tackles happen.
"I was told after the game he came to the dressing room but I made sure I got to the team bus quickly because I didn't want to be around the guys and I needed a bit of time to myself.
"I was told that Haller came to the dressing room looking to apologise in person.
"That is a nice thing to do and certainly not every player would apologise for a tackle but he couldn't find me so he asked for my number and texted me later saying he hoped it wasn't too bad and apologising for my tackle.
"He wished me all the best for the future. In our business I don't take that for granted but it showed there was no bad intention. It doesn't help me but it was an unfortunate accident and I appreciate he apologised."
City head coach Daniel Farke initially said there were genuine fears for Zimmermann's career but the popular defender is on track to be back for the end of the year.
"I just need to make sure it doesn't develop into something that could cause me problems for the rest of my career. The physios have been very clear, this injury needs to settle," he said. "I remember the game was on the Saturday, the physios assessed it but it was hard because it was very swollen so on Sunday it was an x-ray and MRI on the ankle and then on the foot.
"There were so many things it could have been, bone or ligaments. When I came in on the Monday morning the first thing I was told was it was a nasty injury. So I needed some time to process what that meant, whether it was career-threatening or not, luckily it isn't.
"It would be an exaggeration to say I need to learn to walk again but my foot has not touched the ground for this period. I need to rebuild some muscle in the leg.
"As a player you try to push it but the physios have been clear and said if you start too early you could get chronic pain. Early January would be realistic and the head coach mentioned this. I hope to be able to play in 2019 because December is a busy period. There will be a lot of load and I want to help the team.
"We are still quite early in the recovery but I was told straight from the beginning it was three ligaments damaged in the middle of the right foot. It would have been better if it was the ankle ligaments or a break because that would be a quicker timeline to heal. Unfortunately with the ligaments in the middle of the foot that is tricky because you use that part of the foot when you walk.
"I was told six weeks for the crutches and the air boot and it is four weeks this coming Saturday. That will settle the foot down to allow the ligaments to heal naturally. I hope that has gone well.
"I am quite positive. From there it is still a long way in the rehab because I haven't used my foot for six weeks."