Christoph Zimmermann is feeling the Norwich City love after his big move west
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Christoph Zimmermann is feeling the love at Norwich City - and even he's surprised at the amount of early action he has seen.
The summer centre-back signing and former Borussia Dortmund II captain has played every minute of the Canaries’ pre-season so far, and looked relatively comfortable in the process.
Some of that has been bourn out of necessity given Russell Martin’s back injury, Saturday’s precautionary absence of Timm Klose and City’s continuing search for further centre-back cover.
But all that and more has helped the German 24-year-old settle into life at Carrow Road.
“The first weeks have been really good – way better than I was expecting I have to say, because I didn’t expect the people to be this kind and helpful,” said Zimmermann.
“The staff and all the people at the club and around the team, whoever you talk to and whatever question you have, they are trying to help you. That’s made my first weeks here extremely easy, even though it’s the first time for me to be away from Germany, away from my family and the people I know.
“So I was really thankful for having those people around me in these surroundings, even though I didn’t expect it.
“My parents and brother are in Germany, and my girlfriend also has a good job so she will stay in Germany. So I’m going to be here on my own. But if it’s this way, it’s way easier than I expected because when you’re on your own and have no one to talk to, it’s hard. But I do not feel this way. Everyone is trying to help me and trying to make the best of it, so that’s good.”
Being fully involved has helped too; Zimmermann is the only City player to complete both the 5-0 friendly win at Irish side Cobh Ramblers, and then Saturday’s Suffolk outing.
“It’s been a lot of minutes – and also in the regular season you wouldn’t have those big training sessions in between; it would just be recovery I think,” he smiled.
“When I played the 90 minutes in Ireland I was thinking maybe come Saturday it would be less, but when I saw the line-up – and then that Timm couldn’t start – it was kind of obvious it would be another 90min for me.”
Zimmermann’s involvement so far may have been substantial, but the sturdy defender remains philosophical and excited about how that will translate into Championship action once the competitive clashes arrive next month.
“I don’t really have any kind of expectations,” he said. “For me, coming from a lower league in Germany, it’s first of all a big experience and I’m happy to have this chance.
“And I know there are some really experienced centre-backs here. Russell is the skipper and has played for Scotland so often. Timm playing for Switzerland, and I guess there will be another centre-back to come because you can’t enter a season with just three – with 46 matches, it’s just not possible.
“So from that point of view, I’m just trying my best in pre-season to get myself in a good shape and present myself as another option, and I’m happy for every minute I get on the pitch – because to play in the second tier of England would be a really great experience, and I will just be happy to step on the pitch and play for Norwich.”