Di Cunningham: Why this weekend left me feeling particularly German

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 22:56 19 August 2019

City supporters celebrate Teemu Pukki's second in their 3-1 win over Newcastle. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

City supporters celebrate Teemu Pukki's second in their 3-1 win over Newcastle. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Schadenfreude

noun: pleasure derived from another's misfortune.

We're all Germans now and we all go hand in hand; while next month may finally see the delivery of Brexit, Norwich fans I know seem delighted to have found their inner teuton.

The atmosphere at Carrow Road ahead of kick-off on Saturday was an extension of last season's zeitgeist; upbeat, full on, ultras-style support for a team assembled from players underachieving in Europe's lower leagues, playing schöner Fußball.

None of us - including apparently Stuart Webber and the rest of the NCFC executive board - knew what to expect this season.

Undoubtedly the talent uncovered by the scouting team with the fitness coaching and the team ethic central to squad management were key to the team's justified promotion from the Championship but with pundits constantly reminding us of our club's negligible outlay over this transfer window it was tricky even for the most optimistic of us to confidently predict success in the world's best league and the earning of a right to remain.

The start to our season at Anfield was remarkable - but ultimately it was a 4-1 loss.

So for all the lauding of excellent play by minnows taking on a European Cup winning team valued at £1B, the first real test was always going to be the fixture against Newcastle United.

Even then the Canaries, with no big money signings in the whole of Farke's reign, might be described as EPL ersatz compared with a club that has broken its transfer record twice in the last year - paying £21m for Almirón in January and £40m for Joelinton this summer.

MORE: Six things we learned from Newcastle win

But the neat passing and creativity that was the Farke/Webber Weltanschauung of last season picked up where it left off. With interest; Todd Cantwell is stronger, faster, more confident, Emi less petulant, Leitner can thrive - away from the agricultural challenges of lower league play.

We have yet to see the additional qualities that loanees Patrick Roberts and Ibrahim Amadou will bring but the players who delivered so much in 2018-19 have already upped their game to match the new competition. And despite being denied a clean sheet and a bagel for his old team, Tim Krul has surely performed as well in the last fortnight as in his best Player of the Month and Player of the Season days at St James' Park.

Ralf Fährmann may have to wish for a decent cup run to showcase his 'keeping skills. Not to mention Godfrey. Not to mention Pukki of whom frankly what is there left to say? I'm going with 'Traumhaft' or 'Himmlischste' or in his native language 'ihana'. It describes him, his goals and my match day.

So can we keep above the bottom three for the remaining 36 fixtures?

The standard mantras are clichéd, but wise for all that, 'play each game as it comes' and 'focus on what's within your own control' and actually there does seem to be much within City's control. But I have to confess that keeping an eye on the progress of other sides - and the word at the head of this piece, notable for the lack of any counterpart in English - have been central to my happiness for the early part of the new season.

Other clubs' fixtures following our league debut against Liverpool at first glance looked like they'd cement our place in the relegation zone. But those first round results delivered four more scorelines with a goal difference of three or higher - elevating us to 16th; sheer schadenfreude. And this weekend I finally acknowledged that though enjoyable, Colin Murray's Quest show is no longer essential viewing. I have little need to know about the capability of the teams he highlights.

I watch purely for the warm feeling of seeing Alex Pritchard, Patrick Bamford and Lewis Grabban battling it out in the league below; sheer schadenfreude.

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