Zimbo back but fresh City injury concerns
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Fit-again Norwich City defender Christoph Zimmermann is key to the Canaries’ Championship hopes.
The powerhouse centre back was pressed into emergency action at half-time of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Burnley, with Timm Klose picking up a suspected hamstring injury.
Zimmermann made a quicker than expected recovery from his own hamstring issue, which continued a depressing theme for last season’s Championship talisman at the back.
The former Borussia Dortmund II defender revealed earlier this season there was initial fears his career could be over after a heavy challenge from West Ham’s Sebastian Haller on what had been his Premier League debut, after missing a chunk of pre-season following knee surgery.
Daniel Farke is in no doubt the 27-year-old has a crucial role to play from here, desipte his injury-hit tilt at the big time.
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“He was perhaps the most important, most consistent player for us last season,” said Farke. “He played more or less every minute, when we looked solid and kept some clean sheets.
“He is quite good in his tactical understanding of the games. Okay, he can make a mistake for the odd goal, but he is very important for the dressing room and he gives us that flexibility to play three at the back.
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“We have conceded too many from crosses and set-pieces this time around, and he is strong in that area. It is difficult to say if our season had gone a different way with Christoph, but my gut feeling is to have him for the majority of the season, in his top shape, would have helped us without a doubt. He was our most important defensive option last season.
“We were not able to spend an unbelievable amount of money either so he would have been important again.
“But you could the say the same perhaps if we had Timm or Grant for the whole season. He is a great leader in the group to have in the dressing room. He really wasn’t ready to play 45 minutes but we had no choice with the injury to Timm.
“Christoph has not been 100pc fit since before West Ham at the start of the season. That is nearly a full year.”
Zimmermann is likely to be needed again at Manchester City with both Klose (hamstring) and Alex Tettey (knee) early doubts allied to suspensions for Emi Buendia and Josip Drmic.
“Timm had hamstring problems. He felt it was tight and could not go on,” said Farke. “It was a difficult decision because Christoph was not prepared for 45 minutes. He was more or less out, let’s be honest 12 months. He had one full team training session and my idea was to maybe get him on the pitch for the final few minutes.
“We needed to have a good header of the ball but one of the positives is he put in a top class performance and he showed how much we have missed them. He was able to cope with this 45 minutes.
“I am a bit concerned about Alex Tettey. His knee was swollen at the end of the game. Not from a hit but he was moaning about some pain so we have to wait and see if he is available for Manchester City.”