Bitterness and regrets for City midfielder
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited
Norwich City is a special club for Lukas Rupp, although he has regrets over his move to England.
Rupp is relishing another crack at the Premier League, even if a hamstring injury cut short his role in the Canaries’ Championship title win.
But the experienced midfielder admits playing in front of empty stadiums took the edge off City’s latest triumph under Daniel Farke. The full impact of the pandemic on professional football only became clear shortly after his move from Hoffenheim back in January 2020.
“Although we celebrated a huge success, the season was quite emotionless. Without fans it was very bitter for me,” he said. “I actually moved to England to experience just that. Those first two months when I moved here were outstanding. Football here lives from the emotions and the fans.
"There are a lot of old stadiums where people sit very close to the field. I've played in almost all of the top clubs' stadiums, after that point, and always in front of empty stands. You think to yourself, ‘that can't be true. I definitely have to experience that again with fans’.
“The joie de vivre is returning. I am very confident from June life will be reasonably normal again. If the majority are vaccinated, maybe we can even catch up with a public celebration before the new season. If you ever get promoted to the Premier League, then of course you want to celebrate with the fans.”
Rupp is expected to recover from a hamstring injury ahead of a return to pre-season training on July 5. The 30-year-old, speaking to his old club Hoffenheim’s official site, now feels his initial hunch about the Canaries proved correct.
“Norwich is considered a special club here and the ‘German’ club in England,” he said. “I felt the urge to try something new again in my career and had the feeling that I had to get out of Germany. I was at a good age to take this step.
"In Germany I sometimes thought about the foreign players, ‘why are you always among each other, do something with the other players, it doesn't always have to be that small group.’ Now I am here in England and have found I do the same thing and travel a lot with the Germans. But I’ve actively worked against this and wanted to be more open.
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“When I got the chance to play in the Premier League, I wanted to take it. That's why it's amazing that we have made it back up and that I have a second opportunity to play there in full stadiums.”