Stiepermann opens up about health problems

Marco Stiepermann of Norwich has a shot on goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road

Marco Stiepermann of Norwich has a shot on goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 20/03/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Marco Stiepermann has revealed battling a mystery illness this season left him in a tough place mentally. 

The German attacking midfielder was eventually diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, an illness that attacks the immune system and affects balance. Stiepermann has missed a large portion of the season as medical specialists worked on uncovering what exactly was wrong with him. 

Stiepermann did play on with the illness, and he believes that testing positive for coronavirus may have caused the subsequent problems with his health.

"It wasn't an injury. I just had damage on my balance system which probably came from coronavirus or glandular fever.

"They still don't know why, and it is hard when you can't find out. I needed to wait quite a long time to get the results and to see what it actually was causing the problems, but they finally found out what it was and from a mental point of view I felt much better after that.

"It was a nice feeling after the long time that I was out. I tried to help the team again and it was a good feeling to be able to play my part again."

After recovering from his illness, Stiepermann has returned to City's matchday squad in the last three matches, coming off the bench late on. 

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The attacking midfielder has been described as 'the best number 10' in the Championship for his contribution two seasons ago, and health has prevented Stiepermann from making a similar impact during this campaign. 

Despite that, he has still been an important part of the Canaries' group and has even found himself playing in unfamiliar positions. 

Stiepermann was deployed as a makeshift striker against Coventry back in November after injuries left Daniel Farke's squad decimated. City drew the game 1-1, with the 30-year-old playing a part in helping the team pull through that fixture.

The Premier League proved a difficult step for Stiepermann to take, with City seeking to add reinforcements to that role in January 2020 with Ondrej Duda joining the club on loan. 

City moved to sign Kieran Dowell from Everton last summer in an attempt to provide competition in that area. 

Ryan Ledson of Preston North End and Marco Stiepermann of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Champ

Stiepermann has come off the bench during City's last three matches. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dowell is beginning to find his rhythm in yellow and green after an injury hampered his progress early on, with the 23-year-old netting twice in his last four matches. That competition is something Stiepermann relishes rather than fears.

"I think it is a good thing. It is better to have that, than to have no player for that position because then another player has to come in who can't play that position as well but has to play there," he told the club's matchday programme, OTBC.

"For that, I think the boss can be really happy that for nearly each and every position he has got more players and I think that is one of the keys to why we are top of the league."

Despite his lack of involvement this season, Stiepermann did score the decisive goal in a crunch promotion clash against rivals Swansea City back in November. 

The German swept home the winning goal as City snatched a late 1-0 win to overcome the Welsh outfit. Stiepermann also played a pivotal role as Teemu Pukki and co made light work of the high-flying Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

Stiepermann was a key protagonist in the Canaries title assault two years ago, and although he has spent more time on the sidelines this time out, he believes he can reflect on a second promotion with pride if City can finish the job.

A wink from Marco Stiepermann after his goal

The German has been a major protagonist during the Daniel Farke era. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

"For me personally, to get promoted twice in four years would be unbelievable. It would be amazing for my career as well. If I get this I think I could be really proud of myself."

City can secure their promotion with a victory over Derby County on Saturday providing both Swansea and Brentford drop points. 

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