Player watch: Christoph Zimmermann’s debut for Norwich City during dramatic opening-day Championship draw at Fulham
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
As part of this season’s matchday coverage we’ll be picking one player in the Canaries line-up to keep a close eye on in each match.
For this afternoon’s Championship opener at Fulham it was the debut of towering German centre-back Christoph Zimmermann which drew our focus.
Here’s how the match unfolded for the former Borussia Dortmund Under-23 defender at Craven Cottage.
4 – Floyd Ayite causes problems on the left and his cross drops to Sone Aluko but Zimmermann makes himself big to thwart shot in the box.
9 – Stefan Johansen gets in behind Harrison Reed but Zimmermann gets across with a sliding block to get the ball out for a throw.
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10 – Ryan Fredericks streaks in behind James Husband but Zimmermann hooks away before a Fulham player can make contact.
14 – Beats Ayite to a header from a long ball forward by Ryan Sessegnon, heads out for a throw. Fulham recycle, Fredericks in behind Husband again, Zimmermann puts out for a corner but eventually is able to thump the set-piece clear after winning another header.
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19 – Across to cover as Aluko gets behind Marcel Franke, attacker twists and turns but the German sticks with his man and blocks cross for a corner.
23 – Ayite crosses from the right as Husband and Franke are overwhelmed again but Zimmermann is there to head out for a throw strongly.
25 – 1-0 Fulham – Wildschut beaten by Ayite and his low cross deflects off Russell Martin and into the net.
26 – Gunn saves well from Fredericks at near post and Zimmermann clears just ahead of Aluko in the six-yard box.
29 – Fredericks gets two crosses in from the right in quick succession but Zimmermann is there to head both clear.
32 – Ayite turns inside Franke to the left of the six-yard box but Zimmermann superbly slides in to block for a corner, which is flicked on by Kalas and turned wide by Ayite.
41 – Poor kick from Angus Gunn is seized on, Zimmermann beats Ayite to the ball but gives away to Johansen straight away. Neeskens Kebano beats Martin on the left but the big German is back in position to clear.
43 – Zimmermann penalised for a hard tackle on Johansen in midfield, wins the ball but referee adjudges he went through the back of the Fulham man’s legs, but free-kick comes to nothing. Defender not happy with the decision.
Half-time: Fulham 1 Norwich City 0
46 – Across sharply to cut out through-ball from Aluko in behind Franke.
71 – Nervy moment when controlling a high clearance on halfway, awkward first touch but managed to pass to Franke before trouble arrives.
72 – Well-timed sliding tackle intercepts attempted through-ball into the box from Johansen, with substitute Aboubakar Kamara running in behind.
74 – Cairney plays Kamara into the left channel, Zimmermann stands him up but can’t prevent the low cross, turning gratefully to see the ball run across the face of goal when no lurking Fulham attackers to turn the ball home.
76 – Again has to be alert to slide in and stop a through-ball reaching the sprinting Kamara.
82 – Gets away with a late challenge on Fredericks on the edge of the City box, as the right-back set Kamara away, but the striker slipped to waste the chance.
88 – Nelson Oliveira gets on the end of a fine through-ball from fellow substitute Nelson Oliveira to lash home a late equaliser for City.
Full-time: Fulham 1 Norwich City 1
Verdict: Overall a positive debut from the 24-year-old against one of the Championship’s better teams. No-nonsense style, as expected, and stuck to his task well. Will be pleased with his first shift on a positive day for his boss Daniel Farke, who he followed across from Borussia Dortmund U23s.
• Follow post-match reaction and updates from Craven Cottage in our Matchday Live blog at pinkun.com/live