Plenty of great memories for Klose at City despite his injury woes
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
If it does turn out that Timm Klose has played his last game for Norwich City, there will be plenty of happy memories mixed in with the frustration for the big Swiss defender.
Canaries legend Darren Huckerby summed it up well as he posted on Twitter: “Quality fella and character, good servant to the club, think we were robbed of his best football due to injuries. Good luck with the rest of the season Timm.”
You’d do well to find a Canaries fan who doesn’t echo those sentiments and while it leaves a current question about central defensive cover for Daniel Farke, most will understand the 32-year-old’s desire to be playing regularly.
The prospect of a fairytale return to boyhood club Basel has long been speculated about in Switzerland and now Klose has returned to the team closest to his heart, where he wasn’t quite able to make the breakthrough to first team level when in the academy ranks.
After breaking into senior football with Thun in Switzerland, he continued to build his career with Nuernberg and Wolfsburg in the German top flight, before making the move to Norwich in January 2016 for a fee reportedly in the region of £7.5million.
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He was the centre-back that Alex Neil thought could make the difference as City chased Premier League survival and defensively things improved quickly with Klose in the team, if not results to start with.
But as he flicked in a Robbie Brady free-kick in first half injury-time and celebrated in front of the Barclay, kick-starting a 3-2 win over relegation rivals Newcastle, back-to-back wins had hopes high. Then disaster struck.
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A knee injury five minutes before half-time during a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace finished his season with five games remaining and City slumped to relegation without him.
His first taste of Championship life proved a bruising encounter for the first few months of 2016-17, and poor form saw Klose benched by Neil for much of November and December.
Which may have had a little to do with Klose head-butting the corner flag as he roared in celebration in front of the Barclay after heading the Canaries 2-0 up in a home win over Birmingham in the January of that campaign.
A couple of months later and Neil had been moved on but the Switzerland international was kept around as Stuart Webber and Farke arrived with a new structure and a style of play which would suit Klose.
After missing the first month of the 2017-18 season through injury, the centre-back set-up Nelson Oliveira’s winner as Birmingham were beaten 1-0 at Carrow Road in his first game back in the team.
It wouldn’t prove to be a particularly memorable campaign, as Farke laid the groundwork for future success and the City squad went through plenty of changes, but Klose contributed to arguably two of the most memorable.
He popped up on the left wing to cross in injury-time as Jamal Lewis headed a dramatic FA Cup equaliser at Chelsea and of course there was derby day of February 2018.
Ipswich thought they had finally brought an end to their long wait for a win over Norwich, only for Grant Hanley to find one last bit of energy in injury-time to keep the ball in play and cross for his defensive partner, with Klose powering in a header to spark wild celebrations as Town were thwarted at the death at Carrow Road - punching the air in delight in front of the Barclay again.
It was 2018-19 where things really got going under Farke though and Klose was an integral part of the ‘Farkeball’ style during the first half of the season, scoring two headers in a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest which sparked a 12-game unbeaten run.
That included setting up Emi Buendia’s wonderfully skilful goal in the 1-0 home win over Brentford and heading a late equaliser at Brentford on New Year’s Day - but December and January were heavily disrupted by knee issues.
By the time Klose was fit again in February, Ben Godfrey and Christoph Zimmermann had formed a fine central defensive partnership and the Canaries were steaming towards the title, limiting him to late cameos - but still relishing the special moments of celebration.
That took him back to the Premier League and, after knee and hip trouble had disrupted pre-season, cruel luck brought knee ligament damage after a heavy collision just 25 minutes into a 1-0 defeat at Crawley in the League Cup.
As part of a defensive injury crisis it meant that Klose would return after the unprecedented three-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, straight in at the deep end, with City’s survival chances already slim and with Zimmermann and Hanley ruled out of the restart.
It made for some rather rusty displays as Farke’s side imploded to 10 consecutive defeats and a grim relegation, which has seen Klose leave on a low note, after finding himself on the fringes as Norwich try to find their feet in the Championship.
His character and passion meant that Klose was well on his way to legendary status, making 128 appearances but having his spell ruined by injuries.
So it’s understandable that, at 32, he wants to make sure he’s playing regularly, particularly if he’s to have any hope of adding to his 17 Switzerland caps.
Klose is under contract until 2022, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he returns, but it looks unlikely due to Basel having the option to make the deal permanent.
For now, all City fans will hope that he can just get back to playing regularly as a starting point.