City star Pukki reveals the game which changed his career and a Stiepermann superstition
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City star Teemu Pukki has been looking back on a Europa League match which turned his career around and set him on the path to stardom with Finland and Norwich City.
The striker has 16 goals in 23 games to his name for club and country so far this season, notching his ninth Premier League goal during a 1-1 draw at Leicester on Saturday, having fired Finland to Euro 2020 last month with just three players scoring more than his 10 goals in qualification, including Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Prolific form in recent years has boosted the 29-year-old's profile significantly but he had to navigate some difficult times earlier in his career. Having shown big potential for hometown club Kotka he was signed by Spanish top-flight club Sevilla as a teenager, only to return home with HJK Helsinki in 2010, where he got his career going again.
It was in a Europa League game against German club Schalke in August 2011 when his career took a fresh turn, scoring twice in a shock 2-0 home win in the first qualifying round, as well as in the 6-1 defeat in the second leg.
Asked about the most memorable games of his career, Pukki said: "For Norwich, it has to be (beating) Man City. No-one believed we could win that game and we did, a great performance.
"With Finland, a while ago we drew with Spain (1-1 away from home in World Cup qualification in 2013), I scored our goal and they had won the Euros and the World Cup, so that was a big game.
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"And one game where it all kind of began when I went back to Finland with Helsinki, against Schalke in Europa League qualification. We won 2-0 and a couple of days after the second leg they signed me and I went back to Europe again."
The Finn was taking questions from City fans in a video for the club's main shirt sponsor Dafabet, which covered a wide range of topics, including former Schalke team-mate Jefferson Farfan being the best player he has played with.
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Asked about pre-game superstitions, Pukki added: "Not really, I try to relax and not think too much about the game before. At home games I'm normally sitting next to Stiepi (Marco Stiepermann) and sometimes they miss our seats so we change it to the way it's always been, that's probably the only one."