Big break paid off for City defender Zimmermann

Christoph Zimmermann's marking job on Arsenal's Olivier Giroud impressed Gunners' chief Arsene Wenge

Christoph Zimmermann's marking job on Arsenal's Olivier Giroud impressed Gunners' chief Arsene Wenger. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Christoph Zimmermann – and Norwich City's towering centre back insists there are more gems like him in the lower leagues.

Zimmermann has flourished since following Daniel Farke from Borussia Dortmund II last summer, with a new Carrow Road contract signed before Christmas underling his impact.

Farke revealed after City's spirited League Cup exit at Arsenal earlier this season the Gunners' chief had quizzed him over where he discovered the unknown 25-year-old.

'I didn't know about this story but it is nice to hear and it is a nice compliment from someone like him,' said Zimmermann. 'I can say I have improved and perhaps it shows that there are players in the lower leagues in other countries who have some potential and quality.

'It is hard perhaps to be discovered and if it wasn't for the opinion of this head coach then no one knows what level I might be playing at. Or even if I might be playing.

'It shows there are plenty of good players, but not everyone is discovered. I was lucky. In some ways I have proved that I can compete on the Championship level. I don't want to go back too far and say I came from the fourth tier of Germany. Of course there were better games and some worse but I feel I have done alright.'

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Zimmermann also impressed against Chelsea in the recent FA Cup tussles, in a back three alongside Timm Klose and Grant Hanley, but the big defender insists climbing the Championship table is the focus now.

'Special games at Arsenal and Chelsea sometimes you don't really believe you are actually playing those teams,' he said.

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'Sometimes you adapt to the level and if you are playing really top sides you raise your game to compete. It is good for us to see if we play to our full potential that we are not far away from them but everyone knows those three games were a bonus in the cups. They have gone now and the whole focus is on the league. We are looking forward to the challenge that is ahead of us.

'Three or four weeks ago if you had asked me I would say I would prefer to play in a four but it is brilliant to play with Timm and Grant. We have shown it can work and we look solid. It gives us confidence when we switch between the two we know we can play these formations.'

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