Marco Stiepermann is Norwich City’s secret weapon
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Marco Stiepermann is the unsung hero of Norwich City's Championship rise.
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has softened the blow of losing James Maddison to Premier League Leicester City, operating as the chief support to the prolific Teemu Pukki.
Stiepermann lashed home a goal in last weekend's 3-2 comeback win against Bolton that underlined both his value and growing influence for Daniel Farke.
'A brilliant, brilliant performance. He scored a very good goal and is so important and crucial for the balance of our team, for our rhythm,' said Farke. 'He can play finishing passes, he is able to drive with the ball, he can find passing options and score goals and assists.
'He would have been even more in the spotlight if he had scored to make it 3-0, when he had another big chance.
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'It was important he had a proper pre-season and was not injured.
'Physically, I think he is in a much better position than last season. Right now he can play on his best role.
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'Last season we had James Maddison in that position, who is also a decent player as well.
'He could have played with James but he has now brought himself to a situation where he is fit and has adapted to the nature of the Championship, and that is why he is performing on this top level.
'We also needed Marco several times on the left wing or at left full back last season.'
City head to Bristol City on Saturday evening a point clear of Leeds before the afternoon kick offs, but Farke is still wary of talking up a promotion tilt.
'It is important we enjoy this situation and enjoy the moment.
'Yes, of course, we know we are there with many points but it is the middle of the season and we have 25 games to go,' he said. 'We know where we are coming from.
'Our first claim is to get to 50 points, to be safe in the Championship, then we want to reach 60 to make sure we are at least no worse than the situation we finished in last season.
'Then if we have several games left we will look to make the best out of it. This is our way. We don't look too far ahead.
'There are so many big clubs with big financial opportunities who are probably able to do business in January, so you never know what might happen.
'We will look to go as far as we can on this level.'