Starting XIs: Zimmermann comes in for City but Rhodes starts on the bench against Boro

PUBLISHED: 14:05 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 15 September 2018

Christoph Zimmermann has impressed after replacing injured captain Grant Hanley 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Christoph Zimmermann has impressed after replacing injured captain Grant Hanley Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Christoph Zimmermann has been handed his first league start of the season by Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke, following the injury to captain Grant Hanley ahead of today’s clash with Middlesbrough.

The big German comes into central defence as one of two changes, with Marco Stiepermann coming into midfield and Jordan Rhodes dropping to the bench.

That allows Teemu Pukki to play up front, having scored two winners for Finland during the international break, with Onel Hernandez and Emi Buendia retaining their attacking starting roles as well.

Mario Vrancic is also on the bench, featuring for the first time this season after a pelvis issue which ruled him out of pre-season.

The Canaries are looking to improve on a 1-1 draw at Ipswich before the break, which leaves them with five points from the opening six games of the Championship season.

High-flying Middlesbrough are unchanged, with former Canaries favourite Jonny Howson starting in midfield.

The visitors are level on points with Leeds at the top of the table after holding the leaders to a 0-0 draw ahead of the break, which halted a four-game winning streak for Tony Pulis’s team but kept them unbeaten.

Boro have only conceded twice so far this season, both coming in a 2-2 draw at Millwall on the opening day, keeping five consecutive league clean sheets since then.

Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis; Tettey (C), Leitner; Buendia, Stiepermann, Hernandez; Pukki. Subs: McGovern (GK), Marshall, Godfrey, Vrancic, Trybull, Rhodes, Cantwell

Boro: Randolph; Flint, Fry, Ayala; Shotton, Clayton, Besic, Friend; Howson, Downing; Assombalonga. Subs: Konstantopoulos (GK), McQueen, Batth, McNair, Saville, Braithwaite, Hugill

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire) – Has shown 23 yellow cards and one red during seven games so far this season. Last took charge of City during a 3-1 loss at Cardiff last December and his last Carrow Road game was a 0-0 draw with Burton last September.

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