City centre-back Christoph Zimmermann says the midweek win over QPR was a big relief following the loss to Sunderland.
“It was important for us to win this game,” he told the media at Friday’s press conference. “It was an important victory for the squad, the staff and everybody. You’re always waiting for the first win of the season – we’d had one in the cup, and we wanted our first three points as well.
“We were all happy with the result and content with the way we played the game. We didn’t give away too many chances in comparison to Sunderland, so it was a good improvement from that point of view.”
Zimmermann caused a stir when he stayed late after the QPR win to sign autographs with the fans still inside Carrow Road. “I heard somewhere that people didn’t expect me to spend that much time with the crowd after the game, but I enjoyed it,” he says. “We had 26,000 in there, and last season at Dortmund II we were happy to have 3,000. I’m enjoying it, and we shouldn’t take it for granted that we have this huge and immense support.
“There were lots of children who are normally supposed to be in bed at that time! It was my way of showing appreciation for everyone’s support. Daniel Farke said he was happy I’d found the time to leave the crowd to be here in time for training the next morning!”
After a barnstorming, slide-tackling display on the opening day of the season, and dominating in the air against QPR, Zimmermann looks to have adapted well to the English game – but he says he is still learning.
“The biggest surprises were in the friendlies when I discovered big changes between the football I was used to playing and the football that’s played here in England,” he says. “The most striking thing was the difference when trying to win headers – here it’s a lot more with elbows and there are basically no fouls with headers! That’s a big change.
“I talk to Marcel [Franke] about it and we try to learn from the experiences and try to improve it game by game. He’s used to more physical strikers after playing in the second league in Germany, but it’s a big change for him too. We can help each other in these situations.
“From a personal point of view I wasn’t expecting to play so much in the first part of the season, so I’m really happy about playing.”
With a trip to the famous Villa Park up next, Zimmermann says he is loving playing against big teams in the Championship. “It’s a dream come true for me – every game is like a gift to me. It’s something I didn’t expect to happen. Sunderland were in the Premier league, Fulham have a Premier League history, Aston Villa have a great history and had players you admired as a kid so I really look forward to all of these games.
“We know about the situation with Villa’s start, so we’re focussing on ourselves and looking to go there and control the game.”