Christoph Zimmermann believes Norwich City’s upcoming Sky Bet Championship schedule could turn out to be a decisive period in the season.
City face four of the league’s top eight sides in their next five games, with the other being the small matter of the East Anglian derby at Carrow Road on February 10.
Zimmermann, who turns 26 on Saturday, says the squad are well aware of the significance of the spell coming up.
“It could be decisive,” he said, speaking to canaries.co.uk. “We have lots of games against teams in the top six and a few of them are away – added to that, the fact of the East Anglian derby - it’s going to be very tough.
“Everybody knows that the next five weeks will be crucial for the season and that we just need to get as many points as we can. But to be honest, that’s what we try and do in every game.
“We shouldn’t be looking too far ahead, like at the Leeds game or the East Anglian derby, we should be focused on West Brom and doing our job there.”
After having to settle for a limited-role during the first handful of games this season, Zimmermann hasn’t looked back since coming into the starting eleven for the home win over Middlesbrough in September.
“It’s normal for every player that you want to play as many games as possible,” he continued. “In the first six league games – I think I only played 20 minutes against Preston – it was obviously not what I was hoping for.
“[Against Middlesbrough], I was thinking that it was my first league game since the end of the season before. It had been about four and a half months between league games for me, so I was thinking about not putting too much pressure on myself.
“I was just trying to enjoy it, to a certain extent, and we didn’t have much to lose either because Middlesbrough were unbeaten and second in the table. I was not too hard on myself before the game.”
In many of Zimmermann’s games this season, he has partnered up with Academy graduates Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis in the back four, as well as accompanying Ben Godfrey in the centre-back role over the festive period, in the absence of Timm Klose.
And he is another member of the City furniture who has been blown away by the form of the young Canaries.
"It’s hard to say who I’m most impressed with because Max didn’t start the first five league games and then started the game against Ipswich and has done unbelievably well since then.
"Jamal struggled a bit during the start of the season with injuries but then when he was fit again, he was so important for us. He’s just carried on his form from last season.
"With Ben, he didn’t have much gametime but in the last five/six games he’s always been playing and has done great since stepping in for Timm against Bolton."
Looking ahead to this weekend’s trip to West Bromwich Albion, Zimmermann says he and his City teammates can take a lot from the return fixture back in August, when Albion ran out 4-3 winners at Carrow Road.
"I think we can take a lot from that game because we saw how strong we played in the first-half. It was 1-1 at half-time and that wasn’t the right result.
"The way we played in that game was good so if we can get a similar sort of performance on Saturday, we will give ourselves a good chance of getting a good result from there."