Norwich City needed a win, god knows they did, after a torrid last couple of games in which they conceded 8 goals.
The two new German centre backs, Christoph Zimmermann and Marcel Franke had been widely criticised along with left back James Husband and questions were being asked of Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber and that’s before we even mention poor old Russell Martin.
The two week international break gave the City Head Coach plenty to think about and denied him of 7 of his best players, including new centre back Grant Hanley.
In the meantime though, Timm Klose had returned to fitness having missed the start of the season after getting injured at Cambridge in pre-season.
His inclusion in the starting XI at 2pm made me feel a bit better about the game and he turned in a man of the match performance – in my opinion.
He hardly missed a header all game and with Zimmermann alongside him, provided a wall in front of Angus Gunn. Young Christoph looked a lot more assured as well, perhaps because of his experienced partner.
I think we all expected Timm to be a real rock in this division but it didn’t turn out that way last season, something that he freely admitted in a candid interview after the game when he spoke to Canaries.co.uk
‘Last season I thought I was going to rule the league but the opposite happened,’ Klose said.
‘I’ve learned from that. Maybe there will be some games this season where I struggle but I know what they need from me now.
‘It’s important that I’m a leader on the pitch and a strong person for the young lads. I need to bring the fighting spirit out of them.
‘Sometimes you have to play ugly to win. I learned that the hard way and want to be better every game.
‘I want to be mentally strong for the young lads. I’m 29 now and have seen a lot of things in football.
‘The gaffer told me I can be a leader and it’s down to me to bring it on the pitch. In my head, I’m ready for that challenge and want to be a guy people can lean on.’
Timm is a very experienced Swiss international and he’s right when he says that he can be a leader and I love the fact that he says he’s ready for that challenge.
Having played mostly as a defender in my mediocre local football ‘career’, I always tend to appreciate the defensive side of the game and some of the ‘dark arts’ associated with it.
I thought that Timm was outstanding against Birmingham and although Nelson Oliveira won the Sponsor’s man of the match award, I think Timm was more influential overall, especially in the second half when we needed to dig in as Birmingham desperately looked for a way back into the game.
The return of the big man is very timely and if he can stay injury free, he can hopefully help us up the league. I don’t want to fall into the trap of bigging up a player who hasn’t played for a while, so he automatically becomes ‘the answer’ but it is good to hear him acknowledging his shortfalls last season.
I’m assuming that having spent a few quid on him, that Daniel Farke will be playing Grant Hanley very soon too and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he can form a decent centre back partnership with Timm. We’ve then got Zimmermann, Martin and Franke to fit in if Farke wants to play three at the back. It looks to me as though Zimmermann is in the box seat for that job.
A good centre back partnership is something that Norwich City have been crying out for since Malky Mackay and Craig Fleming and it’s ridiculous to think that we haven’t had that sort of partnership since 2003-04.
This win over a fledgling new Birmingham side doesn’t tell us too much but there were some encouraging signs at the back, fingers crossed that continues.