Daniel Farke’s 5 successful raids on the German market since taking over at Norwich City
The level of excitement at Carrow Road is expected to rocket sky-high as Norwich City prepare to kick off their Premier League campaign away from home at Liverpool.
The Canaries finished the 2018-19 EFL Championship as champions, thus securing promotion back to the Premier League following a three-year absence from the top-flight.
Norwich earned plenty of plaudits for their impressive brand of football in the second-tier last term and manager Daniel Farke will be hoping that his team can replicate same the kind of form in the Premier League this season as the Canaries look to make a grand return to the top-flight.
The fans though, will be aware of the fact that Norwich didn’t really reach great heights the last time they were promoted to the Premier League from the Championship.
The Canaries, then managed by current Preston manager Alex Neil, had failed to beat the drop in the 2015-16 season in the Premier League and went straight back down to the second tier without making much of an impression.
However, Norwich’s stunning revival under the charismatic presence of Daniel Farke at the helm of affairs, coupled with the fact that the Canaries have managed to carve out an identity of their own since the German’s arrival at Carrow Road in 2017, should give the fans plenty of hope.
Farke has done well to build a squad in his own image in a space of just two years, which has been instrumental in the process of him being able to establish an aesthetic brand of footballer at the club.
Moreover, the German hasn’t had millions to throw around in the market like some of his counterparts, and so he deserves all the credit in the world for his recruitment policy.
Indeed, Farke’s recruitment policy at Carrow Road has paid rich dividends in a relatively short span of time. Born and raised in Germany, and having spent his entire playing and managerial career in his homeland, Farke’s knowledge of the German market has allowed the Canaries to build a squad with several low-profile bargain recruits.
The manager sold several homegrown stars like Alex Pritchard, Jacob Murphy, Jonny Howson, Cameron Jerome and Graham Dorrans in the 2017-18 season to make way for some new low-cost signings, most of which were little-known players based in Germany.
Farke has proven that his knowledge of the German market is, indeed, quite vast and with that in mind, let us take a look at some of the manager’s best German recruits at Carrow Road.
Note: This list includes German stars or German-based stars, so other contemporary marquee signings like Emiliano Buendia and Teemu Pukki don’t fall under the bracket.
1. Marco Stiepermann (Vfl Bochum)
A former player of Borussia Dortmund, Marco Stiepermann made his move to Carrow Road from German second-tier outfit Vfl Bochum in the summer of 2017 and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Farke was instrumental in bringing the towering 6ft 3in attacking midfielder to English football given that the 28-year-old’s time with Dortmund’s reserves coincides with the manager’s stint at his former club’s development ranks.
Having plied his trade largely in the German second-tier with clubs like Energie Cottbus, Greuther Furth and Vfl Bochum, Stiepermann initially struggled to settle down at Carrow Road in his debut season but he went on to play a key role in the cub’s promotion-winning campaign last term.
Taller and more physical as compared to an average No.10, Stiepermann was slotted into the No.10 role behind prolific frontman Teemu Pukki by the manager in his preferred 4-2-3-1 system, and the German impressed with 9 goals and 6 assists in 43 Championship outings, bagging four man-of-the-match awards.
2. Mario Vrancic (Darmstadt)
The Bosnian international was probably one of Farke’s most high-profile signings after his arrival at Carrow Road.
Just like Stiepermann, Vrancic too struggled to make much of an impression in his debut season in England, and despite Farke preferring him as one of the first names on his teamsheet more often than not, the Bosnian failed to deliver the goods.
Having struggled to settle down in his new surroundings, Vrancic slipped down the pecking order in the 2018-19 season and started only 14 games in the Championship, whilst making 22 substitute appearances from the bench.
Ironically, he managed to contribute with 10 goals and 7 assists over the course of Norwich’s promotion-winning campaign, with quite a few of those being absolute stunners towards the crunch end of the season when the Canaries needed him to step up.
Farke will be hoping for the midfielder’s previous Bundesliga experience with Paderborn to come handy when the Canaries fight it out in the Premier League.
3. Christoph Zimmermann (Borussia Dortmund)
Having plied his trade with the reserve teams of Borussia Monchengladbach and Dortmund prior to his arrival at Carrow Road, powerful centre-back Christoph Zimmermann looked set for a career in the third and fourth tiers of German football.
However, it all changed in the summer of 2017 when Daniel Farke brought him to Carrow Road on a free transfer from Dortmund.
Zimmermann’s first season in English football wasn’t particularly productive as Norwich finished 14th in the Championship. But Farke tasted the fruits of showing a lot of confidence in the physically imposing defender, with the German making a big contribution in Norwich’s promotion-winning 2018-19 campaign.
4. Tom Trybull (ADO Den Haag)
A former youth international for Germany at multiple levels, Tom Trybull signed for Norwich City from Dutch Eredivisie outfit ADO Den Haag in 2017 with Bundesliga experience in his CV, having played for Werder Bremen in the German top-flight earlier in his career.
Trybull is one of the few inclusions in the list who made an instant impact upon his arrival in the Championship, as the gifted and well-rounded central midfielder had absolutely no difficulties in getting to grips with the English game.
The 26-year-old started only 17 league games in the 2017-18 season, and although he didn’t start regularly last term, Trybull was very much a key component of the Canaries Championship-winning side, having impressed with his accurate passing, distribution and ability to break up the play.
5. Onel Hernandez (Eintracht Braunschweig)
The diminutive winger featured for the reserve sides of Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen in the fourth tier of German football and then starred for Eintracht Braunschweig in the Bundesliga 2 before making his move to Carrow Road on January 2018.
Hernandez didn’t have much time to turn Norwich’s fortunes around in the latter half of the 2017-18 season but he featured prominently in the wide areas in Farke’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system last season, impressing with his pace, trickery and ability to contribute with both goals and assists.
The Cuba-born attacker plundered 8 goals and 9 assists in 40 Championship outings last term and it will be interesting to see whether the manages to replicate those kinds of numbers in the Premier League.