Norwich City announced the signing of Marco Stiepermann on Sunday. The German has signed a three-year deal with the club for an undisclosed fee.
We spoke to 2. Bundesliga expert Jonny Walsh about Stiepermann and what to expect from him this season…
Firstly, what is your initial reaction to the news?
Good news for VfL Bochum. Having signed him last year for €750,000 and an average campaign just gone, it’s a great deal if the reported seven-figure sum is true. It proved to be a signing that never really worked out for both parties, especially given that it took Stiepermann until the back end of the season to finally score a goal.
If you had to assign a value to him, what would it be?
I think around that mark is probably fair, it’s an interesting move given that – unlike Vrancic, Zimmermann or Franke – he isn’t coming off the back of a great season. He has proven he has skills in certain areas that are obviously attractive in the past, however.
How did he perform last season?
In his first few games, he was very impressive and controlled the play very well in midfield. However, as time went on he became increasingly frustrating – his shooting was off, passing was lax at times and was dispossessed at key moments. However, it was a year to forget in general for Bochum.
Do you think he can make the transition to the Championship?
Given that Zimmermann, Vrancic and Franke have seemingly settled well, there shouldn’t really be any reason not to. The volume of German players making the move only bodes well for Stiepermann adapting, and as a midfielder who doesn’t shy away from getting involved he should be okay.
What qualities would he bring to Norwich?
Stiepermann has shown before that he has an eye for goal and the killer pass. That was missing last year, despite hitting the woodwork several times, and he often wasted opportunities to let fly. Though, he does have a very strong shot when he manages to connect and the same can be said of his crossing. His versatility will be a major plus, as Stiepermann can play pretty much anywhere across midfield.
What areas of his game need improvement?
Consistency will be key, especially coming off the bench. If he fails to maintain a decent standard of play, his play time could well be limited. Should he play well, he wouldn’t look out of place and would make a good impact off the bench. Yet those games in Bochum were mixed with a less than helpful amount of poor moments. If Stiepermann can start well and stay confident, the rest should follow.
Finally, do you think Norwich have made a good signing?
In comparison to the business they have already done, this is probably the signing I would expect the least from. Equally, these can also be the best buys as they come with little expectation. If Norwich can keep him at his Hinrunde levels, it will be a good deal. Otherwise, things could be a little patchy.
I’d like to thank Jonny for taking the time to speak to us! You can follow him on Twitter – @JonathanWalsh_
We also spoke to him about last month’s signing Marcel Franke, which you can read here.