Norwich end German adventure with victory
Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Farke guided Norwich City to a 2-1 win against Schalke in the final match of their tour of Germany, adding to the confidence flowing through the side after a positive summer and with the Premier League kick-off fast approaching.

Norwich struck first through Teemu Pukki within the opening 15 minutes, with their lead lasting until just after the break when Rabbi Matondo levelled up the scores. The Canaries got what proved to be the match-winner through former German under-21 international Moritz Leitner with half an hour left to play.

Mixed bag

This was the Canaries' second official match of their pre-season travels prior to returning to England, coming off the back of a 2-2 thriller against Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday. In between these games, Norwich also staged a behind-closed-doors fixture against Bonner SC, from which the English club emerged  with a 4-1 victory.

Schalke, under the guidance of recently appointed head coach David Wagner, the former Huddersfield Town manager, have had a morale boosting but strange pre-season to date, with a 3-1 win away to Rot-Weiss Oberhausen and a 2-2 draw against Wattenscheid 09, sandwiched by a lop-sided 20-1 thrashing of of a Bottrop Town XI.

The German club will hope to have a better campaign when the Bundesliga begins on 16th August, after a 14th place finish last season off the back of finishing runners up to Bayern Munich the previous campaign.

Squad rotation

Farke has rung the changes through the three games, partly due to injury concerns but also to give minutes to a large percentage of the squad, including new signings Josip Drmic, and Sam Byram, who joined the club from West Ham earlier this week and made his second substitute appearance after debuting against Bonner.

The manager allayed fears about Ben Godfrey's condition following Tuesday's friendly after the highly rated defender went off against Arminia Bielefeld with a suspected fracture but was only bruising. Godfrey returned to action against Schalke and Farke's gamble was justified with a high class performance.

Norwich were without their other injured players Louis Thompson, Mario Vrancic and Alex Tettey, all of whom should be ready to return soon. Christoph Zimmerman will miss the start of the new season with a knee injury, while Emi Buendia sat the game out after rolling his ankle in training but only as a precautionary measure.  

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Early lead

Finnish striker Pukki - returning to his old club for the first time since his departure in 2013 after two seasons spent in Gelsenkirchen - put the Canaries into the lead in the 13th minute

Pukki, who has 18 goals in his national team colours in 79 appearances to date, was a reliable and prolific contributor to the Norwich cause in front of goal last season with a tally of 29 goals in 43 league appearances and was vital to their efforts after joining from Brondby last summer.

The reigning EFL Championship Player of the Season, who was also voted Supporters Player of the Season for the 2018-19 title winning campaign, signed a new 3-year contract at the start of July and fans will be heartened that the talented and humble striker seems to have his shooting boots ready for the challenges ahead.

The equalising goal came through Liverpool-born Welsh international  Matondo, the 18-year-old winger, who spent his youth career at Cardiff City and latterly Manchester City and has appeared in 3 matches for his national side, drawing the sides level three minutes after half-time.

Canaries grab victory 

The scores remained tied at the Frimo-Stadion for around 10 minutes prior to  Leitner's winning strike, Norwich's number ten rounding off the tour of Germany in style with the winning strike just shy of the hour.

The midfielder was in familiar territory on German soil, having been born in Munich and spent time at 1860 Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and Augsburg. He is yet to turn out for the senior German national side but plundered 7 goals in 24 games for the under-21 team up to 2015.

Leitner's winner capped a successful tour for the Canaries and, with most players at full fitness or close to returning to action, Farke's men look in good shape ahead of the big kick-off.

Homeward bound

Next up, they will face a familiar opponent back in England, with Championship team Brentford visiting Carrow Road on Friday 26th July, looking to avenge a narrow 1-0 victory in the equivalent competitive fixture last season - the return fixture at Griffin Park saw the points shared in a 1-1 draw.