After the Corona scare about Niklas Süle from FC Bayern, Hansi Flick retired to the team hotel with his national players. No training on the lawn. No external contacts. The national team’s emergency plan took effect at the Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg.
As the German Football Association confirmed, the Munich professional tested positive for the corona virus. The health department in Wolfsburg then ordered quarantine for Süle’s Munich teammates Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala as well as Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Salzburg, who had traveled together.
After the emotional debate about vaccination skeptic Joshua Kimmich, the DFB ensemble was overtaken by the pandemic shortly before the last two games in the World Cup qualifying.
“This news is very bitter so shortly before the final two games in the World Cup qualification – for the coaching team as well as for the entire team. But health naturally comes first”, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff was quoted in a message.
The other four players who sat with Süle on the plane from Munich to Wolfsburg on Monday receive “special care”, according to Bierhoff, but they do not have to be in quarantine. Meant are captain Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sané.
Completion of the World Cup qualification
According to the DFB, Süle has been vaccinated twice and is currently symptom-free. It remained open at first whether the contact persons had full vaccination protection. The national team will play their last home game in the World Cup qualification in Wolfsburg against Liechtenstein on Thursday (8:45 p.m. / RTL). Then there is the game against Armenia in Yerevan on Sunday.
To what extent the playing of these games could be endangered initially remained open. Most recently, there were no longer any game cancellations in professional football in the case of singular infections. The national team has already qualified for the World Cup. According to the DFB, preparation for the Liechtenstein game should continue with individual training in the team hotel. Team training should be rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the five quarantine players, Flick also has to do without Florian Wirtz and Nico Schlotterbeck, who are absent due to muscular problems. The national coach therefore nominated Maximilian Arnold and Ridle Baku from Wolfsburg and Kevin Volland from AS Monaco. The 56-year-old had already reacted on Monday evening and brought Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen into the DFB district. Flick now has a total of 24 players in his squad.
Emotional debate about Kimmich
Most recently, the statement by Bayern Munich’s Kimmich that he was not vaccinated caused heated public discussions about the role model function of national soccer players in the Corona crisis. “The number of corona infections has risen sharply again nationwide recently. That is why we continue to consistently implement the hygiene and behavioral rules during the last international match of the year in order to act as responsibly as possible in the current infection situation,” said Bierhoff.
The current Corona case is not the first among the national team. In March, Jonas Hofmann from Mönchengladbach had to leave the DFB quarter before the start of the World Cup qualification. Marcel Halstenberg from Leipzig was also not allowed to remain as a contact person. Before that, there had been a lot of fuss about several corona cases in the team of the then opponent Ukraine in November 2020. Until shortly before the kick-off, the Nations League game (3: 1) in Leipzig was canceled.
Several national players have also been infected at their clubs since the outbreak of the pandemic. Last year Ilkay Gündogan from Manchester City made impressive statements about his suffering after his infection and warned against being too lax.