Coronavirus hampering German soccer clubs’ Bundesliga return

UEFA has declined the Munich city council's application to have its stadium illuminated in rainbow colours for Germany's final European Championship group game against Hungary on Wednesday. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — German clubs’ preparations for the Bundesliga’s resumption after the winter break are being hampered by coronavirus infections.

Defending champion Bayern Munich is among those worst affected, with Monday’s training session put back until the late afternoon so players and coaching staff can be tested upon their return.

The team’s return was already delayed by a day after the Bavarian club reported five COVID-19 infections – captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, players Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso and Omar Richards, as well as assistant coach Dino Toppmöller, all tested positive.

It’s unclear if the five are infected with the omicron variant and whether they will miss Bayern’s game against Borussia Mönchengladbach to resume the league on Friday. Neuer, who said he was suffering from light symptoms, will miss the match.

Gladbach is also affected after reporting four positive coronavirus infections – Joe Scally, Mamadou Doucouré, Denis Zakaria and Keanan Bennetts are all in quarantine.

“All four players are doing well,” Gladbach said.

Of the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs, 13 have reported coronavirus infections.

Stuttgart has four players in isolation ahead of its visit to last-place Greuther Fürth on Saturday, with Silas Katompa Mvumpa, Naouirou Ahamada, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Mateo Klimowicz all affected.

Borussia Dortmund will likely have to do without the infected Dan-Axel Zagadou for its game at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Frankfurt has two players in quarantine with COVID-19.

Both Berlin clubs are also affected by positive test results. Hertha Berlin new signing Fredrik André Björkan is among its players in quarantine.

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