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Sunday, December 5, 2021

German players isolate following positive Covid-19 test ahead of Qatar 2022 qualifier


The German Football Association confirmed a number of players are isolating after a positive Covid-19 result was detected before a World Cup 2022 qualifying match.

Four German players have been asked to quarantine and four more are under supervision after defender, Niklas Süle tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of this week’s World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein, the German Football Association (DFB) said on Tuesday.

The DFB said Süle was fully vaccinated and has shown no symptoms. The German defender had also tested positive for the novel coronavirus a year ago.

On Tuesday, four players identified as close contacts with Süle tested negative but have been placed in isolation on the instruction of the health department. They are fellow Bayern teammates Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala as well as Karim Adeyemi of RB Salzburg, according to Bild.

Team Director Oliver Bierhoff confirmed four other players who were part of the travelling party that went from Munich to Wolfsburg are also isolating. Bierhoff has not disclosed their names but noted they were not considered “close contacts”. They will remain in camp under close monitoring from the DFB while undergoing regular testing.

“The number of corona infections has recently risen again nationwide. That is why we are consistently implementing the hygiene and behavioural rules during the last international match of the year,” said Bierhoff.

“This news is very bitter so shortly before the final two games in the World Cup qualifying – for the coaching team as well as for the entire team. But health comes first.”

This high-profile case comes as Germany is fighting a surge in new infections, with its seven-day Covid rate striking a new record on Tuesday.

It also puts the spotlight again on Kimmich, who had sparked a fierce debate in the country last month when he revealed he opted not to get vaccinated, because of “personal concerns“.

It even prompted Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to urge him directly to rethink his position as “vaccination is the main weapon in the fight against the pandemic”.

Last month Germany became the first team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by crushing North Macedonia 4-0 away to secure top spot in Group J with two games to spare. 

The team is now expected to host Liechtenstein on Thursday before travelling to Armenia for the last qualifier on Sunday.

They lead the group with 21 points from eight games, eight points ahead of second-placed Romania.

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