JNow it is getting tougher for Hertha – the Bundesliga has its first Corona game cancellations this season. After the three positive tests with head coach Pal Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and striker Dodi Lukebakio, another case was added to the relegation-threatened Berlin first division soccer club on Thursday evening. Winger player Marvin Plattenhardt also tested positive for the corona virus. This forces the entire team and the coaching staff “with immediate effect into a 14-day domestic quarantine,” said Hertha.
That means: Hertha BSC must apply to the German Football League (DFL) to cancel the next three games at FSV Mainz 05, against SC Freiburg and Schalke 04. From a health point of view, the complete isolation of the team is “absolutely the right step,” said sports director Arne Friedrich. The former international had taken over the training as interim coach for Dardai and led the first practice session on Thursday afternoon. The next shock followed after the training. This also raises general questions about professional football in the difficult phase of the corona pandemic.
After the first three positive test results, the health department had ordered the team, the coaching team and the close employees around the cadre to be isolated in a joint quarters until April 28 and not to be sent to quarantine at home. This initially also applied to the trainer’s son Marton Dardai as contact person K2, as he no longer lives in his parents’ house.
“Game operations cannot be maintained like this”
But with the fourth corona case, the situation changed. Detlef Wagner, district councilor for social affairs and health from the responsible district office in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, explained to bild-online. There is “no Lex-Hertha – especially not from our health department”.
“That means that my medical officer has quarantined the entire team,” added Wagner on rbb television: “14 days are mandatory.” This puts the entire league and especially Hertha in a precarious position six game days before the end of the season. So far, games only had to be postponed in the 2nd division in the recent corona cases at Holstein Kiel, Karlsruher SC and SV Sandhausen. “From a sporting point of view, that affects us of course, because we now have to play six Bundesliga games by the end of the season on May 22, 2021 in the fight to stay in the league,” said Friedrich.
The Hertha professionals should keep fit with virtual training units during the quarantine at home under the guidance of the coaching team. The positive: According to the association, none of those affected show any symptoms. “We accept the situation despite the difficult circumstances and will throw everything in our power into the balance for a successful season finale,” emphasized Friedrich. The Berliners are currently with 26 points in the table position 15 and only because of the goal difference in front of the same points Bielefeld on the relegation place.
“After consulting with our hygiene officer, we had already tightened the hygiene measures again in the past international break, for example implemented daily quick tests before they became mandatory in the DFL hygiene concept,” reported Friedrich, who at the end of 2019 was responsible for the then Hertha Trainer Jürgen Klinsmann had been installed as a performance manager. Previously, goalkeeper Rune Jarstein had to go into quarantine after a positive test.
Friedrich was promoted to sports director and after the leave of absence from managing director Michael Preetz also took over his duties. The job will go to Bobic in June, who – as investor Lars Windhorst hoped – should develop Hertha in the direction of a “Big City Club”. But first of all, under more severe conditions, it is a matter of avoiding the crash in league two.
It remains to be seen whether the developments at Hertha will revive the deliberations that the entire league should go to a quarantine training camp in the end of the season. On the recommendation of the Sports Medicine / Special Game Operations Task Force, headed by national team doctor Tim Meyer, the DFL initially decided to tighten its hygiene concept further in view of the increasing number of infections. However, even this cannot guarantee one hundred percent security, as the latest cases at Hertha show.