Chisinau (dpa) – Corona shock instead of concentrated training: The preparation of the German U21 team for the important European Championship qualifying match in Moldova has been delayed by a positive corona test.
Whether the game scheduled for Friday (6:15 p.m. / ProSieben Maxx) in Chisinau could even go ahead as planned, was initially open after the positive results of a pro on Thursday. “The player is doing well so far,” said national coach Stefan Kuntz. “His two previous tests from the past four days were negative, so the result came as a surprise to all of us.”
Since last Sunday, the Kuntz selection in Herzogenaurach was preparing for the match against Moldau and the important second match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday in Fürth. However, this already under difficult circumstances: Salzburg’s Mergim Berisha had to cancel the matches after a positive Corona test at his club, Bremer Felix Agu did not receive approval from his club due to regulations from the health department. “We are not one of those who complain from the start. We look forward and we have good young players,” said Kuntz.
On Thursday, the positive results shocked the selection of young people. The affected professional and all contacts were isolated from the rest of the team, the German Football Association announced. Which player it was initially remained open. All other football players and coaches of the national team were tested negative on Wednesday, according to the DFB. The results of another series of tests from Thursday were initially still pending. The DFB now intends to closely coordinate all further steps with the responsible authorities and UEFA.
In case of a positive corona test, the European Football Association UEFA ensures that country teams can compete against an emergency team of healthy players if the other players are tested negative. The association prescribes that at least 13 healthy players must be available.
There is also a lot at stake for the U21 team in Moldova and against Bosnia-Herzegovina. A good month after the 1: 4 in Belgium and the biggest defeat in Kuntz’s tenure as U21 coach, the team urgently needs points for the European Championship qualification. With three games to go, the DFB-Elf are in second place in their group, one point behind leader Belgium.
“We have changed the goal of the group win to the goal of three wins,” said Kuntz, referring to the last qualifying match against Wales in November. “We want to get nine points and then we see what comes out. Qualification has the highest priority and we stick to it.” The nine group winners and the five best runners-up buy the EM tickets.
The association tried to guarantee the highest possible level of safety for the young national team through meticulous testing. “I rarely feel as safe as I have in ten days at the DFB,” Kuntz said earlier this week. “We are regularly tested and we do whatever precautions that can be taken.” Now the 57-year-old had to admit that despite all measures ‘one hundred percent security’ cannot exist.