Hertha team in quarantine as four test positive for coronavirus

By Jens Mende and Arne Richter, dpa

Hertha Berlin was forced into quarantine and three upcoming matches will have to be postponed after a total of four officials and players tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bundesliga club announced.

Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai, assistant Admir Hamzagic, striker Dodi Lukebakio and left back Marvin Plattenhardt tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bundesliga club said on Thursday.

This means that the entire team and the coaching staff have to go into a 14-day domestic quarantine “with immediate effect,” said Hertha.

The four affected players and coach are “symptom-free,” the club said in a statement, adding that another assistant coach Andreas Neuendorf has been classified as a first-degree contact.

The team will be coached temporarily by sporting director Arne Friedrich.

After talks with the local health authority, the team and remaining staff around the squad must also quarantine at home.

That means that Hertha must apply to the German Football League (DFL) to postpone 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.

“We will accept this challenging situation as a team and do everything together to play the next games successfully.”

Ex-Germany player Friedrich attended a coaching course in 2014 but since then the 41-year-old has only gained experience as an assistant coach of Germany’s Under-18 team from 2014 to 2015.

He is currently doing practically everything at Hertha – as fill-in coach, sporting director and interim managing director. Fredi Bobic will arrive from Eintracht Frankfurt soon to help run the club.

Until now, no Bundesliga game has been postponed this season because of the coronavirus but several second-tier matches have been, raising suspicions among supporters that the top flight is being given special treatment.

The positive tests at Hertha may revive speculation over whether the entire league should go into a quarantine training camp in the final phase of the season.

The German Football League had decided to further tighten its hygiene concept in view of rising infection numbers in Germany but not to order quarantined camps.

Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein previously had to go into self-isolation after testing positive.

Hertha are trying to avoid getting sucked towards the relegation places with six games left this term.

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