Sunday, January 16, 2022

Bayern player Kimmich back in quarantine amid vaccine debate

BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich is in quarantine again.

The German club said on Friday that Kimmich would be ruled out of the team’s game in Augsburg without being vaccinated. Although Bayern did not give further details, the 26-year-old Kimmich is also in doubt for the team’s Champions League match at Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said on Thursday that Kimmich missed training that day because he was exposed to a man suspected of having the coronavirus.

Kimmich also had to go into isolation last week and missed Germany’s final World Cup qualifier after coming in contact with Bayern teammate Niklas Sule, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Sule and Josip Stanisic, who tested positive for the virus after returning from international duty with Croatia, are also in quarantine. Stanišić was fully vaccinated and had contracted COVID-19 before.

Kimmich has previously sparked an uproar in Germany over his reservations about vaccination against the coronavirus. Vaccine opponents seized on his comments to advance his cause, while medical experts expressed their dismay as the number of infections continued to rise.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “They have very good fact-based arguments to answer their questions and doubts.”

Kimmich’s reticence towards vaccinations means he faces a longer quarantine period than a fully vaccinated player.

Nagelsmann, who has been vaccinated but recently missed four Bayern games due to his own coronavirus infection, refused to directly criticize Kimmich for his stance, despite it now being his role for the team. affecting availability.

“I get on with them quite normally, they’re not bad guys for me,” Nagelsmann said of unvaccinated players.

Kimmich could miss Bayern’s game against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund on December 4.

“It’s a fact,” Nagelsmann said on Thursday. “I think players who have not been vaccinated understand that the risk of missing a game or training session is much higher as a non-vaccinated person than a vaccinated person. I don’t think that I need to make that clear to a player. It’s obvious.”

Bayern state chief Marcus Söder, who is a fan of the team, also urged unvaccinated players to get vaccinated.

“Any player who does not agree to go down this route will in the end do his club, nor the game, any favors,” Soder said.

Lothar Weiler, the head of Germany’s disease control agency, said the country is in a “country-wide state of emergency” as some hospitals and intensive care wards have been overrun even before coronavirus infections rise. The infection reached above 50,000 for the third consecutive day on Friday.

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More AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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