BERLIN (AP) – A player for Germany’s national football team has tested positive for the coronavirus and four more are in quarantine as a precaution ahead of World Cup qualifying games against Liechtenstein and Armenia.
The German football federation said on Tuesday that the unnamed player had been fully vaccinated and had no symptoms. The other four tested negative for the virus, but have been instructed by the local health authority in Wolfsburg to isolate because of their proximity to the infected player.
Germany has already qualified for next year’s World Cup before its final qualifiers. The team plays host to Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg on Thursday and then Armenia in Yerevan on Sunday.
The rate of infection in Germany has been rising steadily in recent weeks and reached a new epidemic-high on Tuesday of 213.7 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days.
“The news is very bitter for the final two games in World Cup qualifying – for the coaching team as well as the entire team,” said Germany team director Oliver Bierhoff. “But health comes first. I wish the player who tested positive a speedy recovery and continues to be symptom free.”
The Bild tabloid reported that Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule was the affected player. Sule had tested positive for COVID-19 a year ago.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick called Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah into the squad without any explanation on Monday.
Last weekend, a second division game in Germany was called off after one of the clubs reported 18 new coronavirus cases among players and staff.
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