European Championship qualifying game endangered – Corona shock slows U21

Chisinau (dpa) – Corona shock instead of concentrated training: The preparation of the German U21 national team for the important European Championship qualifier in Moldova has been slowed down by a positive corona test.

Whether the game planned for Friday (6.15 p.m. / ProSieben Maxx) in Chisinau could even take place as planned was initially open after the positive results from a professional 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 us all.”

Since last Sunday, the Kuntz selection in Herzogenaurach had been preparing for the game against Moldau and the important second game on Tuesday in Fürth against Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, this already under difficult conditions: The Salzburg Mergim Berisha had to cancel the games after a positive Corona test at his club, Bremen’s Felix Agu received no approval from his club due to a regulation from the health department. “We are not one of those who complain from the start. We look ahead and we have good young players,” said Kuntz.

On Thursday, the positive results shocked the selection of youngsters. The affected professional and all contact persons were isolated from the rest of the team, as the German Football Association announced. Which player it was initially remained open. All other footballers 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 coordinate all further steps closely with the responsible authorities and UEFA.

In the event of a positive corona test, the European Football Union UEFA provides that national teams can compete with an emergency team of healthy players if the other players are tested negative. The association stipulates 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 in the European Championship qualification. With three games still to go, the DFB-Elf are in second place in their group, one point behind leaders Belgium.

“We have changed the goal of group victory into the goal of three wins,” said Kuntz, also referring to the last qualifying game against Wales in November. “We want to get nine points and then we’ll see what comes out of it. Qualification is the top priority and we will stick to that.” The nine group winners and the five best runners-up buy the EM tickets.

With close testing, the association tried to ensure the highest possible level of safety for the young national team. “I rarely feel as safe as I did in ten days at the DFB,” Kuntz said earlier this week. “We are tested regularly and whatever precautions can be taken, we do.” Now the 57-year-old had to admit that despite all the measures, “one hundred percent security” cannot exist.

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