Positive COVID cases among Bundesliga professionals continued to mount on Wednesday.
With one of the highest vaccination rates among footballers in all global leagues, attention again turns to the few who opted against inoculation.
VfL Wolfsburg head-coach Florian Kohfeldt made a point of defending one such player who's unvaccinated status grabbed headlines.
The number of positive COVID cases among German footballing professionals escalates rapidly. Konstantinos Mavropanos and Mateo Klimowicz of VfB Stuttgart were confirmed positive earlier in the day. Later in the afternoon, it was revealed that Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie was also in domestic quarantine after testing positive.
Unfortunately, that is nowhere near the end of the list. FC Union Berlin winger Pawel Wszolek is also infected, as is defender and captain Dedryck Boyata of crosstown Hertha BSC. On the very same day that his contractual status served as the biggest news of the day, Denis Zakaria tested positive fort the virus, as did Gladbach teammate Keanan Bennetts.
Four more Gladbach players--Joe Scally, Marcus Thuram, Manu Koné, and Mamadou Doucouré--were absent from team training on Wednesday while their club awaits the results of their tests.
A fresh round of positive cases among German footballing professionals was not unexpected. It is such that, just like the case with Bayern and German national team defender Joshua Kimmich, media attention is turning to the small cohort of players who have not yet gotten vaccination.
One such case exists in Wolfsburg. Swiss fullback Kevin Mbabu was confirmed as a positive case yesterday. Media reports were quick to point out that the 26-year-old had not yet been inoculated against the virus. VfL trainer Florian Kohfeldt has to answer questions about Mbabu, along with a suspected positive case for winger Dodi Lukebakio.
Kohfeldt declined to speculate on Lukebakio, who returned an inconclusive PCR test on Wednesday. He also reported that Mbabu, currently quarantined in Dubai, was "doing well". Insofar as the player's vaccination status was concerned, Kohfeldt had a familiar line to toe.
"I'm certainly not pleased about it," Kohfeldt noted, "but that doesn't mean I'm criticizing him. Kevin did nothing illegal. I don't believe in publicly nailing someone to the cross."
Mbabu has been ruled out of Wolfsburg's first game of the Rückrunde against Bochum on January 9th. Kohfeldt confirmed this, saying that the defender had to remain in isolation for at least ten days. Only after a negative test result can Mbabu return to Germany and even consider taking training back up.