SV Werder Bremen became the first Bundesliga club to officially forbid their players from leaving for international duty next week.
Is this a sign of things to come?
During the turbulent final week preceding global lockdown last March, VfL Wolfsburg sporting director Jörg Schmadtke became the first Bundesliga executive to officially declare that he would not allow his players to leave during the coming international break. As all recall, that vow was quickly followed by a storm of editorials demanding that the DFB shut down the season and calls for UEFA to postpone the 2020 European Championships.
With the second wave comes a second trend. After teams like Hoffenheim had to quarantine infected players after last month's break, at least one Bundesliga club isn't prepared to chance it this time. The Hanseaten front office announced on Thursday that the team would only release Czech keeper Jiri Pavelenka for a match within Germany.
The decision forbids defender Milos Veljkovic from joining the Serbian national side as they contest a playoff qualifying match to earn a spot in the delayed continental championship next summer. Other players affected include Milot Rashica (Kosovo), Yuya Osako (Japan), Marco Friedl (Austria), and Josh Sargent (USA).
Other Bundesliga clubs are likely to follow Werder's lead. The current FIFA guidelines governing management amid the global pandemic do not require clubs to release players; at least not until the end of the year. German footballing magazine Kicker reports that multiple Bundesliga clubs are currently considering similar measures.