Bundesliga News

Wolfsburg defensive trio's COVID recovery continues to proceed at uneven pace

By Peter Vice

Two players recently inflected with the novel coronavirus were conspicuously absent from Wolfsburg team training this week.

A pair of local newspapers report that the Jerome Roussillon and Marin Pongracic are being kept away from strenuous physical activity because of recovery issues. 

Following a brief set-back, Maxence Lacroix resumed a full training program on Tuesday.

Marin Pongracic.
Marin Pongracic.Photo: Steindy, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Croation defender Marin Pongracic had to be subbed off after only 45 minutes in Wolfsburg's round 15 clash with FC Union Berlin. After the match, head-coach Oliver Glasner confirmed that he made the decision based on the fact that the 23-year-old visibly had difficulty breathing and noticeably struggled to maintain a fit posture during breaks in play.

Local dailies "Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung" and "Wolfsburger Nachrichten" currently report that Pongracic is undergoing a battery of tests and performance allegations to determine what the root cause of his rapid enervation may be. Before contracting COVID on international duty in November, the defender also fought off a bout of mononucleosis earlier this autumn. Chronic fatigue could be related to prolonged glandular issues.

Twenty-six-year-old French led-back Jerome Roussillon, who was among a number of VfL players who contacted COVID just prior to the final Bundesliga round of 2020, is also reportedly undergoing tests after experiencing similar issues. Roussillon has participated in team training sessions since testing negative, but never received full clearance to return to the pitch after round 12. The club has not allowed him to resume his full workload in the new calendar year.

Central defender Maxence Lacroix, who's COVID infection was revealed shortly after round 13, sat out the club's pre-Christmas Pokal match and did not make the starting XI in round 14. After appearing as a late-sub in the January 3rd fixture, the club opted to take him out of the selection pool for this past weekend's match. The coaching staff cited fitness issues and noted that team physicians strong cautioned against prematurely returning the 20-year-old to "high-intensity action".

Lacroix retuned to full team training yesterday.

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