Shocking news out of the Bundesrepublik late Thursday night may translate to the postponement of three Bundesliga fixtures.
According to German footballing magazine Kicker, all players and staff of Hertha BSC have been ordered into 14-day-domestic quarantine.
At what should be the tail end of the global pandemic, German football suddenly finds itself in crisis.
After news broke of three positive COVID cases in the Hertha BSC camp earlier on Thursday, the club initially announced that, after consultation with health authorities in Berlin-Charlottenburg, the team would quarantine in a hotel just off the capital city's Kufüstendamm. This strategy would allow Hertha to contain the spread of the outbreak, undertake a full assessment of its extent, and eventually continue training operations.
This plan has now been scrapped as another positive test in the ranks indicated that the outbreak might be much more severe. Germany's Bild Zeitung reported that another Hertha professional tested positive during the assessment round. German footballing magazine Kicker reveals this player to be Marvin Plattenhardt.
Corona scheduling initially bit into German football's lower divisions during the second wave of the pandemic this past autumn. As the Bundesrepublik now grapples with an unexpected third wave of the virus, the lower divisions have once again had to deal with a wave of cancellations. The country's footballing flight has not yet seen one postponement of a fixture.
That looks very likely to change very soon. The contagion at Hertha could not have come at a worse time. The Bundesliga's 29th, 30th, and 31st rounds are set to be played over the next week as part of a midweek set of matches Germans refer to as an "Englischer Woche" ("English Week").
Practically speaking, this translates to postponements of Hertha's three upcoming fixtures against Mainz, Freiburg, and Schalke. Kicker reports that local authorities have ordered all players and staff into a 14-day-quarantine.
The potential long incubation period of the virus renders playing close-contact football over the next seven days too risky. Kicker thus predicts that all three fixtures will probably officially be cancelled tomorrow.
Germany's "third wave" leaves the entire country well over the RKI stabilizer of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day-period. Vaccinations have picked up across the Bundesrepblik, but only 17.6 percent of the population has received at least one inoculation dose.