Amid the backdrop of a country dealing with surging infection rates, Hertha BSC CEO Carsten Schmidt put on a brave face before journalists on Friday afternoon. Acting sporting director Arne Friedrich joined him for a digital media roundtable.
Addressing the media for the first time since the DFL confirmed it had accepted the club's application for a postponement of three Bundesliga fixtures, Schmidt spoke on a variety of topics related to the team's 14-day-quarantine.
Among other things, the former Sky Germany executive confirmed that keeper Rune Jarstein had been hospitalized with a severe case of the virus.
In a digital media roundtable at noon on of Friday, newly appointed Hertha BSC chairman Carsten Schmidt updated members of the press on the four cases of COVID within the team. Schmidt relayed that head-coach Pal Dardai and attacker Dodi Lukebakio were experiencing mild symptoms. Acting club sporting director Arne Friedrich noted that assistant coach Admir Hamzagic has a slight fever.
Schmidt emphasized that keeper Rune Jarstein, recently elevated to the #1 position by Pal Dardai, could not be confirmed as the source of the outbreak. The 36-year-old net minder recently had be subbed off at the half whilst on international duty in his native Norway. During a match against Turkey on March 27th, Jarstein complained of fatigue. He then separated himself from the rest of his team colleagues.
Jarstein still flew with the Norwegian national team to their final World Cup qualifier in Montenegro. He tested positive after his return to Germany and has not featured in the two Bundesliga rounds since the break. Friedrich delivered the unfortunate news that Jarstein has since been hospitalized.
"Rune has been hit the hardest," Friedrich lamented, "He's had to go to the hospital in the meantime. I don't assume he'll be playing again [this season.]"
Friedrich, who ran the team's training session, still maintained his sense of humor. The 41-year-old joked that he was the coach with "the shortest career in Bundesliga history" before noting that the club would run digital training sessions over the next weeks. Friedrich noted that all professionals had exercise equipment in their homes and the Dardai would run regular meetings from his own home.
"Events have come thick and fast in the past two days," Schmidt added, "Out thoughts are first and foremost with the players who are ill. We are not dwelling on this situation. We're not complaining. We're fighting. We're going to go out there stronger. We will enter the rest of the season in a competitive state."
When professional football resumed in the Bundesrepublik last spring, then second-tier side Dynamo Dresden faced a similar situation. Positive corona tests forced the club to postpone three of its scheduled fixtures whilst the reset of the second league proceeded. Dresden, in a relegation dogfight at the time, ended up getting relegated to the third tier after its fixtures were made up.
"I'm already worried that we're getting into a situation that's difficult to control," Schmidt conceded.
The executive nevertheless stressed that there would be no snowball effect. Schmidt spoke of conversations with the Charlottenburg health authorities. He revealed that, should another case be discovered during the quarantine period, only the affected person would have to be isolated for an additional period. Both Friedrich and Schmidt insisted that the club had adored to the DFL Hygiene protocols and took the quarantine order seriously.
"Yesterday, Germany had the second highest daily total of new infections this year," Schmidt noted, "The risk is increasing. We are no exception. We're setting ourselves up for 14 days of quarantine."
|4||Jeremiah St. Juste|
|16||Stefan Bell ↩36|
|19||Moussa Niakhate (C)|
|22||Danny da Costa ↩84|
|5||Jean-Paul Boëtius ↩84|
|23||Philipp Mwene ⚽|
|28||Ádám Szalai ↩72|
|21||Karim Onisiwo ↩84|
|7||Robin Quaison ↪84|
|9||Robert Glatzel ↪72|
|18||Daniel Brosinski ↪84|
|42||Alexander Hack ↪36|
|6||Danny Latza ↪84|
|5||Niklas Stark (C)|
|28||Sami Khedira ↩61|
|42||Deyovaisio Zeefuik ↩61|
|29||Lucas Tousart ⚽ ↩61|
|15||Jhon Córdoba ↩80|
|10||Matheus Cunha ↩71|
|9||Krzysztof Piątek ↪80|
|20||Dedryck Boyata ↪61|
|6||Vladimír Darida ↪61|
|18||Santiago Ascacíbar ↪61|
|24||Nemanja Radonjić ↪71|