COVID-19 hampering German clubs’ return; more Spurs cases




Bayern's Serge Gnabry, second left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN (AP) — German clubs’ preparations for the Bundesliga’s resumption after the winter break are being hampered by coronavirus infections.

Defending champion Bayern Munich is among those worst affected, with Monday’s training session put back until the late afternoon so players and coaching staff can be tested upon their return.

The team’s return was already delayed by a day after the Bavarian club reported five COVID-19 infections — captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, players Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso and Omar Richards, as well as assistant coach Dino Toppmöller, all tested positive.

It’s unclear if the five are infected with the omicron variant and whether they will miss Bayern’s game against Borussia Mönchengladbach to resume the league on Friday. Neuer, who said he was suffering from light symptoms, will miss the match.

Gladbach is also affected after reporting four positive coronavirus infections – Joe Scally, Mamadou Doucouré, Denis Zakaria and Keanan Bennetts are all in quarantine.

“All four players are doing well,” Gladbach said.

Of the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs, 13 have reported coronavirus infections.

Stuttgart has four players in isolation ahead of its visit to last-place Greuther Fürth on Saturday, with Silas Katompa Mvumpa, Naouirou Ahamada, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Mateo Klimowicz all affected.

Borussia Dortmund will likely have to do without the infected Dan-Axel Zagadou for its game at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Frankfurt has two players in quarantine with COVID-19.

Both Berlin clubs are also affected by positive test results. Hertha Berlin new signing Fredrik André Björkan is among its players in quarantine.

ENGLAND

Tottenham has more COVID-19 concerns ahead of the first leg against Chelsea in the English League Cup semifinals.

Spurs had an outbreak that affected nine first-team players in December, and manager Antonio Conte said Monday there are a couple of issues in the squad.

“We are checking a couple of situations. We’ll see,” said Conte, who didn’t disclose the name of the players affected.

The game is being played on Wednesday at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.

___