In fact, the players of Dynamo Dresden had already prepared for a one-week quarantine this Saturday. On a life in the hotel, which the professionals of the football second division would have left only to train with the team for the season continuation. They would have been isolated from their families and friends. On Monday it was supposed to start, the bill for 30,000 euros had already been paid by the club. Everything was organized.
The week-long quarantine was cited by politicians on Wednesday as a condition to allow professional football to re-start the season in the Corona Crisis. Only on Thursday Christian Seifert had reminded of this requirement for all 36 professional clubs, he had also outlined at a press conference the timetable for the continuation of the season from 16 May. By the end of June, all important decisions in the first and second Bundesliga should have been made, said the managing director of the German Football League (DFL): Who becomes German champion, who ascends, which team has to go down to the 3rd league.
But that timetable is now in jeopardy. The team of Dynamo Dresden no longer has to go into a week-long training hotel quarantine. She will have to go into a two-week quarantine after two players tested positive for the Covid-19 pathogen. No games, no team training, forced break.
This was decided by the local health board.
In Dresden there had already been a positive Covid-19 case in the team after the first test series. The player was sent into quarantine, the rest of the team was allowed to continue training. This is how the health board had decided, following the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute, which distinguishes between contact person one and contact person two.
In a second test series during the week, there had not been a single positive test at Dynamo. Dresden entered the team training. Now, after two days in full contact with the players, two pros tested positive. The local health board responded and imposed a 14-day quarantine for players, coaching and coaching staff. Dresden’s away game at Hannover 96 at the weekend cannot take place as planned, probably as well as the home game the week after against Fürth. The Saxons also cannot train.
DFL chief Seifert sees timetable not in jeopardy
Seifert commented on the case in the “current sports studio” in the evening: “We have always said that the health board decides. We have also said from the outset that we must prepare for such cases. Next week we will think about how to deal with the games of Dynamo Dresden.”
If that disrupts the schedule, the DFL boss was asked: “Not at the moment,” the 51-year-old replied. “81 games are in the Second League. It now means that two games cannot be played by Dresden. We’re not changing the goal now, we’re changing the plan,” Seifert said, referring to the game plan. There would still be buffers to make up for the two games.
He did not want to speculate on whether what happened in Dresden could happen at other locations, Seifert said. He also did not interpret the 14-day quarantine for Dynamo as a setback, as the DFL had been expected to do so. In principle, Seifert did not doubt that the DFL plan would continue to be implemented: “For now, this is not a reason to question the presentation of the Second League,” he said.
Full braking in the middle of the relegation battle
And yet the Dresden case is particularly problematic for German football. Because it not only confuses the game plan, but also because it massively questions the sporting idea of re-starting. It virtually destroys fair competition in the Second League.
Dresden is last in the table, but only one point is missing from the relegation ranks and only four points behind on a non-relegation place. The mission of staying in the league would not be a hopeless endeavor, in fact.
But with the decision of the Dresden Health Board, the situation has changed. Dresden not only has two games less than the competition in two weeks, Dresden will have completed up to 14 days less team training. Unusual game will be able to be made up by English weeks, by games during the week, until the end of June. But fancy team training – that remains out. Dresden can no longer catch up with this backlog, and with that the issue of equal opportunities in the Second League has practically been dealt with.
Doubts even about the theory of the concept
The fact that Dresden could now be severely disadvantaged in the relegation battle is only one side. The other: The club will also play against Bielefeld (28th matchday) in the coming weeks, vfB Stuttgart a week later and the TEAM will meet HSV on the 31st match day. All opponents who are fighting for promotion to the Bundesliga, Dresden could therefore also play a decisive role in this competition.
Internationally, the DFL is praised for its hygiene and safety concept. In the Corona Crisis, the German Football League is practically the only major sports league in the world that has been allowed to continue the season at this time. But the ball isn’t rolling yet, it’s all theory.
Now the theory is put to the test. The Dresden case shows how quickly the concept can falter, that it floats like an inflatable boat on the sea and has now got the first, big hole.
Also, players now see that they cannot be fully protected by the DFL concept. There have already been professionals who have expressed their concerns. First it was the Cologne Birger Verstraete, and most recently the Union player Neven Subotic also spoke out. The current situation could be a psychological burden for the professionals. And the Dresden case should not reduce the concerns.
It could even be the beginning of the end of all plans to continue the season.