Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin to move into closed accommodation after coach Pal Dardai, two others contract COVID-19
Coach Pal Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and forward Dodi Lukebakio are all in isolation at home and don't have symptoms, the club said
Berlin: The entire Hertha Berlin team will move into closed accommodation for two weeks after coach Pal Dardai and two others tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of a key game in the fight against relegation, the club said Thursday.
Dardai, assistant coach Admir Hamzagic and forward Dodi Lukebakio are all in isolation at home and don't have symptoms, the club said. Another assistant coach, Andreas Neuendorf, is also in isolation as a close contact.
The rest of the team and coaching staff were set Thursday to move into closed accommodation until 28 April, as required by local health authorities, living together and leaving the site only for training sessions and games.
That disrupts Hertha's preparations for what could be a crucial game as the well-funded Berlin club seeks to avoid what would be a shock relegation from the Bundesliga. Hertha is 15th, one place above the relegation playoff spot, and visits 14th-place Mainz on Sunday.
Sporting director Arne Friedrich is taking charge of the team until further notice. The former Germany defender has a coaching license and formerly coached the German under-18 national team.
Friedrich said Hertha was taking strict measures to stop the virus spreading so that the club can still field a team in the final matches of the season. Friedrich said that besides the closed accommodation, that means strict social distancing. Hertha was already conducting daily coronavirus rapid tests but will now use the more sensitive PCR testing method.
“We will accept this challenging situation as a team and do all we can to be successful in our coming games,” Friedrich said in a statement.
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A 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Mainz a fortnight ago cost Bayern the chance to be confirmed Bundesliga champions for the ninth straight season.
The English FA were in talks with European football's governing body UEFA already, he said, but added the choice of venue for the final was a decision for UEFA.