Dhe alpine idyll is deceptive. A corona case seriously disrupted FC Schalke 04’s training operations in the middle of the most important phase of the already difficult preparation for the season. Red-and-white tape barred the training ground in the Austrian winter sports village of Längenfeld, around 500 meters from the noble “Hotel Aqua Dome” district, until Tuesday morning, before the first all-clear after an additional series of tests. Further Covid 19 infections have not been detected in the Bundesliga soccer club. Sports director Jochen Schneider spoke of a “new normal”.
“We have to learn to live with the virus,” said the 49-year-old on Tuesday on the terrace in front of the team headquarters of the German press agency. Schneider assured us that the association had implemented the hygiene concept “one hundred percent”. “That is why we can continue and continue the preparation with the same positive energy as in the past few days.” The next series of tests will take place on Wednesday. Schneider did not show any tension or stress in view of the positive test result.
At around 10.15 a.m., the decimated team of coach David Wagner was allowed to go back onto the lawn for the first of two planned units on Tuesday under stricter security regulations and corona protective measures. After all, the players were greeted by a blue sky and sunshine. The unnamed person concerned and the so-called contact group 1 were not included.
The Austrian Alessandro Schöpf, who also did not appear in the squad named by ÖFB team boss Franco Foda for the international matches against Norway and Romania, was absent from the practice session in the morning. “Schöpfi called me and said that he was not available for the international matches,” said Foda without giving a reason. When asked, Schneider did not confirm that the professional was the person concerned. “We will not provide any information about the person concerned now or in the future,” emphasized Schneider. The person concerned was symptom-free. “This is our first case in all these months. So you have to say that the players are very disciplined with the situation, ”he said.
Schöpf’s compatriot Guido Burgstaller, goalkeepers Markus Schubert and Michael Langer, Benito Raman and Weston McKennie (stress control) were also not present at the Schalke training. Of the long-term injuries Omar Mascarell and Salif Sané, only the Senegalese defender Sané could be seen. Spectators like in the first few days were not allowed. Media representatives were only allowed to watch the training with a mouth and nose covering, had to keep their distance and watch from a small grandstand. Contact with players or delegation members was initially prohibited.
Until Tuesday morning, the professionals of the battered Revierklub had been stuck in their suites, isolated from the other guests of the Tyrolean wellness spa. The food was brought to their rooms. When it became known on Monday that a person had tested positive for the corona virus “in the vicinity of the licensed player department”, this person was already in quarantine. The first symptoms of the disease are said to have appeared on Sunday.
Even without the infection, the situation at the Royal Blues, who did not win 16 games in a row in the second half of the season, is unpleasant. After two test match failures against the third division clubs SC Verl (4: 5) and KFC Uerdingen (1: 3), the area is rumbling again. Access for the squad is not in sight. Whether there is anything to the speculation about a planned return campaign of Sead Kolasinac, who migrated to Arsenal years ago, is open. According to media reports, the 27-year-old left-back is on loan.
Because of the catastrophic financial situation, squad planner Michael Reschke and sports director Jochen Schneider have their hands tied. The team consists of an ominous mixture of previously sorted out and loaned professionals such as Sebastian Rudy and Mark Uth, who would have preferred to stay with their previous clubs, the returnees Ralf Fährmann and Nabil Bentaleb and Weston McKennie, who are willing to change. The “US boy” sees his future after the failed transfer to Hertha BSC in England and would bring Schalke a substantial transfer. Before the first stone falls, however, the situation on the market remains tricky because of the self-imposed upper salary limit.