Nagelsmann does not regret giving players freedom, despite Bayern's COVID-19 crisis

By Sports Desk January 06, 2022

Julian Nagelsmann does not regret giving Bayern Munich's players freedom to enjoy their vacation during the Bundesliga's mid-season break.

German top-flight leaders Bayern are set to face Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday, but currently have nine players who have returned positive COVID-19 test results.

Manuel Neuer, Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, Tanguy Nianzou, Omar Richards, Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Alphonso Davies have all tested positive for the virus.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bouna Sarr are with Cameroon and Senegal respectively for the Africa Cup of Nations. Niklas Sule is nursing a back problem, while Leon Goretzka and Josip Stanisic are injured.

Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl confirmed on Wednesday that Bayern had asked for the game to be postponed. Bundesliga rules allow a team to request a postponement if they have fewer than 16 players, including a goalkeeper, available.

But Nagelsmann, who contracted the virus in 2021, does not believe he should have limited the movements of his players during the recent hiatus in an attempt to curtail the possibility of an outbreak.

"I have a clear opinion about this topic. I'm not a teacher, I'm a coach," Nagelsmann told a news conference.

"Our players are all adults. My players are responsible for their own lives. We have the same rules and recommendations that we've had the last two years.

"You want to remain healthy. There's no option to suggest to a player that he can't go on holiday, if the law doesn't prevent that. There's psychological recovery. If you look at Upamecano, he flew to Senegal to see his family. If I don't let him do that then I can't let another player go 10 miles down the road to see his family.

"Every employee was allowed to go on holiday. You can't tell a player not to go, to stay home. With Omar Richards, once we found out that England was a high-risk area we got him back from England. 

"I don't know why we have more infected players than others. It's unfortunate, but the players have the same rules that have worked very well. There are other clubs that don't do PCR tests, they do fast tests that aren't as sensitive. So there's a couple of elements, we have to make the best of the situation.

"I was very happy with the players, the U23s and U19s players that joined us. I am not the type of coach to complain. We can discuss if these rules make sense. I went out for a meal and was infected. I rarely go out. I went out once and got coronavirus. It happens, I don't know exactly why."

Asked if the game would be going ahead at all, Nagelsmann said: "I can't answer that with 100 per cent accuracy. My job, and the job of the players, is to prepare as if it is going to take place.

"That's what we're operating on, that's what we're expecting. We've prepared all week for this game to take place. 

"It's a challenging situation, but as a coach it's an interesting challenge, you have to adapt, change your tactics to turn your problem into a strength."

One player who will return is Joshua Kimmich, who has not played since November after contracting coronavirus.

Kimmich's recovery was hampered by a lung issue but Nagelsmann confirmed the midfielder is fit to feature.

"Joshua is making a very good impression. He's very happy, his physical condition is outstanding," he said.

"If everyone was here he'd probably play, now it's clear he's going to play anyway because he has to. He deserves to play, we're all happy that he's back and he will play tomorrow."

Kimmich had initially declined the vaccine while he waited for more research on possible side effects, though confirmed in December that he had changed his mind and would take up the option.

Asked if Kimmich had received the vaccine, Nagelsmann said: "I can't say, I don't want to, that's a private matter. It's Joshua's responsibility to talk about that."

Related items

  • Leslie hat-trick pushes Waterhouse to big win over Bayamon in Concacaf League Play-Off Leslie hat-trick pushes Waterhouse to big win over Bayamon in Concacaf League Play-Off

    Andre Leslie notched a hat trick to help power Jamaican side Waterhouse to a 4-0 victory over Bayamon FC of Puerto Rico in the 2022 Scotiabank Concacaf
    League Play-Off on Wednesday afternoon, at the Estadio Cibao FC, in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

    Fresh off their fourth-place finish in the 2022 Flow Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship over the weekend, Waterhouse enjoyed a prolific second half with four goals to defeat the 2022 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield winners and secure their place in this year’s SCL.

    A tight, intense first half gave way to a much more open second half, and the key moment would come in the 67’ when Stephen Williams struck for the game’s first goal with a sensational left-
    footed strike from outside the area that beat Bayamon GK Joel Serrano.

    With the advantage, Waterhouse could play to their liking and Leslie would take over, scoring his first goal in the 78’ to double the Jamaican side’s lead to 2-0 with a strong right-footed shot
    swung into the net.

    Leslie was just getting started and soon enough in the 84’, it was 3-0 to Waterhouse thanks to a composed left-footed finish from the player inside the area.
    The SCL-clinching day for Waterhouse was then capped in the 87’, as Leslie completed his hat trick and put the bow on the 4-0 scoreline courtesy of another right-footed shot.

  • Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title

    Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

    After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

    Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

    Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

    The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

    Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

    Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

    Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

    Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

  • Xavi optimistic on Gavi renewal 'in a few days' Xavi optimistic on Gavi renewal 'in a few days'

    Xavi is hopeful Barcelona will be able to announce a new contract for Gavi "in a few days". 

    Barca president Joan Laporta this week publicly stated the club were frustrated by the delay in the 17-year-old signing a renewal. 

    Laporta suggested Gavi's agent Ivan de la Pena – a former Barcelona team-mate of Xavi – was comparing the offer to others, with the Spain international only having one year left on his deal. 

    However, Xavi was optimistic Gavi will put pen to paper in the near future after Barca beat the A-Leagues All-Stars 3-2 in Sydney on Wednesday. 

    "These things take time, but I'm hopeful that in a few days we can announce something," said Xavi. 

     

    The Barca boss was far less convincing when asked about the future of Frenkie de Jong. 

    De Jong has been linked with a move away to help the club finance a move for Robert Lewandowski. 

    Xavi said of the Netherlands midfielder: "He is a key player for us and he will continue to be, but everything depends on the financial situation of the club. We'll see what happens." 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.