German footballer contracts coronavirus as Bundesliga goes behind closed doors

AFP
Leipzig played their 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Tottenham in front of fans before closing the Red Bull Arena to supporters for the weekend (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)
Leipzig played their 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Tottenham in front of fans before closing the Red Bull Arena to supporters for the weekend (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Berlin (AFP) - A second division footballer was on Wednesday the first player to test positive for coronavirus in Germany as RB Leipzig became the last Bundesliga side to announce that they would hold their weekend match behind closed doors.

Hanover 96 revealed that defender Timo Huebers had tested positive for COVID-19, saying in a statement that they insisted that no further infections were expected, as Huebers had avoided contact with his colleagues.

Their full squad and training staff were however being tested as a precaution.

"As soon as he found out that someone with whom he had been at an event was tested positive, Timo went straight to the doctor and put himself into isolation," said Hanover's sporting director Gerhard Zuber.

Leipzig's announcement that their clash with Freiburg would be closed to fans means that all weekend Bundesliga games will be played without fans after similar announcements involving title rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier on Wednesday.

As the number of confirmed infections in Germany continues to rise, federal states in the country are taking measures to cancel public events and slow the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, German health minister Jens Spahn called for all events with more than 1,000 people to be cancelled "until further notice".

But the decision to close stadium doors rests ultimately with regional authorities and is made on a case-by-case basis.

Fans will also be absent for Bayern Munich's visit to Union Berlin on Saturday, after officials in the German capital ordered the club to close its doors on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt announced that they would play their Bundesliga home clash with Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday without fans.

The club also scrapped initial plans to keep the stadium open for Thursday's Europa League clash with Swiss side Basel.

Moenchengladbach's home ground is in North Rhine-Westphalia state, where 484 of Germany's 1,296 registered coronavirus infections have been reported.

Other games affected in North-Rhine Westphalia this week include the Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke and the Rhine derby between Moenchengladbach and Cologne.

The latter game, scheduled for Wednesday night, will be the first in the history of the German league to be played without fans.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Wolfsburg's sporting director Jorg Schmadtke said that he would "not allow" his club's players to go away on international duty this month, when the play-offs for Euro 2020 are set to be staged.

"My state of mind at the moment is not to let our players go. I will ban it," Schmadtke was quoted as saying in the German press on Wednesday.

In the German third division, which was scheduled to play through the international break, the next two matchdays have been postponed.

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