Heiko Herrlich, the coach of Bundesliga side Augsburg, will miss his team’s first game against Wolfsburg when the German top flight league resumes on Saturday after he broke quarantine rules to buy toiletries.
Herrlich ruled himself out of the game, which was to be his first match since taking over at the club.
Bundesliga rules mandate a seven-day quarantine for players and staff before the league resumes after a two-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams are spending the time in hotels and in closed training sessions.
“We’re in quarantine in the hotel and aren’t really supposed to go out. However there are situations which just require it,” Herrlich told a news conference. “I had no toothpaste, it was running out, and no more skin cream, and then I went in my training uniform to a supermarket nearby.”
Herrlich said his shopping trip didn’t go smoothly. First he forgot his face mask in the hotel room and went back for it, and then had to ask a cashier to change a 20-euro bill into coins so that he could pay the deposit on a shopping cart. He then forgot the cart and went back to collect it. Many shops in Germany require customers to use carts to promote social distancing.
“In this situation I have not lived up to my position as a role model to my team and to the public,” Herrlich said.
The game against Wolfsburg was to be Herrlich’s first game in charge of 14th-place Augsburg. He was appointed in March but had yet to oversee a game because the league was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Augsburg says Herrlich will take charge of training again only after twice testing negative for the coronavirus.
It’s not the first time questions have been raised about the league’s quarantine requirements. Borussia Monchengladbach earlier told German TV that the club was spending six days under quarantine, rather than seven, because its hotel was only open from Monday ahead of a game Saturday away at Eintracht Frankfurt.
It has also been confirmed that Bundesliga clubs will be allowed to use five substitutions per game when the season resumes.
The clubs in the top two German divisions decided to accept the temporary rule change allowed last week by the International Football Association Board.
The change is meant to reduce the workload on players as leagues pack their schedules following a two-month suspension. Teams can make substitutions only at three breaks in the game, including at half time, and the league recommends making only two substitutions at once.
The German Football League has also relaxed its stance on finishing the season by June 30, when some players’ contracts expire. Games could continue into July if the alternative is leaving the season unfinished at the end of June, it said in a statement.
Some games could be moved to neutral venues if they can’t be played at the original stadium because of infection risks locally, the league said.
It delayed a decision on how to decide final standings if the season can’t be finished.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke, 5.30pm
RB Leipzig v Freiburg, 5.30pm
Hoffenheim v Hertha, 5.30pm
Dusseldorf v Paderborn, 5.30pm
Augsburg v Wolfsburg, 5.30pm
Eintracht v M’gladbach, 8.30pm
Cologne v Mainz, 5.30pm
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich, 8pm