Positive news for Cologne as players and staff test negative for Covid-19
BERLIN - The Bundesliga breathed a sigh of relief on Monday when Cologne reported no further coronavirus infections had been found at the club after three positive tests last week.
Cologne said "the entire team, as well as the coaching and backroom staff," underwent a second test for Covid-19 on Sunday and an independent laboratory said they were all negative.
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers will again meet to discuss easing lockdown restrictions in Germany with the possibility of resuming the Bundesliga again on the agenda.
Three people at Cologne - later revealed to be two players and a physiotherapist - went into quarantine after testing positive on Friday.
The German football league (DFL) has created a safety and hygiene concept as it hopes to return to action behind closed doors this month. This includes regular testing and only players who have been tested negatively twice in succession are allowed to train or play.
Cologne said they would continue to train in groups from Monday while new Paderborn chief executive Fabian Wohlgemuth said they would resume team training as soon as possible after the results of their second tests.
On Monday the DFL confirmed a report in Kicker magazine which said it recommended clubs do not publish results of their own tests but that a central announcement would be made.
While some clubs have issued their own statements or confirmed media reports, Augsburg, Borussia Moenchengladbach and RB Leipzig have not released information.
As part of the DFL concept for a return to football, it will not be automatically released to the media if a player tests positive for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, football lawyer Horst Kletke does not believe players could legally refuse to play out of fear of infection should restrictions be lifted and matches behind closed doors approved to complete the season.
"If there is no contact ban or other restrictions which ban training or playing, the work must be done," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung paper.
However, players could not be forced to live in quarantine when healthy between matches. "Especially in this point the voluntary acceptance and agreement is needed, in work contracts there is no 24/7 requirement."
Werder Bremen advisory board chief Marco Bode admitted that forcing players to play was unrealistic even if legally possible.
"If we want to see games again in this Bundesliga season or in the coming first half of next season, we need highly motivated professionals who want to win in this situation just as much as before," he told Radio Bremen.
"And you can't do that when you don't want to. From my point of view we will never force anyone."DPA