Berlin, Nov 23 (IANS) Julian Nagelsmann finds himself in the middle of difficult preparations for the UEFA Champions League group encounter against Kyiv later on Tuesday (Wednesday IST). The Bayern coach has to deal with the loss of eight players while turbulence due to the club’s COVID-19 vaccination problem increases.
Aside from positive tests of defenders Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic, five unvaccinated players have been forced into quarantine. The 2020 treble winners announced to travel with a small group of 15 to meet the Ukrainian side.
The Bayern coach spoke of a stress test for his squad as several players refused to receive the vaccination jab. “Most important for a group is to care for each other. It’s not about having the same opinions about certain topics.”
Nagelsmann tried to ease tensions for the Bavarians after club leaders announced wages cuts for unvaccinated players having to attend quarantine.
Health authorities demanded that Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Michael Cuisance to stay isolated for seven days after being rated as unvaccinated contact persons of the first degree.
Reports speak of Kimmich and others being surprised and annoyed by the clubs’ actions regarding wage cuts. Others spoke of a growing gap between the vaccinated and the not jabbed fraction in the squad. A media report spoke of Bayern players considering legal actions against the club, Xinhua reports. “I am not happy to read about inside details in the media. Indiscretions might have been with the club for long, but it certainly doesn’t help,” the 34-year-old stated.
Nagelsmann referred to reports speaking of Kimmich receiving wages cuts of up to 384,000 euros per week. The news won’t affect the team’s good mood, the Bayern coach said.
“At the moment we are far off the decisive games that might come in the knockout stage. But the fact is, we can’t rely on the full strength of our forwarding line,” Nagelsmann added. “The team won’t break apart.”
The German club has already qualified for the next round. The Bayern coach demanded from the club to secure the players’ privacy.
Meanwhile, in-house reports talk of Bayern considering excluding unvaccinated players for training from the rest of the squad. Nagelsmann admitted to being annoyed by the COVID-19 topic in his club.
The reigning German champions last weekend lost their second national league encounter.
Striker Leroy Sane spoke of the importance of vaccinations in times of the pandemic but said he is respecting his teammates’ opinions. “Of course, I want them to be around on the pitch. I am convinced that getting vaccinated helps, but it remains a personal decision,” the German international commented.