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Fans warned as Bayern head to virus risk zone for Super Cup

By AFP - Sep 23,2020 - Last updated at Sep 23,2020

BERLIN — Bayern Munich can lift yet more silverware when they face Sevilla on Thursday for the UEFA Super Cup, but travelling German fans have been warned to think again before flying to Budapest and head coach Hansi Flick has questioned whether the match should go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Champions League winners head to Hungary on a 22-match winning streak, stretching back to February, which has seem them sweep up Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

Bayern opened the new Bundesliga season last Friday with an 8-0 hammering of Schalke with Germany winger Leroy Sane scoring on his Munich debut and declaring the “whole team showed how hungry we are”.

Their appetite for more silverware can be sated with two trophies up for grabs in the coming week as they also face Dortmund for the German Super Cup on September 30. 

However COVID-19 has cast a shadow over Thursday’s showdown as Budapest has been declared a risk zone by the German government due to a high infection rate.

 

‘Think again’

 

Flick admits he “does not quite understand” why UEFA insist on the match still taking place there, “but we are not the ones who make the decision”. 

On Tuesday, Markus Soeder, state premier of Bavaria, announced tighter rules, “which particularly affect the Super Cup” for travelling Bayern fans.

“Everyone should think again about whether it is sensible to travel,” added Soeder.

Supporters must either be tested for COVID-19 before and after the trip to Budapest or quarantine for two weeks.

“This is how we want to prevent there being a possible risk of infection,” explained Soeder.

Only 500 Sevilla and 1300 Bayern fans are expected to watch the match at Budapest’s Puskas Arena.

Both clubs have set up test centres in their respective cities in a bid to reduce the risk of Thursday’s match becoming a “super spreader” event.

On Monday, Soeder had already expressed doubt whether the game in Budapest should go ahead.

 

‘Football’s Ischgl’

 

“We must be very, very careful that we don’t risk a new form of football-Ischgl,” said the politician, referring to the now notorious Austrian ski resort where thousands of holidaymakers were infected with the virus at the beginning of the epidemic in Europe.

German daily Bild asked Tuesday “Will the Super Cup become the Super Spreader Cup?”.

Bayern’s senior bosses, including Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, were heavily criticised for ignoring social distancing and sitting in a close group to watch Friday’s demolition of Schalke in Munich.

Rummenigge has promised to do better in Budapest, pledging “We all agree that the picture [of the group] was not exemplary — we must and will change this for the next game.”

Bayern’s star striker Robert Lewandowski, who netted a penalty and set up two more goals on Friday, trained for just 12 minutes on Tuesday to allow him to get over an ankle knock.

Sevilla come into the match short of match fitness having been given the first two weekends of La Liga off after winning the Europa League.

Ibrahim Amadou, Roque Mesa, Aleix Vidal and Joris Gnagnon, who are all expected to leave the club, did not train in Julen Lopetegui’s final session on Tuesday.

Sevilla have re-signed Ivan Rakitic, who is likely to start against Bayern, having been part of Barcelona’s 8-2 humiliation at the hands of the Germans in August, albeit watching from the bench.

Sevilla have won the Europa League five times in the last 14 years but have only once gone on to win the Super Cup, which was the first attempt in 2006.

This is the first time since 2013 — when they beat Borussia Dortmund in that season’s Champions League final — that Bayern will contest the Super Cup.

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