Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich – one of five unvaccinated players at the club whose wages have been docked – has tested positive for Covid-19.
The Germany international, 32, was already in quarantine having come into contact with a Covid-positive person but now has the virus and will remain in ‘domestic isolation.’
Along with Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Michael Cuisance and Choupo-Moting, Kimmich has been told by the club he will not be paid for every game or day of training they miss when self-isolating after they all refused the vaccine.
Joshua Kimmich has tested positive for coronavirus and is having to self-isolate
According to German news outlet Bild, Bayern told the players last week that they would be withholding pay if anyone missed work due to being unvaccinated.
The report comes days after Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Augsburg on Friday, which saw Kimmich, the midfield star for both Bayern and Germany, miss the encounter after he was forced to quarantine.
Gnabry started that match, while Musiala and Choupo-Moting came on as substitutes, while Cuisance was an unused substitute.
Kimmich will miss 10 days to isolate in a blow to Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann
Those four players were all then placed into quarantine following a new exposure to Covid, hours after the reports about pay cuts emerged in Germany.
It meant they all missed Tuesday night’s Champions League win over Dynamo Kyiv, which left Bayern only able to name six substitutes instead of the permitted 12.
They won the match 2-1 having already secured their passage into the knockout round.
Their Bayern team-mates Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic had tested positive for Covid last week, with the club confirming that those two players were vaccinated.
Tensions are high in Germany with the country in the grip of a fourth wave of cases and many hospitals full. It has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with 68 per cent of people fully vaccinated.
Choupo-Moting (left) and Michael Cuisance (right) are unvaccinated against Covid
Bayern’s central defender Niklas Sule returned a positive test result for coronavirus last week
Another Bayern defender, Josip Stanisic, also tested positive for Covid in the last week
‘By the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead,’ health minister Jens Spahn said on Monday.
The news of withheld wages comes less than a week after the five Bayern players were told that they have been banned from staying in the same hotel as their team-mates ahead of a match and must travel to games separately too due to tightening restrictions in the country, which is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases.
German news publication Kicker are reporting that the five players are irritated that news of their docked wages has been leaked publicly.
The damning report also revealed that there has been a loss of trust from the players, with team morale low as a result.
While the decision to dock the unvaccinated players’ wages may have caused unrest, Bayern’s former CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge supported the decision.
German health minister Jens Spahn warned on Monday that ‘by the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead’ amid the country’s fourth wave
Traders dismantle figures from their stall at the closed Christmas market in Dresden, Germany
Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic once again, with the World Health Organisation warning that the Continent was the only region in the world where deaths had increased as Covid-related fatalities spiked by five per cent just last week
‘Everyone has tried to sort out the non-vaccination issue and find a solution,’ Rummenigge said.
‘That didn’t work out. Maybe it will work now.’
Bayern’s sporting director Board Hasan Salihamidzic has been vocal in his support of footballers being jabbed.
The decision not to get vaccinated could hinder Bayern’s title aspirations – the club are the favourites to win the Bundesliga and are one of the favourites to become European champions.
Bayern’s head coach Julian Nagelsmann was forced to miss four previous matches after testing positive for Covid earlier in the season.
Bayern told the players that they will not be paid for every game or day of training they miss when self-isolating after they refused to get the vaccine when it was offered
‘The players who are not vaccinated understand that the risk of missing games or training sessions is much greater as an unvaccinated person than as a vaccinated person,’ Nagelsmann said last Thursday.
Kimmich insisted he was not an anti-vaxxer when he revealed he had chosen not to have the Covid jab last month.
‘I have concerns about the lack of long-term studies,’ he said. ‘I am of course aware of my responsibility. I follow all hygiene measures and get tested every two to three days. Everyone should make the decision for themselves.’
Friday’s defeat allowed German title rivals Borussia Dortmund to close the gap to Bayern at the top of the table to just one point after they beat Stuttgart a day later.
Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann was forced to miss four games after contracting Covid
Already shorn of players, Bayern will be down fans for home games, too. Bavarian state officials are capping spectator numbers at 25 per cent of capacity for all sporting events in a bid to get rising infections under control.
Bavaria’s seven-day rate of infections per 100,000 people was at 640 on Monday, almost two times worse than the national rate of 386.5 – which is the highest it’s ever been for Germany so far in the pandemic.
Last week, Minister President of Bavaria Markus Soder said there was no choice but to implement a ‘a kind of lockdown for the unvaccinated’ due to the increasing pressure on hospitals and medical staff.
One of these measures includes unvaccinated people in Bavaria being banned from visiting restaurants and hotels.
Minister President of Bavaria Markus Soder said there no choice but to impose restrictions
The only state doing worse than Bavaria is Saxony, which has excluded fans altogether in a bid to control the outbreak.
No games have been called off in the Bundesliga yet this season, but there have been cancellations in the second and third divisions.
St. Pauli’s game against Sandhausen, Zwickau’s match against Magdeburg, and Wurzburger Kickers’ game versus Eintracht Braunschweig were all called off because of outbreaks.