Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich confirmed Wednesday that star midfielder Joshua Kimmich and back-up striker Eric Choupo-Moting — both of whom are unvaccinated — have tested positive for Covid-19.
“Joshua Kimmich is isolating at home after testing positive. The FC Bayern midfielder is doing well,” the club said in a statement.
German international Kimmich, Cameroon’s Choupo-Moting as well as Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry were all already in quarantine as contact cases.
Bayern had arrived back in Munich after Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League to learn Choupo-Moting had tested positive with the club saying he was “doing well in the circumstances.”
Kimmich sparked a vaccination debate in Germany last month when the 26-year-old admitted he had so far opted against being inoculated due to “personal reasons”.
The news angered some Bayern fans, as spectators at football matches in Germany must prove they are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid, while the players they come to watch must only show a negative test result.
Bild and Kicker magazine both claim Gnabry and Musiala have now allowed themselves to be vaccinated.
Earlier Wednesday, Germany head coach Hansi Flick revealed that Kimmich had also had a change of heart.
“I think it’s going in the direction of ‘Jo’ getting vaccinated,” Flick said at a German FA event.
Last week Bayern reportedly told those four players plus midfielder Michael Cuisance, who is also unvaccinated, that their wages would be docked if they had to quarantine after refusing to have a jab.
In Kiev, Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said the five players’ refusal to be vaccinated had been “trivialities”, adding it was “not easy” for the rest of the team.
Bayern have injury concerns after Lucas Hernandez picked up a hamstring strain in Kiev. Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has a calf problem and defender Tanguy Nianzou injured his shoulder.
German international defender Niklas Suele and Croatia right-back Josip Stanisic returned to training on Wednesday having tested positive for Covid in the past fortnight.
Germany last week announced tougher Covid curbs and on Tuesday the weekly incidence rate stood at 399.8 new infections per 100,000 people, an all-time high, according to the Robert Koch Institute.