Dusseldorf, Germany – Augsburg coach Heiko Herrlich will miss his team’s first game when the German first division resumes Saturday because he broke quarantine rules to buy toiletries.
Herrlich apologized Thursday evening and ruled himself out of the game, his first in charge of the club.
Bundesliga rules mandate a seven-day quarantine for players and staff before the league resumes after a two-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams are spending the time in hotels and in closed training sessions.
"We’re in quarantine in the hotel and aren’t really supposed to go out. However there are situations which just require it,” Herrlich told a news conference earlier in the day. "I had no toothpaste, it was running out, and no more skin cream, and then I went in my training uniform to a supermarket nearby.”
Herrlich said his shopping trip didn't go smoothly. First he forgot his face mask in the hotel room and went back for it, and then had to ask a cashier to change a 20-euro bill into coins so that he could pay the deposit on a shopping cart. He then forgot the cart and went back to collect it. Many shops in Germany require customers to use carts to promote social distancing.
"In this situation I have not lived up to my position as a role model to my team and to the public,” Herrlich said in a statement on the club website hours later.
The game against Wolfsburg was to be Herrlich’s first game in charge of 14th-place Augsburg. He was appointed in March but had yet to oversee a game because the league was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Augsburg says Herrlich will take charge of training again only after twice testing negative for the coronavirus.
It's not the first time questions have been raised about the league's quarantine requirements. Borussia Monchengladbach earlier told German TV that the club was spending six days under quarantine, rather than seven, because its hotel was only open from Monday ahead of a game Saturday away at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Also Thursday, it was confirmed that Bundesliga clubs will be allowed to use five substitutions per game when the season resumes.
The clubs in the top two German divisions decided on Thursday to accept the temporary rule change allowed last week by the International Football Association Board.
The change is meant to reduce the workload on players as leagues pack their schedules following a two-month suspension. Teams can make substitutions only at three breaks in the game, including at halftime, and the league recommends making only two substitutions at once.
Germany's league has also relaxed its stance on finishing the season by June 30, when some players' contracts expire. Games could continue into July if the alternative is leaving the season unfinished at the end of June, it said in a statement.
Some games could be moved to neutral venues if they can't be played at the original stadium because of infection risks locally, the league said.
It delayed a decision on how to decide final standings if the season can't be finished.