Schalke game versus Hertha goes ahead despite 3rd virus case

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke’s game against Hertha Berlin on Wednesday is set to go ahead despite a third coronavirus case in the squad.

The third positive was found in samples taken Tuesday and reported by Schalke on Wednesday morning, less than eight hours before kickoff. Four more Schalke players have been ordered to isolate as close contacts, further weakening a squad already diminished by injuries.

Schalke said the local health authority in the city of Gelsenkirchen gave the go-ahead to hosting Hertha despite the cases. Schalke is already assured of relegation, but Hertha can take a big step toward Bundesliga survival with a victory.

The most recent virus case was the first to emerge since Bundesliga clubs entered what the league calls “quarantine training camps" with players and staff living in a closed environment in hotels, leaving only for training and games. The aim is to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and ensure the season can finish on time before players have to leave for the European Championship.

Schalke said it imposed “strict mask and distancing rules” on its players and that they had to eat meals in their hotel rooms.

The game between Schalke and Hertha has already been postponed once because of the virus after an outbreak at Hertha last month with several cases among players and staff. Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein and defender Marvin Plattenhardt have still yet to return to action after they were infected.

On Saturday, Schalke hosts Eintracht Frankfurt, which is chasing one of the four qualifying spots for the Champions League. On May 22, Schalke visits another team in the relegation zone, Cologne.

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The Associated Press