Bundesliga build-up proves eerie experience for Leverkusen coach


  • Football
  • Thursday, 14 May 2020

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Bayer Leverkusen Press Conference - Ibrox, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - March 11, 2020 Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz said the build-up to the Bundesliga’s return at the weekend has been spooky and not much fun, but he is confident measures taken to avoid a spread of the coronavirus will succeed.

Fifth-placed Leverkusen, chasing a spot in next season’s Champions League, resume their season away at Werder Bremen on Monday at the end of a two-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Preparing for a resumption of the Bundesliga, the first major sports league to return to action, has meant a multitude of health measures that have left the Dutch coach with an eerie feeling.

"We have been in quarantine for a week now,” he told Dutch NOS television in a video interview.

“On the bus to the hotel there was a big screen behind the driver. It all looked very spooky. It certainly doesn't make it fun.

"It is difficult to say what awaits us and how we will do. But I’m confident," Bosz added.

He said he was looking forward to a return to action and is not afraid about his own health, even though he is an asthmatic.

"We were all tested on Tuesday morning for the fourth time. Fortunately, all negative," he said.

"The hygiene measures are so good that I feel completely safe.

"It can also go wrong; everyone is aware of that. But the Bundesliga cannot afford that sort of setback and that is why they have been urging us to properly observe all the health measures."

He did express concern about his team’s fitness.

“We are not at our optimal level yet. We saw that in the practice games we played. We organised them in our stadium, to mimic the conditions the players can expect in the future.”

Bosz will also have to wear a mask while coaching from the sidelines, which could prove an irritating distraction.

"It is an advantage that we only play on Monday. By then I will already have seen how the other coaches deal with it," he said.

"I have to wear a mask on the bench, but if I want to say something from the edge of the technical area, I can take it off.

“So, I guess I'll be in the technical area for the entire game."

Leverkusen have a busy schedule ahead of them if they are to complete their season.

They have with nine league games still to play, are in the German Cup semi-finals and have the chance to advance in the Europa League, where they are leading Scotland's Rangers 3-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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