Wolfsburg (dpa) - For the second time, VfL Wolfsburg is taking a Europa League trip this summer.
And for the second time it is going to a country where the Foreign Office is warning "against unnecessary, tourist trips" during the Corona crisis.
Just six weeks after the knockout round of 16 against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, the Bundesliga club will have to play in its first of a maximum of three qualifying rounds for the new Europa League season with Albanian runners-up FK Kukesi on September 17th (8:00 p.m. / sport).
The game is played in the capital Tirana.
Jörg Schmadtke views this trip with the same skepticism that he had before the flight to the Ukraine.
"I'm not an expert when it comes to the pandemic," said the Wolfsburg sports director in an interview with the German press agency.
“But there are always situations where I don't understand because I can't understand certain things.
Normally you shouldn't consciously send someone to a risk area.
But that's the case at a Europa League game in Albania.
And we have to go there to meet our obligations. "
The only alternative would be to be excluded from the competition.
Coach Oliver Glasner trusts the measures to protect the VfL convoy.
"I see it relatively relaxed because I know the safety precautions and the security concept," said the 46-year-old.
In the squad, Glasner can count on the last left defender Jérôme Roussillon.
"He's okay so far and will be there," said the Austrian.
Goalkeeper Koen Casteels is also traveling.
On the other hand, Glasner has to do without attacker Omar Marmoush, who has knee problems, for the short term.
For half a year, professional football has been struggling with the Corona crisis.
And so far, according to Schmadtke, it has worked out quite well, at least in national matches.
The 56-year-old also expressly welcomes the nationwide uniform regulations for the return of fans to the stadiums, as they were first decided on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, he says in general about how to deal with the pandemic: "In the end it all seemed a bit softened to me."
Take the DFB Cup on the previous weekend, for example: “Some smaller clubs were unable to play their home games because they had not implemented the hygiene concepts.
And then I see cup games where no gaps are kept and no masks are worn, ”said Schmadtke.
«I ask myself: where is the hygiene concept?
Is that no longer true?
I do not understand that."
For example, international matches so shortly before the start of national and international club competitions: “I cannot really understand why we clubs did not oppose this second term more strongly.
In the worst case, it could have been that the league cannot start because of several corona cases, ”said the VfL sports director with a view to the risk of infection when traveling to the national team.
“I'm curious about the next period of absence.
Because then, after Europe, the other continents will also be releasing their players.
Then I wish us good luck! "
The Wolfsburg-based team will also have travel stress and travel risks in the coming weeks, especially if they qualify for the group stage of the Europa League, as they did last year.
The winner of the game in Tirana will meet the Ukrainian club Desna Tschernihiw on the following Thursday in the penultimate qualifying round.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200916-99-584330 / 2
Homepage of VfL Wolfsburg
The qualifying round for the Europa League
The squads of both teams
Homepage of FK Kukesi