Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has played down the risk of Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Sevilla becoming a super spreader event despite host city Budapest being designated a coronavirus risk zone.
“After all, I live in Munich which is almost a corona hotspot,” Flick said Wednesday with numbers of new infections also rising in the Bavarian capital.
“We came here to play football, these decisions are made elsewhere. We have one goal: to win the Super Cup.”
Champions League winners Bayern face Europa League winners Sevilla at Budapest’s Puskas Arena for the Super Cup with up to 20,000 fans allowed to attend in a stadium which has a capacity of 67,000.
The showcase clash has taken on a political dimension since the German government declared Hungary’s capital city a risk zone.
As a result, hundreds of Bayern fans have returned their tickets with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge anticipating “less than a thousand” will be at the game.
Sevilla expect to have around 500 supporters in Budapest.
Both clubs have offered travelling fans Covid-19 tests, while the Hungarian FA has promised the Puskas Arena will be safe, despite a high number of virus cases in the city.
Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said he would fully understand any fan’s decision to stay at home, especially after Bavaria’s state premier advised travelling fans to “think twice”.
“We don’t really know what to expect,” admitted goalkeeper Neuer, who said he had complete “understanding” for the discussions and every fan must “decide for themselves what is right for them”.
Meanwhile, Flick said star forward Robert Lewandowski has shaken off an ankle knock and defender David Alaba has recovered from a hamstring problem.
Bayern are on a 22-match winning streak dating back to February, having kicked off the new Bundesliga season on Friday with a 8-0 demolition of Schalke.
Despite a lack of match fitness for the Spaniards — who do not start their domestic campaign until Sunday — Flick expects a tough game.
“They’re a mature team, tactically good. It’ll be dynamic, intense,” said Flick of Julen Lopetegui’s side.
“From both sides you can expect a lot in a football sense and, for that reason, a top game too.”
Sevilla midfielder Fernando said they were relishing the chance to end Bayern’s marathon winning streak.
“We know it’ll be tough,” said the 33-year-old Brazilian veteran, whose coach Lopetegui sees facing Bayern as a chance to “motivate us and make us grow”.
“They’ve got fantastic players, a fantastic team, but we also have quality, added Fernando.
“We’re going to work hard, do our best and see what happens.”