Mueller unsure how to interact with fans amid pandemic

Berlin (AFP) – Germany forward Thomas Mueller admits finding it hard to know how to interact with fans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I can only say for myself that I am still very cautious about direct contact. I don’t know exactly how I should behave,” Mueller admitted during a press conference Tuesday, three days before Germany’s World Cup qualifier against Romania in Hamburg.

“I am very reluctant to give autographs. It is difficult for everyone to find a clear line,” added the 32-year-old, who is set to make his 107th international appearance on Friday.

Mueller caught Covid-19 in February while playing for Bayern Munich at the Club World Cup in Qatar.

He flew back to Germany and quarantined in the cellar of his home near Munich to avoid infecting his wife.

Germany are on course to qualify for next year’s World Cup as they hold a four-point lead at the top of their group after last month’s wins over Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland.

They host Romania in Hamburg on Friday, then face North Macedonia away next Monday in Skopje before the last two qualifiers in November against Liechtenstein and Armenia.

The German team gathered in a Hamburg hotel on Sunday, but most of stars ignored the small crowd waiting for autographs.

Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger was the only Germany player who signed autographs and posed for pictures while observing social distancing.

Moenchengladbach midfielder Jonas Hofmann explained why the majority of the squad were reluctant to meet fans with Germany still in the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The (national) restrictions are being eased, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that vaccinated people can still get infected,” said Hofmann.

“Both at our clubs and here (with the national team) there are (hygiene) rules for us to follow.

“Every fan wants autographs and selfies, but the regulations are still there.”

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