After a seemingly endless delay, Dynamo Dresden, finally start their ambitious quest of surviving in the German second division on Sunday, with eight games in 22 days.
Positive tests for the novel coronavirus within their ranks forced them into quarantine at home for a fortnight, the only Bundesliga or second-tier club to suffer this fate amid frequent testing.
This led to the postponement of their first three games after the restart two weeks ago.
As a result, Sunday’s game against promotion-seeking VfB Stuttgart will start an eight-match marathon until June 21 and they hope to save themselves again when the season ends another game later on June 28.
“It is us against the rest of the world.
“Let the others talk while we tackle it together because we have no more time to lose,’’ Dresden said on social media when they finally started full team training last Saturday.
With three games in hand, bottom side Dresden are five points from Karlsruhe in the relegation play-off spot, and seven off Nuremberg in safe 15th.
Coach Markus Kauczinski and his players are in a quarantined team training camp after everyone had to be in quarantine at home for two weeks while the other teams trained and played.
“We must get a feeling for space and playing together.
“It is new for me as well and I must find a way.
“It will require skill and not putting too much of a burden on the players in a short time,’’ Kauczinski.
The tight schedule will allow no further proper training once they play again, with Kauczinski agreeing “there won’t be a lot of training but rather recovery and analysis’’.
The eight-time East German champions want to avoid a return into the third tier after four years and had improved after the winter break before the pandemic suspended play in mid-March, just one point off the play-off spot and four from safety.
Apart from the other teams garnering points while they were in quarantine, Dresden also face a difficult schedule.
Opponents include the top three of Stuttgart, SV Hamburg and Arminia Bielefeld but two matches against fellow-strugglers, Sandhausen and Wehen Wiesbaden.
“At the moment it doesn’t feel like there will be a fair result.
“But we shouldn’t see ourselves as victims.
“I feel the players’ motivation,’’ Kauczinski said.
Goalkeeper Kevin Broll confirmed that the players are willing to give their all in the survival bid.
“Who still believes in us? We do!
“That must be our motto for the coming weeks,’’ Broll told the club website.
“We play every three days and can do great things for the club.
“That should be sufficient motivation because together we can reach our goal.’’ (dpa/NAN)