bundesliga

Paderborn's Gerrit Holtmann training at home with club physio in light of coronavirus

After Paderborn's Luca Kilian became the first Bundesliga player to contract the coronavirus, the club's players and staff were all placed in quarantine. bundesliga.com caught up with teammate Gerrit Holtmann and his unique training regime, which comes complete with the club's physio, who lives in the same building.

It's been a dramatic few weeks for the footballing world with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic bringing a halt to almost every league across the globe. But fewer Bundesliga teams have been as affected as Paderborn and, in particular, 20-year-old Killian.

The former Borussia Dortmund defender was due to miss his side's trip to Fortuna Düsseldorf on Friday 13 March with a thigh strain, but had also shown signs of a typical flu, so stayed with his parents in Dortmund the day before the game. One day after the game's cancellation, the result of a previously scheduled tests came back positive for the virus, however.

Luca Kilian (l.) and Gerrit Holtmann (r.) have been two of Paderborn's best players so far this season. - 2019 DFL

As many as 45 people from the player's immediate vicinity, including his teammates at Paderborn and the coaching staff, also had to undergo a test the following day, which ultimately rendered negative results across the board.

"I got a fever, chills and tremors," Killian told Kicker. "It was during this phase that I became afraid for the first time. The fever only started to calm down four days later and from then, on I've been feeling better every day."

With Killian recovering at home, Paderborn's first-team players have been staying fit from their own homes, too. And for Holtmann - who is on loan at the club from Mainz this season - the home training period as been a unique experience with the club's physio living in the apartment below him.

Gerrit Holtmann's only Bundesliga goal of the season came in Paderborn's incredible first-half display at Borussia Dortmund, going 3-0 up. - TEAM2 via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Team 2

"Sometimes he watches and gives me tips on how I should do it," Holtmann, who celebrated his 25th birthday from home on Tuesday, told bundesliga.com. "I think that's a big help for me.

"I've been at home now for the last eight or nine days. I split the day into three-hour chunks. In the early afternoons, I run and I do a bit of strength work, and then from 3pm to 6pm we play board games - we played Monopoly for three or four hours last time! We play UNO sometimes, too. That's how you get through your days. You can't just sit on your sofa all day. Sometimes I'll go and sit on the terrace for an hour or two."

Jörg Liebeck, the club's physio, is also adjusting.

"Gerrit and I got a running machine which we put in the garage. We've built a small fitness studio in the garage, and the others do a 'home office' fitness programme."

Liebeck was one of a number or players and staff who was back at the club the day after their cancelled game against Düsseldorf, when the news was confirmed that Killian had tested positive for COVID-19.

"It was a strange atmosphere," Liebeck told bundesliga.com. "Everyone was standing away from each other and no-one really knew what was going on. Luckily everyone was healthy. Everyone went home and we speak on the phone every now and then, but I guess it's a good time for people to have some peace.

"I'm a physio, so I'm responsible for the players' health, but for the coaching staff, especially the fitness team, it's a big challenge at the moment to make sure the boys don't lose too much by the time they get back on the pitch. We need to make sure they have a decent re-introduction to football if we can."

There's no set date for the Bundesliga's return, with the DFL's Executive Committee recommending on Wednesday that the league continue to be suspended until at least 30 April.

When the football does return, bottom of the table Paderborn will be back in Düsseldorf for that fixture; and Holtmann will be ready when that time comes.