Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has urged Bayern Munich supporters to avoid travelling to Saturday's behind-closed-doors clash with Union Berlin amid the coronavirus outbreak. The German Football League announced on Friday all nine Bundesliga games will go ahead this weekend, before a proposed two-week hiatus comes into effect from March 17.
Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara hit out at the decision for games to be played in Germany, with all of Europe's other major leagues being halted with immediate effect. And Rummenigge has pleaded with his club's fanbase to resist the urge to congregate outside Stadion An der Alten Forsterei on Saturday.
"Please don't come to Berlin. Please do not gather in front of the stadiums," he said at a pre-match news conference on the eve of the game.
"These are all contacts that we must prevent so that the virus does not spread quickly. Please do not come to the stadiums - you are not doing the clubs and the players a favour. We have given our employees rules of conduct several times and issued disinfectants. If there are any abnormalities, they will of course be tested immediately. If a player or staff member tests positive, everyone must be in quarantine - that's a requirement."
Bayern's Champions League last-16 second leg with Chelsea next week has also been called off by UEFA and Rummenigge is expecting a major knock-on effect. "Nobody can predict how long the situation with the virus will remain the same," he said.
"It may be necessary for the European Championship to be postponed for health reasons. Maybe we have to use June to finish the club competitions. Everyone should understand what ending the season would mean for clubs. Most of the revenue comes from the TV sector. If this sector were to fail, there are fears that many small and medium-sized clubs will experience liquidity problems. We hope this will end quickly."
Bayern has won 10 of its last 11 Bundesliga games and boss Hansi Flick insisted it is business as usual for his side ahead of its trip to the German capital.
"We will train today, play tomorrow and then we'll see," he said. " We have to make sure that we keep the team fit. We just have to keep adapting to new situations. We'll prepare professionally. Anything else that comes after that, we'll see and then decide. We will treat the matchday as professionally as we normally would."
"We have to accept this and focus on the next game against Union. We also have social responsibility. We have to try to get the virus to spread as slowly as possible. In the end it is a matter of mentality. Whoever has watched the games with no spectators - they are not normal games. Our job is to prepare the team and focus on football."