The first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig has been forced out of Germany, with the game set to be played instead in Hungary at Budapest’s Puskas Arena due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
The second leg could be set for a similar fate now, too, with The Times’ Paul Joyce reporting that Liverpool are seeking alternative neutral grounds for the second leg after Leipzig were told they might not be allowed to return to Germany.
The current German travel restrictions do not allow the arrival in the country of any non-essential individuals—including elite athletes. Those travel restrictions expire the day after the first leg is set to be played between the two clubs.
However, Leipzig have been informed that even if the current restrictions are lifted or at least lightened, they would likely be forced into quarantine for two weeks following their return from England if the second leg is played there.
As with the case of holding the first leg in Hungary, then, it appears the second leg may need to be moved somewhere that both Liverpool and Leipzig can return from without entering into an extended period of self-isolation.
More broadly, it reinforces the farcical nature of insisting on holding home-and-home multinational sporting competition in the midst of a global pandemic that has isolated many from their friends and family for the better part of a year.