|Deniz Aytekin was in charge of a crucial game.|
We start with the two crucial games in the race to avoid direct relegation, in the hands of two UEFA Second Category referees:
Harm Osmers in Union Berlin - Fortuna Düsseldorf [VAR: Tobias Welz]
Overall: Referee was in the media's eye before a whistle was blown; Osmers was born in Bremen, with whom Fortuna Düsseldorf were fighting to avoid relegation with. All things considered, referee performed well (correct to allow the 2-0 goal), even if technically his performance had some faults.
Bastian Dankert in Werder Bremen - 1.FC Köln [VAR: Daniel Schlager]
Overall: Good performance in this crucial game, especially with regards to disciplinary control.
In the race in to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Deniz Aytekin (Borussia Mönchengladbach - Hertha BSC) and Benjamin Cortus (Bayer Leverkusen - FSV Mainz) handled the games well. VAR Tobias Stieler was correct to intervene to disallow a goal in the second half in Cortus' match, for a prior clear foul.
Now, three interesting situations from the other games:
Guido Winkmann in Borussia Dortmund - TSG Hoffenheim [VAR: Daniel Siebert]
49' Penalty given (charging)
Philipp: Clearly incorrect decision from Guido Winkmann, VAR Daniel Siebert should have intervened.
Mikael: I am not so sure this decision is incorrect, given that you could argue the attacker had won the position and was charge by the worse placed defender. One could also argue it was a normal duel for the ball and it was just co-incidental that the attacker ended up floored.
Felix Brych in FC Augsburg - RB Leipzig [VAR: Robert Kampka]
57' Red Card (DOGSO) given, revoked after an On-Field Review.
-> Correct intervention, which should have been quicker (Mikael: I would add, an understandable perception mistake by Brych, who just saw the trip and consequent natural fall, but not the ball being played; good use of VAR!)
Patrick Ittrich in VfL Wolfsburg - Bayern München [VAR: Sören Storks]
42' Foul (handling)? Not given, no VAR intervention. If so, sanction?
Philipp: Clear mistake, VAR should intervene and the goalkeeper should be ejected (DOGSO).
Mikael: I agree with Philipp, but this a tough scene to evaluate simply because of how rare it is - no outfield player would jump for the ball as the goalkeeper did, so it is tricky to decide whether the handling should be punished in the LotG. In the end, I think it should, but it's not the most obvious handling (or DOGSO) either in my view.
Besides a small handful of other relevant situations (Philipp mentions a possible missed penalty in Freiberg and too much of a pedantic performance by Martin Petersen), referees weren't challenged in their final games of the season - good end to the season for the three above, in addition to the returning Benjamin Brand.
Finally, dispatches from three of the crucial games on the final day of the 2.Bundesliga season:
Frank Willenborg had an overall good game in the Hamburger SV - SV Sandhausen game - he awarded two penalties (at 59' and 84'), the latter of which after Daniel Schlager called him to review.
Manuel Gräfe faced quite an easy game in Arminia Bielefeld - 1.FC Heidenheim, in addition to a potential missed penalty [VAR: Robert Hartmann] after a wrongly given offside at 14' (analogous in nature to the Ajax Amsterdam - Chelsea FC situation earlier this season). Gräfe faired well in a one-sided match.
Marco Fritz had no bigger problems in the Greuther Fürth - Karlsruher SC game, but with his VAR Martin Thomsen faced a very interesting and crucial situation for the season's outcome, clip below:
60' Penalty given (tripping)
Philipp: The initial contact is outside and a foul. It is difficult to say whether there is another decisive contact inside the penalty area. I can't see anything and therefore think, the penalty is wrong. Maybe difficult for the VAR to be sure, but (also regarding the importance) an OFR might have been a good idea.
Mikael: Replay suggests there was a further contact inside the penalty area which felled the attacker, in such case VAR was correct to support the on-field call.
Our thanks to Philipp for making these posts possible (despite the season's end, we hope it is not the last)!