Saturday, 16 May 2020

Bundesliga: Round 26 Review

Thanks to our user Philipp and the BuliSchiri blog, please find a review of the last round of Bundesliga matches. Below find clips of the most interesting situations from the weekend, including 2.Bundesliga matches (with the solutions of both blogs) and short analysis of how the nine referees in charge of games got on.

Frank Willenborg took charge of Fortuna Düsseldorf - SC Paderborn 

Let's start with the most interesting situations from the weekend. We present the views of both Philipp from BuliSchiri and Law 5 - The Ref (Mikael W.).

Borussia Dortmund - Schalke 04 
Deniz Aytekin [VAR: Benjamin Brand]

10' Penalty (handling)? Referee played on, no VAR intervention.
Philipp: Correct decision (short distance, rather natural position, ball first on the chest)
Mikael: Tricky situation, I would say a genuine grey area (deflection vs. deliberate play before? natural position? too short distance?). VAR should support either call.

FC Augsburg - VfL Wolfsburg
Felix Brych - AR: Arno Blos [VAR: Marco Fritz]

67' Active offside? Goal was given on-field, disallowed after VAR intervention (OFR).
Correct call and intervention (would be interesting to hear from the comms if AR detected the offside position).

Eintracht Frankfurt - Borussia Mönchengladbach 
Felix Zwayer [VAR: Günter Perl]

72' Penalty (charging) given, supported by VAR.
Philipp: Wrong decision (too soft) but not a clear mistake (there is contact), so correctly no VAR intervention. In case of foul rather a [Second] Yellow Card for me (if the pushing and not a foot contact is punished), but also not clear.
Mikael: Correct call in my view, attacker won the position and then was charged over. At the moment of the foul, attacker is facing away from goal at the point of the foul - correct not to not issue a  further sanction.

1.FC Köln - FSV Mainz
Guido Winkmann [VAR: Tobias Welz]

90' Violent Conduct (striking)? Yellow Card given, supported by VAR.
It seems to be more of a violent conduct than not, but we are not presented with any conclusive evidence.

Werder Bremen - Bayer Leverkusen
Tobias Stieler [VAR: Tobias Reichel]

56' Striking incident, foul given, but no sanction; supported by VAR.
Philipp: Arm used as a weapon and targeted at the opponent's head - rather a Red Card. Not enough to justify VAR intervention.
Mikael: 'Loaded' elbow gives some arguments for a Red Card, but considering the overall force / hitting point a (mandatory) Yellow Card in my view. 

Erzgebirge Aue - SV Sandhausen
Florian Badstübner [VAR: Thorben Siewer]

4' Penalty (holding) given + Red Card (DOGSO); supported by VAR.
Philipp: Penalty is clear, but I am not convinced about DOGSO because there is another defender nearby. On the other hand the attacker was already in a good finishing position, so might be still supportable.
Mikael: Correct penalty, and also correct Red Card in my view. At the moment of the foul, covering defender cannot prevent the (obvious) chance at goal.

Jahn Regensburg - Holstein Kiel
Martin Petersen [VAR: Nicolas Winter]

90' Penalty (tripping) given.
Philipp: 50/50 call because there is also a straight leg by the white player.

Mikael: Rather correct penalty. Note the lack of anticipative positioning by the referee - ball is very likely to get hit towards the penalty area, and he is caught behind by not being closer to goal from the freekick.

FC St. Pauli - 1.FC Nürnberg
Daniel Siebert [VAR: Bibiana Steinhaus]

54' Red Card (DOGSO) given after VAR intervention, on-field decision was: no foul.
Correct decision and intervention. With some dynamic sprinting, I think the referee would have gotten the call right without VAR (you can see that he doesn't obtain a good insight angle).

Wehen Wiesbaden - VfB Stuttgart
Sascha Stegemann [VAR: Robert Kampka]

+93' Penalty (handling) given after a VAR intervention. 
With replays the handling becomes clear (note, the decision was very controversial in Germany).
Philipp: VAR intervention justified anyway as a missed incident.

DFB made a statement that the decision to award a penalty was correct, but the VAR intervention was not. As Chefren says, this solution by DFB makes assessing handlings as a VAR in Germany very tricky, rather needlessly so. 

Finally, here are the short reviews of the refereeing in each Bundesliga match, written by Philipp:

Deniz Aytekin in Borussia Dortmund -  Schalke 04:
The derby was not especially challenging for him also due to the clear result. He and his decisions were well respected due to his demeanour and because of the quality of the calls. The disciplinary measures - including a verbal warning here at 23' and a caution for a SPA handling at 73' - were all at least supportable.

Manuel Gräfe in RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg:
His usual lenient style worked well in this fair match. VAR disallowed a late goal for a tight offside.

Christian Dingert in 1899 Hoffenheim - Hertha BSC:
The match started more intense than others, but he managed to control it with well-placed cautions. Later it calmed down and there were no difficult decisions to take in the game.

Frank Willenborg in Fortuna Düsseldorf - SC Paderborn:
Good performance in a relegation "battle", which only provided normal difficulty for the referee without any particular incidents.

Felix Brych in FC Augsburg - VfL Wolfsburg:
Solved the two challenging situations, aforementioned offside after OFR at 67' and a penalty (handling) appeal at 29', correctly not given (kicking the ball against his own (stretched out) arm, clearly no penalty by new LotG) the offside well-spotted by VAR [Marco Fritz]. He also explained, e.g. the no-handball call, well to the players and was in full control.

Felix Zwayer in Eintracht Frankfurt - Borussia Mönchengladbach:
Easy match that he managed without problems, cognisant of the debatable penalty call. 
In Philipp's view this is not enough for a crucial mistake. 

Guido Winkmann in 1.FC Köln - FSV Mainz:
More incidents than the other games. Correct penalty (pushing) decision at 4', in Philipp's view wrong free kick before the 2-0 (but not immediately before the goal, therefore just a normal mistake) and a possible Violent Conduct in the last minute. No further issues, therefore overall a good performance.

Bastian Dankert in Union Berlin - Bayern München:
Both crucial decisions were definitely correct. A goal at 18' disallowed for offside after VAR [Tobias Reichel] intervention, AR: Markus Häcker and a penalty (tripping) given at 39'. He faced some protests after decisions in midfield, but I think, his foul detection was good overall.

Tobias Stieler in Werder Bremen - Bayer Leverkusen:
Staying in the background, Stieler offered a good performance by issuing cautions for the clearly reckless and tactical fouls. He kept the game calm at all times.

Overall: a strong matchday for the refereeing, though the matches were of a lower difficulty than normal.

Thanks to Philipp again and we hope this cooperation can continue!


  1. A remainder. Following the temporary amendments to the LOTG, Bundesliga has chosen to allow 5 substitutions per match for each team till the end of the season. Source: ESPN news article.

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  2. Dortmund - Schalke started with a small delay because Aytekin arrived later on the pitch. Also, I notice, fourth officials are wearing the masks.

  3. Handball shout at about the 10th minute. Long check from the VAR but not Review. For me it's a handball because the arm is making the body bigger, but the deflection off the thigh muddles things and makes it perhaps not a clear and obvious error.

    1. Agreed. Very borderline situation, maybe one could have expected more an OFR than play on, but the decision by VAR can be explained in a way, so still understandable not to intervene.
      In Italy for sure VAR would have called referee, in Germany I see that referees are less strict with handballs, this must be mentioned as well.

    2. No discussion about this incident in Germany as far as I can see. Here, the 'lenient' approach towards punishable handballs is very respected. The arm is quite far away from the body, however, the player's movement is natural considering dynamics and considering that the ball comes from a short distance. No OFR in Germany is fully understandable, maybe unlike in other countries.

  4. Advantage played by Aytkin for 3rd Dortmund goal but caution was needed afterwards for the challenge on Harland. Reckless stamp, studs to top of foot.

    1. According to some sites, Aytekin showed the card (maybe broadcaster missed that moment), however live I didn't see this booking as well. A very mandatory one, classic reckless challenge, stepping on foot.

    2. He gave the yellow card.

    3. A video of the incident can be watched here (the 2nd video).

    4. I was also wondering about that yellow card for Sané when Aytekin gave the advantage. Not shown here, but good to read he booked the Schalke'04 player.

    5. Wow, I didn't see that live. Good to here he booked the player. There wasn't even a graphic on the screen to show he'd been booked or any mention of it from the commentators.

  5. Now a very interesting situation in Augsburg - Wolfsburg.OFR for assessing a possible active offside (obstructing keeper's line of vision). Brych decided for offside, nice that also AR was invited to monitor, in Italy this doesn't happen, only referee goes there. At the end, correct decision. The player tried to move himself and he allowed the ball to pass but at the moment of the shot he was right in front of keeper.

    1. A video of the incident can be watched here (the 2nd video).
      I agree with Chefren, correct decision by the referee. Also correct intervention by the VAR.

    2. Interesting, indeed. IMO this is offside because of
      *being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision
      but also could be offside because of
      *making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

      Correct decision, definitely!

  6. Guido Winkmann for Köln-Mainz and Bastian Dankert for Union Berlin-Bayern.

    1. Köln - Mainz: Guido Winkmann - Christian Bandurski, Mark Borsch - Sören Storks [Tobias Welz, Michael Emmer]
      Union - Bayern: Bastian Dankert - Rene Rohde, Markus Häcker - Stefan Lupp [Tobias Reichel, Christian Fischer]

  7. OT

    Serbian league to grow to 20 teams. The teams that offer more money gets into Top league and First league. Disgusting...

    1. Wrong information. Only if there is an "empty spot" in the league, it will be filled in this way.

      It doesn't mean advancing from a lower league to a higher one will be based on an auction. All the best

    2. Still disgusting thing to do. Promote second best team that finished that season not to buy position.

  8. Penalty (handling) given in the decisive last seconds of the Wehen Wiesbaden - Stuttgart game by Sascha Stegemann [Robert Kampka]. The offense was more-or-less impossible to detect in real time. I was only watching on my phone but the call seemed correct - could someone confirm that?

    In case, it was a great spot by Robert Kampka, well done!

    1. Not too sure about that call. I still don't know who really touched the ball. As it is really quiet, you were able to hear Stegemann talking to Kampka. Stegemann said multiple times that he "can't see who touched the ball", "No clear and obvious error" and asked Kampka "if he has any proof that Stuttgart's player touched the ball". He didn't seem convinced at all but still gave the penalty.

    2. Thanks for the translations. It must have been a very stressful moment for Stegemann as he decided the game with that call; you can understand his angst in the RRA.

      I was surprised at the lack of angles offered - are there less cameras at a 2.BL game than in BL? I guess that didn't really help Stegemann either.

      With a more liberal interpretation of "clear and obvious", it leaves VARs in big trouble in such situations. Not only did Kampka have the very tricky task of evaluating whether there was a handling at all, he then had to analyse whether it was a "clear and obvious" handling (I can well imagine that DFB disagree with his evaluation, too). Another good case in this argument is the (IMO excellently) awarded penalty by the German officials team in the PORSUI Nations League game after an On-Field Review; was that "clear and obvious" in the UEFA interpretation of the phrase?

      That being said, as Stegemann missed it on a perception level, it seems 'right' to allow him to make the final choice (also considering the context), even if Kampka was not 100% sure - but was strongly convinced - that there was a handling by the defender.

      If anyone has a downloadable clip I will check the scene in frame-by-frame :)

    3. Haven‘t seen the incident but I can confirm what Dominik wrote about the conversation (that‘s what I read in some live tickers). What I can say is that it caused quite a lot of controversy in facebook and instagram pages from (independent) sports papers. But for sure I cannot judge without having seen the incident.

    4. Found this clip of the situation (with translated subtitles):

    5. There are indeed only 8 cameras in 2. Bundesliga (compared to approx. 20 in 1. Bundesliga).

      Thanks for the video, very interesting to hear the communication. One can also recognize that Stegemann is an experienced VAR himself, I think.

    6. DFB released a statement today: Source:

      Short summary:

      - DFB said that the decision was classified as correct from a rules point of view
      - VAR intervention was not correct though as it was neither a "clear and obvious error" nor a "missed serious incident"

      --> VAR intervention was not correct but the subsequent procedure was within the rules.

    7. Full statement:
      "The arm position of the Stuttgart defender above the shoulder - the hand is stretched out halfway forward and rests on the arm of the Wiesbaden striker - can be classified as unnatural and a penalty kick is OK from a technical point of view, although when looking at the player's entire sequence of movements the process can be classified as not quite clear. The process is therefore a scene which, in its evaluation, represents a discretionary area for the referee on the pitch".
      "On the question of the necessity of an intervention by the video assistant, we consider the on-field review recommendation made by the video assistant, against the background of the discretionary scope and thus not being a clear and obvious misjudgement by the referee, to be inappropriate. Incidentally, this would also apply if the referee had only limited knowledge of the incident."
      "As this was a very detailed process, a precise analysis by the video assistant was necessary to be able to visually prove the hand game. This proof could be provided by a high-resolution camera. During the on-field review, this detail was difficult for the referee to see, so the referee asked the video assistant several times about this evidence to be sure."
      "After confirmation from the video assistant, the referee then asked for different camera angles in order to be able to make an assessment regarding the question 'punishable or not punishable? As in the present case, only the referee may make this assessment. In the end, the referee assessed this procedure as punishable within his discretionary scope and ruled on a penalty kick in a technically correct manner."

      I am surprised, that it is not evaluated at least as "missed incident". In fact, I thought the position of the arm above the shoulder would make it a clear penalty, once the contact has been proven.

    8. Thanks for the translation, Philipp.
      I think that the arguments proposed by DFB are very debatable. Since there wasn't a previous touch by the same player on another part of the body and the ball was quite expected, the fact that arm was raised should be enough for a clear and evident miss by referee. It seems as DFB is convinced that, given the difficulty to spot it, this hamdball is not VAR stuff. This is wrong. VAR exists exactly for that, if we are sure that touch occurred by arm by defender (and it seems so) without any other criterion, this should be a clear penalty without doubts. Also, the reasoning by DFB makes the VAR work about handballs very difficult. For sure one can't understand when an incident, even in case of miss by refereee, should be considered worthy of an intervention.
      In Italy a VAR making this call would have been only praised.

  9. Bremen - Leverkusen: Tobias Stieler - Holger Henschel, Jan Neitzel-Petersen - Robert Schröder [Tobias Reichel, Mike Pickel]

  10. Can someone tell what happened to Benjamin Brand? Last match on field 16/03/18...

    1. He is injured for a very long time. I think a slipped disc was reported, but not officially confirmed, as far as I know.
      He still is on the Bundesliga list and appointed as VAR nearly every week.

    2. Very unlucky for him I think he has great potential which was also recognised by German referee committee (debut in Bundesliga at the age of 26). Hopefully he will recover and be able to referee some games by himself...

  11. Osmers, definetley the guy that will be more than bright future of German refereeing.

  12. Leaked (therefore not 100% reliable) DFB assessment:

    The handball in Aytekin's match should have been a penalty and a VAR intervention. The deflection from his own body does not change the unnatural arm position of the player Kenny with an increase of the body surface, which results in a penalty kick.

    The two situations in Brych's match were confirmed as correct.

  13. OT from Spain: From the 120 referees of 3rd Division, CTA-RFEF has leaked a shortlist of 28 that will be appointed to play-off to Segunda games in July. 14 of them will be appointed as central referees and will be candidates for category promotion, the other 14 will be 4th officials. List of officials:

    Albert Ávalos Martos (Catalonia, 1986)
    Luis Bestard Servera (Balearic Islands, 1994)**
    Mateo Busquets Ferrer (Balearic Islands, 1994)*
    Juan Antonio Campos Salinas (Murcia, 1989)
    Iván Caparrós Hernández (Valencia, 1990)*
    Albert Catalá Ferrán (Catalonia, 1989)
    Germán Cid Camacho (Castilla & León, 1987)
    Luis Collado López (Castilla-La Mancha, 1984)*
    Guillermo Conejero Sánchez (Extremadura, 1988)
    Alonso de Ena Wolf (Aragón, 1992)*
    David Gálvez Rascón (Madrid, 1981)*
    Manuel García Gómez (Extremadura, 1991)**
    Víctor García Verdura (Catalonia, 1994)
    Alberto Gómez Lameiro (Galicia, ???)**
    Raúl Martín González Francés (Canary Islands, 1988)*
    José Luis Guzmán Mansilla (Andalusia, 1995)*
    Francisco José Hernández Maeso (Extremadura, 1988)
    Marcos Latorre Gracia (Aragón, 1991)**
    Salvador Lax Franco (Murcia, 1990)
    Julio Fermín Leo Ollo (Navarre, 1979)*
    Daniel Palencia Caballero (Basque Country, 1992)
    Manuel Ángel Pérez Hernández (Madrid, 1989)
    Manuel Pozueta Rodríguez (Cantabria, 1996)**
    Fernando Román Román (Castilla & León, 1988)
    Rubén Ruipérez Marín (Castilla-La Mancha, 1991)
    Rafael Sánchez López (Murcia, 1991)
    José Antonio Sánchez Villalobos (Andalusia, 1991)**
    Alfonso Vicente Moral (Castilla & León, 1983)*

    (*) Likely to be appointed as central referee and candidate for promotion

    (**) Likely to be appointed as 4th official and not a candidate for promotion.

  14. Predictions for Berlin's derby?

    1. Harm Osmers in my opinion

    2. Difficult to predict as DFB tries to avoid long journeys for the team in charge. Sven Jablonski would be a risky but possible appointment in my opinion.

    3. Osmers (with Stefan Lupp and Norbert Grudzinski) is confirmed.

      The official appointments in Germany are done via a website called dfbnet. This dfbnet is linked with a page called On, there you can find each match played in Germany (from Bundesliga to the lowest existing league) with ref appointements, line-ups, number of cards, scorers, etc.
      On this site you can actually read the name of Osmers for this match. Therefore, it should be a reliable source - give the fact, the Corona-test of Osmers will be negative.

  15. OT - Promotions and demotions from France.

    Referees promoted to Ligue 1: Bastien Dechepy, Aurélien Petit
    Referee demoted from Ligue 1: Olivier Thual (FIFA referee from 2008-2012, already his second demotion from L1 after 2014/15)

    Full promotions and demotions from every category can be found here:

    1. Turpin, Bastien and Buquet are listed separately for their UEFA status? This is unfair for other referees. And what happens if an Elite referee should be demoted? The system seems to be not perfect and very criticizable. Rules should be the same for all referees.

    2. They are not listed separately as there is 10 French UEFA referees, the ranking only highlights the top3, the other ones are "ranked" alphabetically !

      There is in fact a ranking but it is not disclosed ! (and the last one seems to be Olivier Thual as it is demoted)

  16. Appointments for friday:


    Hertha BSC Berlin - 1. FC Union Berlin (20:30)

    Harm Osmers
    Stefan Lupp
    Norbert Grudzinski
    René Rohde (4th)
    Benjamin Brand (VAR)
    Christian Fischer (AVAR)

    2nd Bundesliga (18:30)

    1. FC Nürnberg - Erzgebirge Aue

    Dr. Felix Brych (Ref)
    Martin Petersen (VAR)

    1. FC Heidenheim - SV Wehen Wiesbaden

    Timo Gerach (Ref)
    Christian Dietz (VAR)

    1. Felix Brych on Friday! Champions League on next week for him? :)

  17. Maybe, let me add something "special" of german refereeing: there seems to be a certain gap between the acceptance of german refs in Europe and in Germany. In other countries, the no. 1 on UEFA level seems to be accepted as no. 1 in national league. In Germany, it´s quite different.
    Those who have most reputation in UEFA competitions does not earn the same reputation in Bundesliga (Stark, Brych, Zwayer). Of course, german football, german football association and german supporters respect them and their (international) performances a lot, but the favourite refs in the eyes of players and supporters seem to be those who "failed" on UEFA level for certain reasons.
    In Germany, the combination of "decision quality", communication with players/coaches and authenticity is most important. In past, especially Knut Kircher was great concerning these elements.
    At the moment, there is no doubt that Deniz Aytekin and Manuel Graefe are the most "loved" refs in Germany. Of course, their approach differs in some parts, e.g. the number of cards (since 3 years, Graefe has an average of less than 2,5 yellow cards per match although he officates clashes like BVB-Bayern, Schalke-BVB, etc.). But especially, both know to create an atmosphere on the pitch where nearly every player accepts them and their decisions. They sometimes hug players, explain their decisions, smile to players and don´t use exaggerated gestures. They show a calm and relaxed style/approach which is much respected by players.

    I would especially invite you to watch clashes officated by Graefe. It´s quite fascinating. He has a very lenient approach and seems at the same time very "chilled". Furthermore, there is less dissent against ref when he is on the pitch - even difficult teams and players don´t protest a lot against the ref and his decisions. If there are "do or die"-games, DFB often chooses Graefe as the "man in the middle". Last year he officated both clashes between Bayern and Dortmund, furthermore he often is involved in Derbys like Hamburg-St. Pauli, Cologne-Leverkusen, ...

  18. Discussions in Norway about the protocol to be followed by referees when the league restarts on June 16. Because the season has become more intense and referees are recommended to follow strict social distancing requirements, some people including former elite referee Svein-Erik Edvartsen have asked for temporary professionalisation of referees, but this has not happened yet.

    A digital referees' meeting for the referees and ARs in the top two divisions and top women's division was held on Wednesday: Only 58 out of 94 referees participated. Only 8 out of 58 spoke during the meeting.

    One referee reports: "We read the appointment, travel to the game, referee it, go home and write the match report. That's it".


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