Monday, 1 June 2020

Bundesliga: Round 28, 29 Review (Update)

Review of the refereeing in Rounds 28 and 29 of Bundesliga action.
Daniel Siebert awarded a controversial penalty in the Paderborn - Dortmund game

Both reviews can be found on this page, we start with the latest round of games from the weekend:

Marco Fritz in SC Freiburg - Bayer Leverkusen [VAR: Felix Brych]:

Not the most consistent foul detection, but no bigger mistakes. A goal at 62' was correctly disallowed for a push.

Guido Winkmann in VfL Wolfsburg - Eintracht Frankfurt [VAR: Tobias Reichel]:

Pedantic piece of refereeing - referee didn't present the most self-assured impression in this game. Second Yellow Card issued at +92' for showing a lack of respect to the game (LoR). Correct play on from a penalty appeal (handling) at 52'.

27' Penalty (holding) given

Philipp: Wrong decision in his view, because the holding is mutual and the attacker seems to fall deliberately (not caused by his opponent). However it was not a clear mistake in Philipp's view as there is some holding by the defender. Yellow Card is the correct sanction.
Mikael: I agree with Philipp - the correct restart here would be a defensive freekick. Tricky to say whether this constitutes a wrongly assessed Key Match Incident. Personally I would prefer a VAR intervention as the decision in theoretically wrong, however supporting a penalty call is clearly correct in the DFB paradigm.

Sven Jablonski in Hertha BSC - FC Augsburg [VAR: Benjamin Brand]:

Referee declined to show some possible Yellow Cards, overall well-handled game. Rather missed penalty at +47' but Philipp says he can understand why VAR didn't intervene (unclear) and an interesting incident at 75' where the referee declined to show a Second Yellow Card for dissent (player said "Are you f***ing kidding me?").

Sascha Stegemann in FSV Mainz - 1899 Hoffenheim [VAR: Günter Perl]:

High (seven) number of Yellow Cards issued in the 1H - mostly for reckless fouls - was justified and successfully calmed the game in the 2H. Interesting penalty appeal at 68' - referee chose to play on; correctly disallowed goal at 60'. Referee spoilt a good afternoon by not showing a clear Second Yellow Card at 33'.

Felix Zwayer in Schalke 04 - Werder Bremen [VAR: Bastian Dankert]:

Despite allowing a lot of physical play, referee assured control of the match throughout; though, he missed a clear Second Yellow Card (51') for reckless striking.

78' Penalty (charging)?

Philipp: In Philipp's view the situation should be assessed as a penalty as the charge by the defender is too strong considering his low chance to play the ball (fairly). Correct no intervention in his view, as the situation is still a grey area.
Mikael: Tricky situation as the contact is after the attacker has executed his header, and is neither clearly careless or reckless - I tend to the former and prefer a play on call here, but I would say a genuine grey area.

Robert Hartmann in Bayern München - Fortuna Düsseldorf [VAR: Harm Osmers]:
Easy-going game that wasn't interesting for the refereeing; interesting offside situation before the 4-0. 

Frank Willenborg in Borussia Mönchengladbach - 1.FC Union Berlin [VAR: Tobias Welz]:
Well-handled normal game.

Daniel Siebert in SC Paderborn 07 - Borussia Dortmund [VAR: Matthias Jöllenbeck]:

62' Penalty (handling) given

->: Both Philipp and Mikael agree that awarding a penalty (arms close to the body, natural movement, short distance) was a clear and obvious mistake, and VAR should have intervened. Presumably, the call was taken by AR Florian Heft, who probably thought the defender enlarged his body surface to block the shot - actually it's the force of the shot that moves the arm out. Understandable perception mistake, that should be rectified by an intervention.

(DFB have reportedly said that while this situation was less of a penalty than the one in the Der Klassiker game on Tuesday (see below), they support no intervention in both cases. Law 5 disagrees with this track, which evitably complicates refereeing further for both Video Match Officials and football fans alike.)

Solid performance; expected level.

Christian Dingert in 1.FC Köln - RB Leipzig [VAR: Tobias Stieler]:
Poor evening for the referee who presented an insecure foul detection. Very unluckily missed advantage at 61' after he correctly punished a reckless foul. Clearly incorrect penalty was changed after an OFR was initiated (72').

Patrick Ittrich in Werder Bremen - Eintracht Frankfurt [VAR: Sascha Stegemann]:
In this quite challenging rearranged game from Round 24, Ittrich solved it in a lenient way, missing some Yellow Cards in the 1H. Referee utilised his soft skills well, especially explaining to the players some VAR calls - all of which were solved correctly / acceptably.

Below, find a review of the midweek Round 28 games.

Tobias Stieler and Der Klassiker took centre stage in Round 28

Tobias Stieler in Borussia Dortmund - Bayern München [VAR: Sascha Stegemann]:

Overall: not faultless in his foul detection in a very dynamic game (Yellow Card at 74' was clearly wrong); very effective chatty communication with the players. Correct play on from a penalty (handling) appeal at 26'. Always in control despite some tricky situations.

58' Penalty (handling)?

Philipp: Penalty would be the correct decision, the arm is unnaturally increasing the body surface (and not used to support the body). However there are some opinions, that it still a grey area, claiming that it is a natural position, when turning away like Boateng. Therefore in his view, VAR should only have intervened if Stieler completely missed the handball, it's an important decision that should be taken by the referee himself. If Stieler had the correct perception, no OFR is correct, because it is not clear and obvious enough. Anyway, a RC would not be expected in such situations, although literally by the LotG it denies a goal-scoring opportunity.
Mikael: Penalty to be given - the only argument against a penalty, that the arm is used for co-ordination and balance, is voided as his slide is a last-resort attempt to block a shot, a save. VAR should intervene. Yellow Card is the correct sanction in my view.

+91': Penalty (charging)?

Philipp: Both decisions can be supported here in his view, because it is an individual assessment, whether you see it as legal use of the body or an illegal body-check/push. No VAR intervention therefore correct. Should not be a RC anyway, because Lewandowski doesn't move towards the goal. Stieler appeared very insecure in this situation, his body language was not clear and it seems he waited for the VAR input.
Mikael: In my view much more of a penalty than not as the attacker has won the position, before being charged over. That being said, the paradigm in Germany is surely to accept harder charges such as that, so not giving a penalty seems the smarter (and more consistent) choice.

Daniel Schlager in Bayer Leverkusen - VfL Wolfsburg [VAR: Markus Schmidt]:

Overall: Solid performance is tarnished by a clearly wrong handball free kick + Yellow Card at 64' which was directed scored for the 0-2 goal. In tricky situations at 5' (play on from a handling appeal) and 67' (potential Violent Conduct - Yellow Card given), Schlager chose the safer option.

71' Serious Foul Play by Leverkusen no.11?

-> Better choice is to assess that as only reckless, Leverkusen no.11 tries to minimise the impact of his accidental stamping.

Martin Petersen in Eintracht Frankfurt - SC Freiburg [VAR: Patrick Ittrich]:

Overall: No wrongly assessed Key Match Incidents, but also not very convincing. His line for the foul detection did not become really clear during the match and he didn't radiate much authority. Yellow Card at 30' was close to SFP, but as the contact point was the foot, the lesser sanction is more appropriate. 

Manuel Gräfe in Werder Bremen - Borussia Mönchengladbach [VAR: Timo Gerach]:

Overall: He typically refereed the match with a lenient and consistent line, which was liked and accepted by the players. Besides 18', Gräfe faced two further interesting penalty calls - striking by the goalkeeper at 22' and a holding offence at 64'. While whistling them was perhaps the more technically correct decisions, Philipp acknowledges that often contacts by the goalkeeper such as in 22' are not punished and there was no conclusive evidence at 64'.

18' Penalty (tripping)?

Philipp: The small contact is enough to bring down the opponent and should result in a penalty. No VAR intervention could only be justified, if Gräfe had a clear perception himself (Werder manager said that Gräfe indeed told him he saw the situation clearly and decided it was not enough for him).

Mikael: Penalty has to be given, missed VAR intervention; no need to overcomplicate a clear situation in my view. 

Bastian Dankert in RB Leipzig - Hertha BSC [VAR: Günter Perl]:

Overall: The important decisions (Second Yellow Card at 63' and a penalty at 82') were clearly correct. However he made several smaller mistakes during the match, so the performance is more satisfactory area than good.

Deniz Aytekin in FC Augsburg - SC Paderborn [VAR: Felix Zwayer]:

Overall: Referee was unchallenged in a decidedly uneventful match. 

Tobias Welz in Fortuna Düsseldorf - Schalke 04 [VAR: Sven Jablonski]:

Overall: Very good performance in Philipp's view, a lenient foul selection without any obvious mistakes in his foul detection. Correct to not punish the light push before a goal at 63' - especially considering his line in this game. 

Felix Brych in 1899 Hoffenheim - 1.FC Köln [VAR: Benjamin Brand]:

Overall: Well-handled game by the on-pitch officials, besides making three mistakes that were corrected by VAR interventions (two situations below and missed offside by Markus Sinn before a goal then-disallowed at 42'). After a consistent first half, he tried a more lenient foul selection in the second half, leading to some missed fouls. All seven cautions - including a Second Yellow Card at 50' - were justified.

24' Red Card (Serious Foul Play) given after an On-Field Review.

-> Correct, very dangerous tackle.

77' Penalty (handling) given after an On-Field Review.

-> Correct, referee ought to have detected this without VAR intervention.

Robert Schröder in Union Berlin - FSV Mainz [VAR: Benjamin Cortus]:

Overall: Good comeback after injury. Not faultless, but overall well-refereed normal difficulty game: correct Second Yellow Card (reckless) at 33'; acceptable to not whistle a foul before a goal at 13' (the player gets to the ball first); very soft, maybe wrong free kick decision before a goal at 33'.

Bonus: Christian Dingert faced a tough 2.Bundesliga game between VfB Stuttgart - Hamburg SV in this round of matches. He awarded two controversial penalties - a handling offence; tripping by the goalkeeper.


  1. I read on twitter that Lutz-Michael Fröhlich talked about the situation in Borussia Dortmund - Bayern München and he said, if I translate correctly, that it has been assessed as borderline decision. Not a clear and evident mistake to play on without VAR intervention.
    However, this situation has been also assessed as "more penalty" than another one occurred in Paderborn - Borussia Dortmund (MD 29).
    Also it is reported: "It must stay as decisive what referees perceive on the pitch".
    So based on this last sentence, and after having watched some Bundesliga games in recent times, I must say it is indeed very important for German heads of refereeing whether the referee has made an assessment on the pitch or not, before considering other criteria. And in my opinion that's not good if we look for consistency, because an objective mistake, like the penalty for Werder Brema, can't be justified only by the fact that referee was in control on the pitch. In UEFA competitions, German VARs shouldn't act in this way. They should merely look at the incidents. If things are very clear, no reasons to make it even more complicated by further assessment (the concept also shared by Mikael in some of these analysis, and I agree with him).

    1. But we also have the concept of "missed incident" versus "clear and obvious error".
      If it's a missed incident, VAR interventions can happen much easier.
      But if it's not a missed incident, it must be "clear and obvious" - that's what IFAB and probably also UEFA want as well as DFB.
      Then it comes to the interpretation of "clear and obvious". For DFB that means, that there are basically no arguments / no opinions, which support the referee's decision. And at least in the situations from Dortmund and Bremen there are such arguments.

      In my opinion, this threshold should be lowered a bit, but basically is the correct approach. An important question for me is: If the referee already has seen the incident well - why should he change his opinion in front of the monitor? Just because the VAR has a different opinion? That would be re-refereeing the match. Or because the slow-motion gives a different impression? But often the live, full-speed picture tells the truth better.

      In the end it's the old question regarding the grey zone: Do we want situations, where both calls can be supported - also to allow the referee to use his own style? Or should we aim to have one correct solution in as many cases as possible?

      And we must not forget in the analysis: If it's a clear case for us, it doesn't mean it's a clear case for everyone. And if we see/read/hear some reasonable people with refereeing knowledge, thinking, that it's a correct/supportable decision - then we should conclude, that it is not "clear and obvious" on a global level.

    2. I quite agree with most points made, but could you explain which arguments in the LOTG would support a no penalty decision in the Bremen match? I really see none. Defender trips attacker in a careless way, ergo: foul. The fact that the contact is unfortunate is no argument for not punishable in the laws. In my taste an OFR is obligatory in this case.
      Regarding the Dortmund situation, although for me it’s a quite clear penalty, I can understand no intervention.

    3. Arguments against penalty in Bremen:
      It's a "slow-motion penalty": In original speed and with the overall motion sequence it is more a collision than tripping and Klaasen also provokes that. The contact is only short and soft.

      So based on the LotG, one has to consider the exact definition of "tripping". Is a side-by-side foot contact, which makes one player fall, enough? Or does it require, that a foot/leg is clearly put into the player's path / between his moving legs?

      But as written in the analysis: For me it's tripping and a clear penalty as well.
      Then again: Gräfe is an experienced, high-class referee, so he should know it better than us - or at least, he also saw some sufficient arguments against the penalty there, so it can't be complete nonsense.

  2. you got it just right boss. Fröhlich has repeatedly said that the decision must be made on the pitch. If the referees are aware, the intervention threshold is very very high.

    Haaland came to a close in the penalty area, Boateng threw himself into the shot and finally fended off the ball with his elbow. Stieler decided on corner kick and Cologne did not intervene. In the end a difficult decision because there are arguments for both. On the one hand Boateng increased his body area, on the other hand the arm position during the rotation is quite natural and the arm is the lower support arm, which according to the rule is not a punishable handball. In the end, Stieler's decision is justifiable.

    at paderborn against dortmund Siebert saw a punishable handball by Emre Can who got the ball on his elbows. In my opinion, an extremely questionable decision, especially when looking back at the scene from “El Clasico” on Tuesday and even less than with Boateng, Emre Can has his arm close to his body, much closer than Boateng on Tuesday.

    and that's exactly what cheerfully confirmed.

  3. But since according to the DFB’s current instructions for the video assistants, if the referee has the perception in the field, it is not allowed to intervene because it is not a clearly obvious wrong decision, this is always a bit complicated. If the Stuttgart incident had not occurred, the VAR would not have intervened. Anyone who thought that video evidence would resolve everything 100% is a fool.

    There will always be gray areas in cases where interpretation is required, except for the so-called factual decisions (goal and offside) as these can be measured with the technical possibilities. With Stuttgart it was unfortunate that everyone got the communication. But let's be honest: that's the way it has been done many times, only that you couldn't hear the communication beforehand.

    And it would be no different if you were in Cologne or on the square. The video evidence was introduced due to the eternal discussion after the games when the media people disassembled x times in super slow motion.

  4. Today's postponed match (MD 24)
    20:30 Werder Bremen - Eintracht Frankfurt:
    Patrick Ittrich - Sascha Thielert, Norbert Grudzinski - Florian Heft
    [Sascha Stegemann, Frederick Assmuth]

    1. Stegemann VAR again after Borussia-Bayern... does that mean that DFB agreed with no OFR in that match?

    2. They are saying, it was not a "clear and obvious" mistake, although a penalty would have been more in line with the common interpretation.
      However, even in case of a missing OFR, this appointment would have been possible, I think.

  5. CROATIA Referees Committee.
    Controversial game Croatian cup semifinals Rijeka-Osijek

    Pajac - UEFA Category 3
    Jovic - UEFA Category 2

    Suspended until the end of the season 2019/2020.

    Reason: scandalous refereeing on semifinal of Croatian cup.

    1. With 9 (¿?) matchdays left, that's a very harsh punishment for me.

    2. Who is the head of Croatian referees?

    3. Yes, harsh and brutal punishment IMO, heavily influenced by the pressure of one football club and public anger. Its sad that mr. Ante Kulusic, head of referees, didnt have courage to defend the referees and clearly deny any accusations of deliberate mistakes.

      We already discussed the situations here, and noone said that all 3 situations are crucial mistakes, especially I am confused about interpretation in which VAR had to react and call for OFR in 2 situations which are not so clear in my opinion.

  6. Today, start Liga NOS - Portugal League:

    Portimonense SC-Gil Vicente FC
    Árbitro: Hugo Miguel (FIFA)
    Assistentes: Paulo Brás e António Godinho
    4.º árbitro: Miguel Nogueira
    VAR: Luís Godinho (FIFA)
    AVAR: Rui Teixeira

    FC Famalicão-FC Porto
    Árbitro: Nuno Almeida
    Assistentes: André Campos e Venâncio Tomé
    4.º árbitro: David Silva
    VAR: Luís Ferreira
    AVAR: Nélson Cunha

    Marítimo M.-Vitória FC
    Árbitro: Manuel Oliveira
    Assistentes: Pedro Ricardo Ribeiro e Tiago Leandro
    4.º árbitro: Fábio Melo
    VAR: António Nobre (FIFA)
    AVAR: Pedro Martins

    SL Benfica-CD Tondela
    Árbitro: Manuel Mota
    Assistentes: Jorge Fernandes e Luciano Maia
    4.º árbitro: Dinis Gorjão
    VAR: Rui Costa
    AVAR: Tiago Costa

    Vitória SC-Sporting CP
    Árbitro: Carlos Xistra (ex-FIFA)
    Assistentes: Jorge Cruz e Marco Vieira
    4.º árbitro: Luís Máximo
    VAR: Bruno Esteves
    AVAR: Rui Cidade

    CD Santa Clara-SC Braga
    Árbitro: Artur Soares Dias (FIFA)
    Assistentes: Rui Licínio e Paulo Soares
    4.º árbitro: Hugo Silva
    VAR: Vasco Santos
    AVAR: João Bessa Silva

    CD Aves-Belenenses SAD
    Árbitro: João Pinheiro (FIFA)
    Assistentes: Bruno Rodrigues e Nuno Eiras
    4.º árbitro: Sérgio Guelho
    VAR: João Bento
    AVAR: Pedro Felisberto

    1. Hugo Miguel (FIFA):

    2. Nuno Almeida:

    3. Boavista FC-Moreirense FC
      Árbitro: Vítor Ferreira (NEW FIFA)
      Assistentes: Pedro Fernandes e Paulo Miranda
      4.º árbitro: João Gonçalves
      VAR: Nuno Almeida
      AVAR: André Campos

    4. Rio Ave FC-FC Paços de Ferreira
      Árbitro: Tiago Martins (FIFA)
      Assistentes: Pedro Mota e Hugo Ribeiro
      4.º árbitro: João Malheiro Pinto
      VAR: Cláudio Pereira
      AVAR: Bruno Trindade

    5. António Nobre (FIFA): Good and fast decision in VAR

      VAR 1:

      VAR 2:

      VAR 3:

      Total Replay (Ref. Manuel Oliveira):

    6. SL Benfica - Tondela (Ref: Manuel Mota):

    7. Carlos Xistra (Ex-FIFA):

  7. Hungarian Cup Final to be played today.

    20:00 Budapest Honvéd - Mezőkövesd Zsóry
    Tamás Bognár - Vencel Tóth, Gergő Vígh-Tarsonyi - Balázs Szert - Balázs Berke, Sándor Andó-Szabó

  8. Patrick Ittrich very sympathetic referee, first half full of gestures!
    Always in control of game, never passive. I like his attitude! He showed that with a smile you can even officiate better a game.

    1. As much as he could have been sympathetic, i think he missed some cards in the first half. Tourè was literally graced after two rough fouls, in the second part of first half he let the teams play more phisically, but didn't sanction several reiterated withholds and fouls, leading some frustration into players

  9. OT
    On 29/05/2020 the two top Latvian teams - Riga FC and RFS - played a friendly match (in Estonia because in Latvia it was still not allowed), and RFS won 2-0. The best Latvian referee Andris Treimanis was in charge.
    At 75' RFS player Kouadio showed his middle finger to an opponent. Treimanis spotted it and showed the red card. At that point an unusual incident took place - the referee showed his middle finger to the offender. But, of course, as Treimanis explains in a video that he published on Facebook (it's indeed not often at all you see an UEFA Cat 1 referee explaining a decision in a public video by himself (the fact that it was a friendly and that it wasn't, for example, a subjective penalty decision, and that misinterpretation of the incident could undeservedly damage his reputaton (there were many images with the referee showing the middle finger being published on social networks without showing the full context) probably contributed to the Latvian's choice to make this video)), he made the gesture to make it absolutely clear why he sent of the player.
    The Treimanis' Facebook post containing a video of the incident and the video with his explanation can be found here. (I might translate the explanation video at some point.)

    1. Thank you for this, very interseting and a good choice by Treimanis to do this in order to avoid any sort of wrong information spreading.

      Also, interesting to hear himself pronounce his name. Once more shows how far off the way he is usually called is.

    2. Treimanis should have avoided to make again the gesture, as people are always ready to attack referees for everything. We will write something trying to clarify it, but for sure in future Treimanis will have to avoid that. The only explaining by words in such situations is definitely enough.

    3. The problem is: How do you make a proper gesture to players (and maybe some of those players are foreigners and probably don't speak your language. It's easy to do the pull/push/stamp/bite/dissent gestures. Not so easy to explain when there's a sending off for abusive language/misconduct. If a player is sent off for e.g. pulling down his shorts, I guess that referee won't to the same thing in order to explain his red card decision.

    4. Almost goes without saying that this was not a good mode of communication for describing the reason for the sending off! He should be aware that there are cameras everywhere and that tabloids are bound to take such gestures out of context. But, in the end this is mostly a non-story and he will move on from it.

    5. I have combined the two videos into one that I have published on my YouTube channel here. I have also added English subtitles to it (remember to turn them on), so that you can understand what Treimanis is saying.

  10. Greek SL restarts this weekend.



    Aris-OFI (6/6); Diamantopoulos (UEFA, 3rd)
    AEK-Panathinaikos (7/6): Tzilos (UEFA, 3rd)
    PAOK-Olympiakos (7/6): Papapetrou (UEFA, 2nd)

    Play out

    Panionios-Volos: Koumparakis
    Xanthi-Atromitos: Koutsiaftis
    Larisa-Ast. Tripolis: Zahariadis
    Lamia-Panaitolikos: Vreskas

    1. Glad to see native referees, maybe a silver lining of COVID and empty stadiums...

  11. Who was the best Mexican referee archundia benito or Argentinian referee Horacio elizondo ?

  12. Bundesliga today
    20:30 SC Freiburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Markus Schmidt - Markus Sinn, Tobias Christ - Timo Gerach
    [Martin Petersen, Jan Neitzel-Petersen]

  13. when will premier league referees be announced for the 17th June?

  14. will dr felix brych have a game this weekend? when will bundensliga referees be announced?

    1. Appointments are released at the morning of the game (due to Corona tests on the day before).

  15. do you think there will be an increase number of yellow and red cards, given that games are behind closed doors. Or will there be less cards given due to the "easier" atmosphere of a match for referees?

  16. I see that today Slovenian league starts again, any further info about Vincic? No appointments for him? How long he will stay out?

    1. He's not appointed in the first round. There is an interesting interview (in Slovenian language) with Vlado Šajn couple of days ago available at
      The last question was about Vinčić. Šajn said they had received information from official authorities. Based on the findings so far he was neither arrested nor a suspect and was only asked to make a statement as a witness. Šajn believes this unfortunate turn of events will not influence his career.

  17. Schmidt on this first half was very generous with bookings. 2 fouls that weren't sanctioned cause he let the game play, were sanctioned at the end of the play (very rarely seen that in Germany). Yellow card for Plea for a little reaction after he got the foul whistled against him i think that many referees would have let him go at worse with a warning.

    1. Haven't seen everything, but one thing I would like to mention. German referees award a YC very strictly for unsporting behaviour. They did it before the Corona break and they continue doing it. Plea shot the ball away, which is a clear YC under these circumstances. In addition, Schmidt doesn't accept unsporting behaviour in general and would do that anyway.


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