BERLIN, May 1 (AP): A refereeing error has become the focus of attention in the Bundesliga after it helped Bayern Munich regain the lead from Borussia Dortmund with four rounds of the league remaining.
The video assistant referee didn’t intervene to award a penalty in Dortmund’s game on Friday as the team was held to a 1-1 draw with Bochum on Friday night, a result that could have a major impact on the title race.
The German soccer federation acknowledged Saturday that referee Sascha Stegemann should have given the penalty “without the need for support from the video assistant.” However, it did not say why there was no support from the video assistant.
Stegemann failed to spot the foul in the area in the 65th minute when Bochum’s Danilo Soares plowed into Karim Adeyemi from behind and brought the Dortmund forward down without touching the ball. Soares was already booked and could have been sent off with a second yellow card.
“We would probably go in front and you’re playing against 10 men, it’s a whole other game,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzic said.
But Stegemann allowed play to continue and received no indication from video assistant Robert Hartmann that he should do otherwise. The video assistant is there to inform a referee of any clear mistake, and video replays can then be used to recheck the incident. But Hartmann apparently felt the possible foul on Adeyemi wasn’t a clear mistake.
The federation disagreed.
“It’s a foul and therefore a penalty, as the TV pictures also show. The expectation has to remain that such events are decided correctly by the referee on the field,” the federation said.
The decision was one of three that Dortmund complained about as it slipped to a draw that allowed Bayern to retake the lead on Sunday.
Stegemann, who acknowledged “several mistakes” among the match officials and said he could understand Dortmund’s anger, told broadcaster Sport1 that threats have been made against him and his family. It led him to file a criminal complaint and seek temporary protection measures.
The referee said he is thinking about “whether a break makes sense or whether it’s better to continue straightaway.”
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke condemned those threats on Sunday.
“Dear soccer fans, of course we are all still very disappointed with how Friday night went,” Watzke said in a statement published on the club website. “We discussed our point of view with the referee immediately after the game, and he assured us then how sorry he was. With that, the matter is closed for us.”
There was no comment on the matter from Bayern, which holds a one-point lead as it bids to win a record-extending 11th consecutive league title.
Dortmund must now hope for a favor from Werder Bremen, Schalke, Leipzig or Cologne if it is to end the Bavarian powerhouse’s 10-year reign – while also winning its own remaining games against in-form Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Augsburg and Mainz.
“We won’t let any opponent, any referee or any illness stop us,” Dortmund youngster Youssoufa Moukoko said. “We believe in it, we’re convinced of it.”