By Chris Wright
PHANTOM TOR! Hoffenheim were left nursing a serious case of “wadafuqref?” at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena last night when Stefan Kiessling put Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 up with a “goal” that, in fact, merely passed through a gap in the side netting…
Referee Felix Brych understandably came under heavy criticism after the game though he both acknowledged and defended his iffy decision, claiming: “There was no indication that it was not a regular goal. I had a bit of doubt, but the reaction of the players was clear. There was nothing to suggest otherwise.”
To be fair to him, it really does look like a perfectly kosher goal in real time: the angle of Kiessling’s header, the trajectory at which the ball rolls across the back of the net, the distinct lack of flapping when the ball passes through the goal net, the reaction of the players; it’s definitely a toughy.
However, Hoffenheim, surprisingly enough, weren’t best pleased with Brych’s call and have demanded the entire match (which eventually finished 2-1 to Leverkusen) be replayed.
There is a precedent there too, with Bayern Munich forced to replay a game against Nurnberg in 1994 when Thomas Helmer’s “phantom tor” was given by the linesman in the first fixture despite his shot going wide. Munich won the replay 5-0 ten days later.
Hoffenheim coach Markis Gisdol said: “It’s definitely bitter for us and something like this has already happened once, and that game was replayed so I think we’re going to see this game again.
“Anything else would be a joke. You can’t replay a Bayern Munich game, but not a Hoffenheim game.”