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Hertha is very unlucky with the rules

“The heirs of Collina” investigate
Hertha is very unlucky with the rules

By Alex Feuerherdt

Hertha BSC scores early on Bundesliga Matchday 16 but before that the ball was out of goal. Nevertheless, a discussion erupts over whether VAR was even allowed to intervene. After the showpiece match between Leipzig and Bayern, referee Daniel Siebert and RB coach Marco Rose have a remarkable dialogue in front of the cameras.

After the final whistle of the match between VfL Bochum and Hertha BSC (3-1), Berlin coach Sandro Schwarz did not want to end a scene in the 11th minute. With the score at 0-0, Lucas Tousart scored for the capital guests, but referee Martin Petersen disallowed the goal after his video assistant Daniel Schlager interfered. The reason was that the ball was out of goal before the goal was scored. However, Schwarz did not agree with the decision as he was of the opinion that this fact was part of an attacking phase of Hertha that had already ended and therefore the VAR should not have checked this phase at all. . “The goal should have been given”, he was convinced.

In fact, things are not as simple as they seem at first sight. After a long Hertha ball from his own half, Bochum’s Keven Schlotterbeck first headed the ball uncontrollably towards his own goal line in a duel with Jean-Paul Boetius. Boetius reached the ball – it was unclear at the moment whether he was in front or behind the line, but referee Petersen let play continue – and crossed it into the Bochum penalty area, but found no teammate there. Bochum’s Saidy Janko ran for the ball, pressured by Derry Scherhant, and after brief contact with the ball lost it to Hertha just yards from the penalty area. After four more saves, Tousart scores.

Hertha canceled goal: technically difficult

From a technical standpoint, this process is a bit more complicated than you might think. This is because after a goal has been scored, VAR can only review the attacking phase which was just before the goal. And not the whole phase of play, which can last several minutes, since the last interruption of play, after which there may have been one or more changes in possession of the ball. It is checked whether the team that scored the goal has committed an offense in the attacking phase before the goal – such as a foul, handball or offside – or whether the ball has crossed the goal line in the meantime. touches or the goal line without the referee noticing.

The decisive question in the match in Bochum was whether Janko’s brief contact with the ball ended an attacking phase by Hertha and whether a new attacking phase began after Scherhant recovered the ball. If so, VAR Schlager should have only checked the sequence between recovering the ball and scoring the goal – the fact that the ball was previously outside the goal would then have been irrelevant. Information on this can be found in the International Football Association Board (IFAB) Chief Rules Handbook for Video Assistants.

Why Janko’s ball contact wasn’t ball control

It states, among other things: “An attacking phase ends when the defending team takes possession of the ball under control, for example when a defender clears the ball without being under pressure or has control of it clearly and moves with it or the past.” In addition, it is clarified: “A deliberate but uncontrolled touch of the ball is not controlled possession of the ball.” From a technical point of view, this means that because Janko was under pressure and only had the ball once briefly, did not move with it and did not pass it either, but lost to Scherhant straight away, he didn’t control possession of the ball. This gave Hertha a continuous attack phase, during which the ball crossed the goal line. VAR was therefore right to check if the ball was out of goal and to intervene when it was. It was therefore correct to disallow the goal and restart play with a corner kick because Schlotterbeck had knocked the ball out of the goal.

The fact that not only Sandro Schwarz, but also football experts Dietmar Hamann and Erik Meijer in the Sky TV studio assessed the scene completely differently and found the referee’s decision wrong was less to do with the rules than with football: Janko had the ball, they argued Ex-professionals, very well controlled, but in a technically bad way – and therefore lost it. An understandable argument, but this distinction is not made in the interpretation of the rules: even the pressure from the opponent and the mishandling of the ball caused by this means that controlled possession of the ball is not assumed. Ultimately, this also makes evaluation easier.

No foul on Kimmich before Leipzig equalizer

Referee Daniel Siebert was also correct in decisive situations in the opening game of the 16th day between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Munich (1-1). Half an hour later, with the score at 0-0, he ruled out a goal for Leon Goretzka’s guests as Mathijs de Ligt was offside when the goal was scored and André Silva clearly ruined his chances. reach for the ball, holding his arm. It was also correct not to rate Silva’s physical exertion against Joshua Kimmich ahead of Leipzig’s equalizer by Marcel Halstenberg in the 52nd minute as worthy of a punishment.

Although Silva used his arm against Kimmich’s shoulder a little in the duel, the Munich man then fell to the ground without resistance. Even Kimmich himself did not plead guilty after the game, the same goes for Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann. Immediately after the goal, however, Goretzka reportedly drove to Siebert and was rightly cautioned. The referee made his decision to call the duel legal and to award the goal with clear conviction. It also matched his set well, for the game a sufficiently generous range of tackles.

Siebert and Rose embody fair play

It was also fitting that the Berlin referee, who was also on duty at the World Cup in Qatar, only showed Dayot Upamecano a yellow card in the 66th minute after a foul on rusher Dominik Szoboszlai. Although there was a slight whiff of ’emergency brake’ in this situation, Siebert himself explained in a TV interview after the game why, from his point of view, the Munich defender did not thwart any Obvious goalscoring opportunity: the distance to the The goal was still quite big, In addition, Upamecano’s teammate de Ligt was on his way to Szoboszlai in a full sprint to disturb the Leipziger with some chance of success.

Leipzig coach Marco Rose listened to Siebert’s explanation, then praised the referee in his presence: “You can’t explain it better. Great arguments. I understand it now too.” The referee then explained to the coach why he had warned him after 84 minutes: Rose clearly protested and stepped a little on the field. “Maybe you can wave, I understand the emotions,” Siebert said. “You can do it behind the boards. But since you were also on the pitch, we couldn’t avoid giving you a yellow card.”

Rose also accepted that explanation, calling the warning “totally valid” before briefly describing what specifically bothered him during the match. A fair and respectful dialogue between trainer and gamemaster, in which arguments and explanations were exchanged in a pleasantly calm and factual way. After emotional matches, this may not always be possible in front of the camera, but it is always recommended to emulate this transparency of the referee and the sincere and respectful interaction with each other.

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