In Depth

VAR ‘madness’ in Germany as penalty is awarded at half-time - how Twitter reacted

Mainz and Freiburg players were called back from the dressing rooms during the Bundesliga clash

‘Chaos’, ‘madness’ and ‘bizarre’ - that’s just three of the words used to describe the scenes when a penalty was awarded at half-time during last night’s Bundesliga clash between Mainz and Freiburg.

The players had already gone off for the interval when the German official Guido Winkmann consulted the video assistant referee (VAR) about a Freiburg handball in the last moments of the first-half.

Sky Sports reports that Winkmann “stopped his own descent down the tunnel after a message in his ear”. After looking at replays of a cross from Mainz’s Daniel Brosinski striking Freiburg defender Marc Oliver Kempf on the hand, Winkmann awarded the spot-kick and the players were “hauled back to the pitch”. 

Mainz midfielder Pablo de Blasis scored from the spot to give his side the lead, he then added another after 78 minutes to secure the 2-0 victory.

“Extraordinary scenes - I’ve never seen anything like it,” was how the BT Sport commentator described the “historic” moment. While European football writer Andy Brassell told BBC Radio 5 live that the penalty was a “new low” for video technology in football.

“Potentially one of the most vital goals in the fight at the bottom, but a new low for VAR,” said Brassell. “The ref maybe shouldn’t have sent them off as quickly, it depends on how quickly VAR contacted him.

“The problem is not the technology, it is the process. I can’t understand why referees are involved in the decision-making process at all, if it is to be used for clear and obvious errors, surely the VAR has to tell the referee what the decision is. In this case you've got a couple thousand fans off to the bar and they come back thinking it is 0-0. I still think the penalty is debatable.”

Freiburg sporting director Jochen Saier told Eurosport that the VAR decision “leaves a bitter taste”. Saier added: “We were under the impression that when the referee blows for half-time that's it.”

How Twitter reacted to the VAR penalty decision in Germany:

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