Bayer Leverkusen were granted a goal that should not have counted in a 2-1 victory at Hoffenheim on Friday night to go top in the Bundesliga.
Stefan Kiessling’s 70th-minute header for 2-0 was ruled a goal by referee Felix Brych although television replays revealed that the ball went wide next to the left post before finding its way into the goal through a hole in the side-netting.
Hoffenheim, who were also wrongly ruled offside when scoring in the first half, protested in vain, and it was too late when they showed Brych the hole in the net a few minutes later after play resumed.
Bayern Munich were given a similar goal that was none from Thomas Helmer in a 2-1 victory over Nuremberg in 1994. In that case, the German football federation nullified the result and ordered the match to be replayed.
Hoffenheim sports director Alexander Rosen said “we will certainly lodge a protest” and coach Markus Gisdol expects the game to be replayed.
“Anything else than a replay would be a joke. You can’t replay a Bayern Munich game and not a Hoffenheim game,” coach Markus Gisdol told Sky TV. “Fairness must win and I expect to see the game again here.” Hoffenheim did not want to blame Kiessling, who himself said he was not sure what had happened.
“I thought it wouldn’t go in, then it was in. I never thought about how it went in. What can I do? It is a shitty situation for me.
I started to have second thoughts when the Hoffenheim players showed the hole in the net,” Kiessling told Sky.
Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller and coach Sami Hyypia named the situation “very unpleasant,” and Voeller insisted “we don’t want to win games like this.” Brych told Sky: “I had doubts but there were no protests.
Kiessling also expressed his doubts. It is not good for me to give a goal which was none. But the ball was in the net.” Goal-line technology may have instantly told the referee that the goal was none, but unlike the English Premier League and FIFA events it has not yet been introduced in Germany.
Television footage showed that an assistant referee made the mandatory check of the netting ahead of the second half, but either didn’t notice the hole or it wasn’t there at the time.
For now, Leverkusen improved to 22 points for first place at least until Saturday afternoon, when treble winners Bayern Munich (20 points) host Mainz and Borussia Dortmund (19) meet Hanover.
Hoffenheim are 10th with 10 points.
Sidney Sam had opened the scoring in the 26th with a low shot.
Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved an 80th-minute penalty from Roberto Firmino before Sven Schipplock put the hosts on the scoreboard with three minutes left.
“It is bitter for us. We played a really good match. I am very satisfied with my team’s performance. It is bitter that such a goal decides the match,” Gisdol said.