IAt some point, when the players had already disappeared into the locker rooms, referee instructor Lutz Wagner explained his point of view on what was happening, and many of those responsible opened or slammed the doors in the catacombs of the stadium in Böllenfalltor, the president of the SV. Darmstadt 98 also wanted to once again present its point of view.
“Insolence!” Rüdiger Fritsch shouted to reporters, at first he wanted to hide in the locker room, but then turned around and tried to explain why the referee awarded Gladbach a “physically” unjustified penalty in the 49th minute. The fact that Fritsch, with his comments about the trajectory of the ball, went into a field that was not really his strong point, as he himself admitted (“I was bad at physics”), showed how important this 3:3 score was – and especially since the penalty whistle and the sending off, which radically changed everything, touched everyone.
It was clear that goalscorer and red card player Matej Maglica was talking about a “roller coaster” after the game. It’s quite possible that some people on the Darmstadt side felt as if they had been to every food stall before this wild ride; I would eat cola, cotton candy, kidney skewers, pancakes and beer in that order. Either way, the way the game was played might have made you sick.
Darmstadt’s side had a stunning half-time performance against devastated Gladbachers and could have been more than 3-0 up, and perhaps even should have been. But then there was Maglica’s handball. Then there was video evidence. Then there was a red card. And then there was another game, at the end of which Lilien was still lucky with a point, because Gladbach was rushing for a fourth goal, and goalkeeper Marcel Chouin cleared a goal several times when absolutely necessary.
The stumbling block was handball and ejection from the field. At least everyone agreed with it later. “You can’t say that the decision was wrong,” said instructor-referee Wagner in the catacombs. Referee Timo Gerach also supported her and told DAZN about the “wiping movement” he recognized in the photographs: “What is certainly debatable in the interpretation is whether Gladbacher is in control of the ball or whether he only has it in his hands. This question depends on whether the situation can be considered in game as a clear opportunity to score a goal, and this, in turn, determines the penalty for handball: yellow or red. The referee’s assessment of the situation was that the Gladbach player was in control of the situation without the help of a handball and therefore a clear chance to score. Tough, but probably justified.
Fritsch saw it differently and after the game made a statement that opened a large, but by no means new topic: “Either the kids were unlucky, or they don’t have a lobby. I don’t know, but it’s hard to accept,” he said. Wouldn’t a Bayern or Borussia Dortmund player see a red card? Hypothetically. But one can, of course, sympathize with the angry Fritsch. Even among the Gladbach players there were doubts about the penalty.
“What should he do?” someone asked as the team gathered in front of the TV in the mix zone after the final whistle to watch footage of that crucial scene again. Maglicka, who was suspended for one game by the German Football Association for the offence, said he did not feel the ball hit his hand at the moment. The defender, who scored with a header to make it 2-0, also looked confused when the referee showed him a red card.
It was impressive how Thorsten Lieberknecht handled it all. The Darmstadt manager is known for showing a little more emotion than many other Bundesliga players. At a press conference, he simply said he thought the decision was “very tough” but did not want to comment further. Rather, the coach focused on the first half, in which his team played fantastically.
First of all, Lieberknecht wanted to draw attention to the many positive aspects that he noticed, but then he could not help but think again about FC Union Berlin: they were in the minority for almost 70 minutes against Darmstadt and a “completely different routine”. This is precisely what he lacked, admitted Lieberknecht, who fundamentally demanded: “We must continue to build the mentality of the cart in order to score points.”
Games often fade quickly from people’s memories when it comes to one of these games: a 0-0 draw against an opponent or a 3-0 draw against Bayern. The meeting between Darmstadt and Gladbach may be remembered from time to time for several match days, perhaps even until the end of the season. As a comparative value in controversial decisions or as a source of positive or negative developments, which is determined by the result of this game or the performance of the team.
Perhaps at some point in the second half of the season people will say that the Lilies used what they experienced in this crazy game to strengthen their solidarity and impose an us-against-all mentality that could be beneficial for the relegated team. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if this crazy game, in which everyone seemed like a loser at first, would eventually lead to victory, at least in football stories.
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine
I am a sports journalist with over 10 years of experience covering news, events and stories from around the world. I have written for several online news outlets and have also been published in print magazines. I am currently working as an author at the World Herald News, where I cover primarily sports-related stories.