Last Updated: 16/04/18 10:40pm
Referee Guido Winkmann tells the Mainz players to return to the pitch
There were bizarre scenes in the Bundesliga on Monday as Mainz and Freiburg players returned to the pitch so a penalty could be taken before half-time.
The players had gone to the changing room for the interval with the score at 0-0 – only for the video assistant referee (VAR) to intervene.
Referee Guido Winkmann, who allowed play to continue after Daniel Brosinski’s shot took a deflection off Freiburg defender Marc Oliver Kempf’s hand, was on his way off the pitch himself when notified by video referee Bibiana Steinhaus, who was watching in Cologne, that he should check a replay.
Winkmann watched the incident again on the pitch-side screen and decided Kempf deliberately put his hand to the ball.
The referee then ordered the players to come back so that Mainz’s Pablo De Blasis could take the spot-kick, which he duly converted.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich, who was recently sent off for dissent in a league match, was pictured on the sideline smiling and shaking his head in disbelief after being told to bring his players back out.
Stewards remove rolls of toilet paper thrown by fans at Opel Arena
Freiburg sporting director Jochen Saier told Eurosport at halftime: “We thought that when the whistle goes for halftime, that the first 45 minutes are ticked off.
“That wasn’t the case in this scene, we have to accept that with heavy hearts.
“Things are getting stranger.”
Mainz ended up beating their relegation rivals 2-0, although the players were forced to wait again for the second half after Mainz fans threw hundreds of rolls of toilet paper onto the pitch in protest against Monday night games.
Defeat meant Freiburg took Mainz’s place in the relegation zone, due to an inferior goal difference.
The VAR system has been used in the Bundesliga this season. It has also been utilised in selected cup ties in England. The Premier League has voted against introducing VAR for the 2018/19 season.