TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have submitted an appeal to the sports tribunal of the German Football Association (DFB), contesting the 2-1 home loss to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Friday, 18 October.
The tribunal will forward the appeal to Bayer Leverkusen and take further statements from the two clubs, the match referee and the supervisory committee, prior to adjudicating the case. Parallel to this, the DFB is in the process of clarifying with FIFA the prevailing international legal norms in such instances and will duly take the world governing body's binding stipulations into account when ruling on the case in point.
"We can all comprehend perfectly the sense of injustice that accompanies a phantom goal. The reflexive calls for a replay are likewise understandable but we know as well from past experience the importance FIFA attaches to protecting the authority of referees' decisions," said Dr. Rainer Koch, DFB vice-president responsible for legal and statutory affairs, referencing as an example the goal not given to England in their meeting with Germany at the 2010 World Cup finals. "Our ruling will be taken within the framework of the available legal statutes and stipulations, because in cases like this FIFA is the ultimate authority," Dr. Koch added.
With 70 minutes on the clock in Friday evening's Matchday 9 opener and the visitors leading 1-0, Stefan Kießling headed a Gonzalo Castro cross through a hole in the side netting and into the Hoffenheim goal. Referee Felix Brych let it stand and Bayer went on to win the game. bundesliga.com gathered some of the post-match reactions:
Referee Felix Brych, talking to Sky: It was a difficult situation. I wasn't completely sure myself but the reaction of the players was unequivocal. There was no indication that it might have been an irregular goal. I spoke with Stefan Kießling but neither he nor anyone else said that it wasn't a goal. The ball was in the back of the net and everyone on the pitch thought it was a regular effort. Now I know as well that it wasn't. It's not a great position to be in, to have incorrectly awarded a goal. Up to the point that the match kicked off again, I could have reversed the decision.
Stefan Kießling (Bayer Leverkusen): At first I thought the ball wasn't going to go in but then there it was, in the back of the net. I told the ref I was surprised but hadn't seen exactly what happened. If I see something, I'll be honest about it. But I didn't this time, because I'd turned away. It's not a nice situation for me. I got some nasty abuse from some of the fans, but it's not really something I can personally do anything about.
Andreas Beck (1899 Hoffenheim captain): I thought something had gone wrong with my eyesight. I tried to have a word with the ref before we kicked off again, but he said he wasn't going to comment on it. He stuck to that line, but seemed deep in thought at the same time.
Markus Gisdol (1899 Hoffenheim coach): I don't blame the player, Stefan's a fair sportsman. It was ruled a goal and he pretty much went with it. I've long been in favour of video technology. It's only about deciding whether or not it's a goal.
Sami Hyypiä (Bayer Leverkusen coach): It's not a nice feeling, that's not how you want to win. I've always been in favour of video evidence. The referee's job isn't easy, anything that can help would be good for the game.
Thomas Helmer (scorer of a 'phantom goal' in 1994, on Sport1): It all happens inside the space of seconds and you're not even sure yourself exactly what happened. Kießling will have been thinking - What do I do now, what's happened? And it's those seconds that determine whether you're the good lad or the naughty boy.
Take a look for yourself at the Bundesliga Matchday 9 goal-that-never-was on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: