The 2018/19 Bundesliga season is just around the corner. It gets off to a familiar start with champions Bayern Munich hosting the curtain-raiser for the sixth consecutive year, but what is different going into the new campaign?
bundesliga.com explains a few new elements to look out for in 2018/19…
1) Greater clarity with Video-Assist
Last season saw the full introduction of Video Assistant Referee in the Bundesliga, and with it an increase in the number of correctly made key decisions by officials. One bone of contention, however, was the apparent lack of transparency for fans both at home and present inside the stadium.
This is set to be rectified in the coming season with the introduction of on-screen text explanations for every Video-Assist check. Video assistants may only intervene in four possible situations (goals, penalties, red cards or mistaken identity), and the nature of the check will be displayed on screen together with the final outcome by the on-field official for all viewers to see.
Watch: How Video Assist works!
A further new VAR feature in 2018/19 will be the use of a calibrated offside line. Previously seen at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the tool gives both the referee and spectators a clearer view of potential offside decisions.
2) A new star on the pitch
A fresh addition to the Bundesliga’s star line-up for the new season is the Derbystar ball. Or given its full name: the Derbystar Brillant APS. Boasting a classic black and white design so often associated with traditional balls, the new Derbystar also contains the distinctive red of the Bundesliga logo.
3) New technical help for coaches
It isn’t just the referees with more technology available to them this year as coaching staff will also have some new aids at their disposal. Eagle-eyed fans will see coaches sitting on the bench with headsets, and this is to allow communication between the staff on the touchline and one based in the stands. This method of communication is also intended to allow a faster diagnosis and relaying of information back to the coach in the event of an injury to a player.
Teams are also now allowed tablets in their coaching areas and to use these to access match data and tracking statistics. The number of devices available to teams is limited to three, and are intended purely for coaching and tactical purposes. There will be punishments for any team who triy to use these aids when discussing a refereeing decision with the officials.
4) New faces in the middle
Last season saw Bibiana Steinhaus become the first woman to take charge of a major European top flight when she oversaw Hertha Berlin’s draw with Werder Bremen on Matchday 3.
This campaign she has two new colleagues amongst the ranks of Bundesliga referees: Robert Schröder and Daniel Schlager join Fortuna Düsseldorf and Nuremberg in celebrating promotion from Bundesliga 2 for 2018/19. Their inclusion in the pool of officials takes the total of Bundesliga referees to 26, including 11 who are FIFA listed such as Felix Brych and Deniz Aytekin.