Hoffenheim lose ‘ghost goal’ appeal

Hoffenheim lost its bid for a replay of a Bundesliga match won by Bayer Leverkusen with a goal that shouldn’t have been allowed.

Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling was awarded the goal by referee Felix Brych in last weekend’s game when his header hit went just wide of the post and rolled into the goal through a hole in the net.

At the level of park football this kind of thing does occasionally occur, but one would have thought that measures were in place to prevent such incidents occurring in the Budesliga, which, lest we forget, is the world’s best supported league. Apparently not.

A German football federation tribunal ruled that Brych didn’t breach any rules in making his decision and let Leverkusen’s 2-1 win stand.

“The decision may be unsatisfactory from a sporting point of view, but it corresponds to the rules and the laws,” judge Hans E. Lorenz said.

Hoffenheim director of professional football, Alexander Rosen, said they were “of course disappointed” by the ruling and will review the decision “calmly” before making a decision over a second appeal.

Brych told Monday’s hearing that he thought the ball was going wide, lost sight of the ball, and “then I saw the ball was in the goal.”

Kiessling said that he initially thought Hoffenheim goalkeeper Koen Casteels had scored an own goal.

He told the tribunal that he saw the ball heading toward the side-netting, but his view was blocked. “I didn’t see the impact, but (did see) that the ball was then in the goal,” he said.

To be fair to the referee, not one of the Hoffenheim defenders complains about the decision. In fact, the only person who appears unsure about the legitimacy of the goal is the goalscorer himself.