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Freiburg v Mainz 05

Bundesliga referee praised after admitting Mainz goal should not have stood following botched VAR review

8:12 PM GMT+8 13/02/2022
Vincenzo Grifo, referee Deniz Aytekin, Freiburg vs Mainz 2021-22
Mainz were fortune to escape with a point from their latest Bundesliga outing after scoring a controversial opener

Bundesliga referee Deniz Aytekin has been praised after admitting that Mainz's goal against Freiburg should not have stood following a botched VAR review.

Mainz managed to stay in the hunt for European qualification by picking up a 1-1 draw at Schwarzwald-Stadion, while Freiburg missed the chance to move up to fourth.

The hosts scored through Nils Petersen in the 69th minute to cancel out Alexander Hack's controversial first-half opener, which was given despite replays showing that he was offside.

What happened?

Hack bundled the ball home after latching onto a free-kick at the back post, but his celebrations were cut short as Aytekin and his refereeing team checked VAR for a possible handball.

Replays showed that Hack did not handle the ball before prodding it into the net, but officials missed that he was quite clearly offside when the ball was initially headed into his path and the goal was allowed to stand.

What's been said?

Aytekin admitted to his mistake after the game, telling reporters: "It was offside and the goal shouldn't have counted.

"The video assistant had the focus on this handball. It slipped through... it's annoying but the goal shouldn't have counted."

The referee's comments were well received by Freiburg boss Christian Streich, who said he did the right thing by taking responsibility for the error.

"Mr Aytekin can't help it because he can't see it," he said. "I think it's good that he just apologised and stood up for his colleagues, so to speak. That's how you do it."

Hack added on the controversial nature of his goal: "You always think, it can't be that something like that happens, but you've made mistakes like that yourself and afterwards you can't explain why.

"Logically, you think they'd check for offside. But because the hand was checked, they forgot that. That's how it is."

Zwayer to return after Bellingham blast

Elsewhere in the world of German football officiating, Felix Zwayer is set to return to action in the second division after a two-month hiatus.

Zwayer has not taken charge of a competitive game since being accused of match-fixing by Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham in Bayern Munich's 3-2 Der Klassiker victory on December 4.

He will be back for Hannover's 2.Bundesliga clash with Darmstadt on Sunday afternoon alongside linesmen Marco Achmuller and Konrad Oldhafer and fourth official Daniel Riehl.

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