Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling was given a very generous gift by the match officials when he was awarded a goal against Hoffenheim for a header that somehow squirted through the side netting and ended up inside the goal. But after further reflection, he's decided it's a gift he doesn't want.
In the moment, the 29-year-old striker seemed confused by the decision which put Leverkusen up 2-0 in the 70th minute. The ball was clearly wide of the post and something obviously went wrong. But he didn't argue and just went with it. Hoffenheim ended up scoring in the 88th minute, which meant Kiessling's ghost goal was the difference between a loss and a draw for Hoffenheim.
Regardless of the score, the fact that a goal could be awarded in one of the world's top leagues for something that was so clearly not a goal was bound to cause controversy. In fact, it was so bad that Kiessling decided to apologize even though he wasn't the one who made the ruling.
Said Kiessling on Facebook (via Bild):
Dear fans, friends and all who write to me straight.
I can understand the reactions of many of you one hundred percent and am myself quite upset. According to the replays on TV I see it so clearly: it was not a regular goal. In the game I did not exactly see in my header and the turning of the head, whether the ball went into the goal correctly or not. Somehow the ball was in the goal. Exactly what I told the referee. I'm sorry for all sports fans and the course of the game. To win like so of course is not good. Fairness is important for the sport in our club and for me personally.
As advanced and forward thinking as the Bundesliga is, they have decided not to implement goal line technology until July 2015 while the Premier League and others already have it in place. FIFA will even be using a German made system at the 2014 World Cup. Perhaps this incident will prompt the Bundesliga to speed up the process. Or at least subject match officials to pre-match eye tests.
In the meantime, the league could still take action. A match in 1994 was replayed when Bayern Munich benefitted from a similar "goal" against Nuremberg in 1994.
UPDATE: Hoffenheim will protest the decision and, citing that precedent in 1994, they want a replay. From the BBC:
Hoffenheim managing director Alexander Rosen said: "It's a scandal.
"That was no goal, there are no two ways about it. We are definitely going to protest." [...]
Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol said: "It's definitely bitter for us and something like this has already happened once, and that game was replayed so I think we're going to see this game again.
"Anything else would be a joke. You can't replay a Bayern Munich game, but not a Hoffenheim game."
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