Bayern Munich won the first Der Klassiker (‘The Classic’) of the season, beating Borussia 3-2 after a fantastic clash in Dortmund.
Ballon d’Or runner-up Robert Lewandowski netted twice for the visitors and Dortmund’s goal machine Erling Haaland also got his name on the score sheet.
Borussia’s players were unhappy with referee Felix Zwayer, who awarded Bayern a penalty regarded as controversial by the Dortmund faithful, while also ignoring a challenge on Reus. Lewandowski converted from the spot in the 77th minute, as the German champions of the last nine years went on to win the encounter. Also, Bayern consolidated their leading place in the Bundesliga table and are now four points clear of Dortmund at the top.
Why did Zwayer award the penalty to Bayern?
Mats Hummels was judged to have handled the ball in the box, with Zwayer pointing towards the penalty spot after he watched the play on the pitchside monitor. VAR assistant Tobias Welz signaled the illegal charge from Hummels.
“It wasn’t a penalty, he (Hummels) wasn’t looking at the ball, he’s fighting to get it. It hits him,” Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham said after the match.
“You can look at a lot of the decisions in the game. You give a referee that has match-fixed before the biggest game in Germany, what do you expect?,” he then attacked Zwayer.
Bellingham refers to an incident from 2005, when the match official was banned for six months following a match-fixing scandal. The suspension was only revealed by the newspaper Die Zeit in 2014.
Erling Haaland was also highly critical of Zwayer, saying “it was a scandal when it comes to him”,
“There was clear penalty [on Marco Reus]. I asked ‘why didn’t you just go and look [at the screen]?’, he said ‘there’s no need’, like an arrogant…no, I have to calm down a little bit now,” Haaland said.
“He was arrogant and I will not say more,” the Norwegian pointed at Zwayer.
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) December 4, 2021
Criminal charges against Bellingham
In a rare event of this kind, Zwayer went live on Bundesliga TV after the match to motivate his decisions. Usually, refs are not allowed to make any sort of comment regarding their decisions.
Bellingham risks a hefty fine and even a suspension for his words. More important than that, referee observer Marco Haase filed a criminal complaint against Bellingham and another referee, Manuel Gräfe.
Anton Nachreiner, the chairman of the DFB control committee, told BILD: “The control committee will examine the statement of the Dortmund player Jude Bellingham for their relevance to sports criminal law.”
Insult, gossip and defamation are criminal offenses under German law. Marco Haase’s complaint also includes Manuel Gräfe’s name. Gräfe said in the past about Zwayer: “Anyone who has ever accepted money and kept manipulation secret for six months should not whistle in professional football.”
Haase believes Bellingham could not have found out about Zwayer’s problem from the past if it weren’t for Gräfe’s statements.