‘Collina heirs’ satisfied: Hertha lose – and praise referee Ittrich

The “heirs of Collina” are satisfied
Hertha loses – and praises referee Ittrich

By Alex Feuerherdt

In Berlin, the referee has to make several close and difficult decisions in a very important emotional game for the hosts. But he does this job with a lot of sovereignty. Even from Hertha, who lost the match, there is praise afterwards.

In his 62 appearances as a referee in the Bundesliga so far, Patrick Ittrich has undoubtedly led less hectic and easier games than Saturday night’s match at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium between Hertha BSC and 1. FSV Mainz 05 (1-2). The 43-year-old, whose main job is a police officer, had to assess a whole series of delicate scenes in this game with his assistants on the pitch and in the video center in Cologne. And that in front of more than 70,000 spectators in a match of vital importance, especially for the hosts threatened with relegation. An analysis of the most important decisions in chronological order.

35 mins: Mainz’s Anton Stach shoots from 22 yards as the score is 1-0 for his team, the ball hits the bottom right corner of Hertha’s goal from his vantage point. But the cheers from the guests were short-lived, as assistant referee Sascha Thielert raised the flag: Leandro Borreiro was offside when the shot on goal was taken and thus influenced Berlin goalkeeper Marcel Lotka in his ability to play the ball, according to Thielert. verdict, dem joined Ittrich. So the hit doesn’t count.

An eagle-eyed wizard

Above all, the repetition from behind the goal shows that the decision was the right one. Barreiro was in an offside position a few yards from Lotka, covered the keeper’s sight on the ball for a brief but decisive moment and also made an evasive move away from the ball. So, to put it in the language of the rules, he clearly became active and therefore weakened the home team’s goalkeeper, who also reacted with a noticeable delay and had no chance of regaining the ball.

From the assistant’s perspective, it is difficult to assess whether the goalkeeper’s line of sight is blocked and to what extent a player’s offside movement actually affects it. Goals like Mainz’s are often given first and only canceled after VAR intervention and an on-field review. But Thielert is one of the best in his field and not only has the experience of 360 games as an assistant in the first two German leagues, but also a very good feeling for game situations, especially in case offside. His success rate is therefore high, even when he makes difficult decisions.

Sanction authorized for Hertha

45+1 Minute: Berlin’s Martin Dardai kicks the ball past the Mainz goal with a corner kick, several players go for the ball, the guests clarify the situation. However, Hertha captain Dedryck Boyata falls to the ground and stands on his left foot with a pained face. The commotion in front of Mainz’s goal was confusing, but a review of the scene by video assistant Tobias Welz shed light on the reason for Boyata’s pain: Moussa Niakhate had put his foot on his opponent’s left heel, that’s why Boyata didn’t come to the header either.

Referee Ittrich, who couldn’t see the kick on the pitch, looks again at the footage on the monitor in the review area, then acknowledges a penalty kick. Rightly so, because even if it was not an intentional action by Niakhate, it was a foul that prevented Boyata from approaching the ball near the goal. Mainz coach Bo Svensson, who protests vehemently, first gets an explanation for Ittrich’s decision on the sidelines, then he is warned. This is the coach’s seventh yellow card this season. Davie Selke converted the penalty 1:1.

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Bo Svensson (right) sees the yellow card again.

(Photo: IMAGO/Matthias Koch)

52 mins: For the second time that evening, a Mainz goal was canceled. Karim Onisiwo came out on top against Marc-Oliver Kempf in the hosts’ penalty area and fired the ball into the goal, but before that he briefly touched the ball with his left hand and right arm in a duel. Whether it’s intentional or not, it doesn’t matter if the player in question scores immediately afterwards – that’s what the rules say. Referee Ittrich has a clear view of the situation and immediately sees the handballs, which are not easy to recognize. He doesn’t need the help of VAR to disallow the goal.

Tousart is lucky, Selke is unfairly shocked

72 mins: After a cross into the Hertha penalty area, there is a header duel between Lucas Tousart from Berlin and Stefan Bell from Mainz. Tousart hits the opponent behind him with his left arm to the face while jumping for the ball. Both players miss the ball, which Mainz’s Jonathan Burkardt picks up instead and heads into the arms of goalkeeper Lotka. Ittrich lets play continue, Bell stays where he is and will be dealt with at the next break.

On the recommendation of VAR Tobias Welz, there was an on-pitch review for the second time that evening, but Ittrich then stuck to his decision not to award Mainz a penalty. This decision is supported by the fact that Tousart was in a natural movement to gain momentum, only oriented towards the ball and did not make any swinging movement; on the other hand speaks that there was a free kick in the face of Bell. All in all, the decision not to give a penalty is always justifiable when you weigh it.

90+1 Minute: Also in injury time – Mainz now leads 2-1 – the impartial is challenged again. After a wide cross from the left into the visitors’ penalty area, Davie Selke heads the ball into the goal from seven yards out, but Patrick Ittrich whistles to stop play before the ball crosses the goal line. Selke used both arms to create the necessary space against Aaron in front of the head and pushed the Mainzer. The referee also signals the horrified Hertha player with gestures, so he makes his decision transparent.

Praise from the referee, even from the loser

Selke himself said in an interview with Sky after the game: “If it’s a foul, then a centre-forward scores eight fewer goals a year.” Hertha manager Fredi Bobic, on the other hand, who was active in attack when he was a player, sided with Ittrich. “As a striker, you are not allowed to attack with two hands, you can also whistle the free kick,” he said. Ittrich himself reiterates his decision in the Sky interview and points out that fouls like bumping and holding are often sharper in real speed on the pitch than in TV slow motion, which skews the dynamic.

The decision to call Selke’s use of the arm illegal is correct or at least justifiable, even though Aaron fell more dramatically than necessary. Because the whistle sounded before the ball entered the goal, VAR was no longer allowed to intervene – but presumably they wouldn’t have done so anyway as the decision did not was certainly unclear and obviously wrong.

Patrick Ittrich finally decided correctly in all difficult and match-relevant situations, which Fredi Bobic also saw, who praised the referee despite the defeat: “What he whistled was always right. ” In addition, the referee, who belongs to the Hamburg club Mümmelmannsberger SV, once again played on his great strength: the communicative transmission of decisions, including and above all controversial ones. Even in emotional situations, he did so with sovereignty. And so Davie Selke said, in all his fury, about his goal being canceled, “I really like Patrick.”

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