After what was probably his strangest assignment as a referee, Tobias Stieler was torn. “The referee soul cries a little, but I think the football world can be satisfied,” said the 41-year-old, who caused a curiosity in Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-1 home win over FC Bayern Munich on Sunday had.

After actions by Bayern defenders Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano, Stieler gave the fouled Amine Adli a yellow card for supposed swallows. Both times he took the card back after studying the video, both times he apologized to Adli – and both times he pointed to the point belatedly. The Argentinian Exequiel Palacios converted the two penalties (56th/73rd minute) and thus ensured the deserved victory for Leverkusen.

“Today was a prime example of perfect collaboration with the video assistant,” said Stieler. The video assistant referee (VAR) was Sören Storks, who Stieler described as a “lifesaver” both for himself and for the game. “Twice on the field next to it, twice many thanks to Cologne in the basement for the great support,” said the main referee, who didn’t get any criticism from Bayern either. “Both teams were happy because the right decision was made – and that counts.”

The Leverkusener Adli was not resentful either – quite the opposite. “We hugged each other, both during and after the game,” revealed Stieler: “He also promised me the jersey. Let’s see if it goes down.”

Information about the game at