Referee Daniel Schlager confidently defended his decision against a possibly momentous penalty whistle. The referee calmly explained in front of the ARD camera why he had not awarded a possible penalty for VfB Stuttgart in injury time in the semifinals of the DFB Cup.

The Frankfurt defender involved in this scene undoubtedly got the ball on his upper arm, said Schlager. Before that, the ball was deflected by a Stuttgart player. “It wasn’t a punishable offense for me because it was a normal course of action for a defender,” said Schlager. It was by no means an intentional handball.

Due to the scope of the decision, he and video assistant Sören Storks decided to watch the scene again. “In the end I’m glad I saw the pictures and they confirmed my decision.”

The missed penalty for Stuttgart in the semifinals against Eintracht Frankfurt (2: 3) aroused emotions yesterday and fueled discussions about the interpretation of the handball rule and interventions by the video assistant. “It’s difficult for us to accept how it was decided,” said VfB coach Sebastian Hoeneß about the scene in injury time, in which the ball flew into the arm of Frankfurt’s Aurélio Buta in his own penalty area. It was a “difficult decision,” admitted Hoeneß. For him it was a punishable hand game.

Handball “fundamentally difficult”

“We were lucky there. You can whistle that differently,” admitted Frankfurt’s sporting director Markus Krösche. Since Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy had also touched the ball beforehand, it was difficult for Buta. “There was a penalty for less. But there were also situations with a clear handball and no penalty,” said Eintracht professional Mario Götze. It is “difficult to rate”.

Frankfurt’s coach Oliver Glasner praised the actions of the referees. “I think regardless of the decision, that’s how the scenario has to play out,” he said. If the ball is in hand, the VAR must intervene. “The referee should take the time to go out and look at it and judge it,” said Glasner. “The scenario has to be exactly the way that the VAR gets more acceptance again.” “Every coach, player or football fan can live with this procedure”.

Ex-national player Bastian Schweinsteiger said as an expert in the ARD TV broadcast: “I say that there are referees who give penalties. There are referees who don’t give it.” It’s “fundamentally difficult with this handball. If the ball is slightly deflected, then the defender can’t do much. If it’s not deflected, it’s his turn with the hand. Basically, it’s not a natural movement.”