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Willenborg explains decision to wave off penalty: "For me, that was just a graze"

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

DFB Schiedsrichter Frank Willenborg has weighed in on his decision to take back a penalty call that might have swung Eintracht Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Hertha BSC.
DFB Schiri Frank Willenborg
DFB Schiri Frank WillenborgNorthside CC-BY-SA 3.0
Speaking to the Sky microphones after working the Eintracht-Hertha match, DFB match official Frank Willenborg explained why he opted to reverse his call that would have awarded Frankfurt a penalty in second-half injury time. For the 43-year-old, a review of Hertha keeper Oliver Christiansen's light tug on Rafael Santos Borré's foot led him to the conclusion that the contact was simply too inconsequential.


"From my vantage point on the pitch was that the goalkeeper was pulling the player's foot away," Willenborg explained afterwards, "At first it seemed to be a clear thing. After reviewing the images, the contact wasn't related to the player's fall. For me, it was just a graze."

"It's important to me that, in the end, the proper call is made," Willenborg continued, "That's why I took the time to evaluate it properly. I didn't want to miss out on seeing it from the proper angle. The decision also fit the game management. I was liberal with the whistle and let the game run its course. I didn't want to decide the game."

SGE trainer Oliver Glasner obviously took a different view. There was a fair amount of protest around the Frankfurt dugout after Willenborg waved off the spot kick. After revealing that he had spoken to Willenborg afterwards, Glasner registered his dissent.

"He [Willenborg] told me that he didn't want to give a soft penalty," Glasner noted, "I thought it was a clear penalty. The referee made a mistake, just as players make mistakes. We're not exactly happy, but have to accept it."


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