By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
VfB Stuttgart trainer Bruno Labbadia and his back-up keeper Fabian Bredlow were both in the mood to gripe about VAR following their latest defeat.
|Bruno Labbadia.||Photo: RudolfSimon, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Forced in the XI after regular starting keeper Florian Müller had to miss out due to a stomach bug, VfB Stuttgart back-up net-minder Fabian Bredlow immediately found himself facing two penalty kicks from the spot on Saturday. Against what are known to be uneven odds, Bredlow couldn’t prevent Vincenzo Grifo from scoring on either one. As a result, SC Freiburg pulled out a 2-1 victory.
In both cases, match official Sascha Stegemann initially let play run. It was the Bundesliga’s famed “nerve-center” in Köln that alerted him to the fouls in the box from Stuttgart defender Dan-Axel Zagadou, both on SCF striker Michael Gregoritch in the 57th and Freiburg attacker Ritsu Doan in the 80th. Germany’s “Kölner Keller” effectively swing the match.
“Freiburg won because they got two penalties,” Bredlow griped to the Sky mics afterwards, “[the second one] had very little in it from my perspective and didn’t look like a clear penalty. I’m not a referee, but it remains bitter.”
Not all Stuttgart actors wished to chalk the latest loss up to solely the officiating. Goal-scorer Chris Führich took responsibility for missing a chance to put his team back ahead with a clear chance in front of goal in the 70th. VfB trainer Bruno Labbadia also noted, again, that his team’s decision making in the final third simply wasn’t good enough.
Labbadia initially said that he didn’t wish to discuss the penalties. As he let his opinions on the match flow, however, it appeared as if the 57-year-old wasn’t ultimately going to be able to restrain himself.
“VAR was supposed to reverse blatantly wrong decisions,” Labbadia noted, “You shouldn’t be taking the referees out of the equation entirely. By taking their clear decisions out of the game, you delegitimize the refs. They must make their own decisions.”
“I find it untenable that the ‘Keller’ [the Köln cellar] intervenes there,” he continued, “Then we need ten minutes to make a decision. I could pick out 20 or 30 instances in a game that could be second-guessed for fouls.”
“In 20 years [of coaching], I’ve never lost a game by two penalties,” Labbadia concluded, “You always get screwed. I remain a total opponent of VAR. It’s ruining football.”