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Christian Dingert and Thomas Müller talk on the sidelines
Christian Dingert was alerted to the issue not long after it happenedImage: Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa/picture alliance

Bayern have 12 players on field in Freiburg win

April 2, 2022

Bayern Munich secured a comfortable win against Freiburg as full stadiums returned to the Bundesliga, but an error in the final few moments caused confusion and commotion on and off the field.


Usually, Bayern Munich wins are a chance to discuss great goals or how much better they are than every team in the country, but the headline of their 4-1 in Freiburg was about something very unusual.

In the 86th minute, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman were to be taken off for Marcel Sabitzer and Niklas Süle. Only Tolisso came off, though, leaving Bayern with 12 players for 17 seconds (according to Sky) before players alerted referee Christian Dingert to the issue. The game was paused for eight minutes, and heated conversations between Bayern officials and the referee took place before parity was restored. At the time, Bayern were winning 3-1.

Dingert says the issue resulted from a mistake by Bayern's team manager, Kathleen Krüger, who displayed the wrong player number on the electronic board. When Süle came on, number 29 (Kingsley Coman's old number) was on show instead of number 11 (Coman's current number), leaving the Frenchman unaware he was supposed to come off.

Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann acknowledged that it was a "bizarre situation" but said there were no decisive moments during that time. "It didn't change the game, so I don't think there's a question of fairness," Nagelsmann told Bild. "It's normal that fans will want to discuss it." 

Freiburg head coach Christian Streich said neither Freiburg nor Bayern should have anything to say and that the matter should be decided by the body of rules that all teams play under.

"I expect we will not have to appeal anything," Streich said. "We abide by these rules, and that is all I will say about it."

Expert's view

Referee expert Alex Feuerherdt posted on Twitter that, were the error to be put on the referee, the question would be how much it influenced the game. Given it was less than 20 seconds, Feuerherdt doesn't believe very much at all and so concludes that Freiburg's only chance of protesting would be against Bayern. However, Feuerherdt doesn't believe this is valid either as the error in this part of the rules falls under the jurisdiction of the referee, meaning Christian Dingert should not have restarted the game with Coman still on the field.

Dingert said he had made a note of it in his match report, but the decision now rested with the German Football Association. Freiburg have until Monday to lodge a protest, although one is not expected.

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