Bayern Munich beat Hannover 3-1 on Saturday in matchday 24 of the Bundesliga, but the game turned on a controversial decision. Jonathan Harding doesn't think it's the first time it's happened though.
'Bayern drop points in draw at Hannover' should have been the headline. Granted, Pep Guardiola's team probably would have gone on and won as expected, but the game turned on a decision that should never have been made.
Picture this. A cross comes in and Robert Lewandowski stoops low to try head the ball home. In fact, the Polish striker stoops so low that his head is in a dangerous area and Marcelo's foot connects with it. Should the play have been stopped? Yes, a head injury warrants immediate attention. Was it a penalty? No. Unless a low head is as punishable as a high foot?
"We were actually very good, that's what frustrates me. I'm fine with being shot down 5-0 by Bayern," were the words of a friend after his beloved Hannover lost. It's a sentiment that isn't echoed every weekend, but one that is voiced far too often for the Bundesliga's health.
I'm not disputing Bayern's quality, Thomas Müller's penalty and header were worthy of winning any game. The champions rarely need to come out of third gear to win domestically. What frightens me is the monstrous amount of fear that the club exudes, a power so great that hope is squashed before it is even considered.
An hour gone at home against Bayern and you're playing some of the best football of your season. You've digested the fact that the free kick Xabi Alonso equalized from was expertly taken, but should never have been awarded. You've put your bad form behind you and you're desperate to reward your under-pressure manager for all of his efforts in recent weeks. You're believing.
Ah. What was that you said? Belief? We'll have none of that here please.
Decisions sometimes go your way and sometimes they don't, particularly in football. However, Bayern have been given so much benefit of the doubt this season they could hold a gala. Sometimes the decisions don't change the game the way they did this weekend, but directly influencing or not, they nibble away at the opposition, the fans and the league's reputation. Honestly, does the Bundesliga really need another reason to make their league harder to sell?