Bizarre penalty helps Mainz in Bundesliga relegation battle

Bizarre penalty helps Mainz in Bundesliga relegation battle

Both sets of players had already left the pitch for the interval when the technology flagged up a handball at the end of the first period, reports Guardian football journalist Andy Brassell on social media.

It came just before the break when Pablo De Blasis converted from the penalty spot to give the hosts a halftime lead - but that was only half the story.

Referee Guido Winkmann ignored the appeals, blew for half time and made his way towards the tunnel along with both sets of players.

The penalty was given for a handball by Marc-Oliver Kempf that the VAR noticed after the halftime whistle had blown.

Mainz and Freiburg are 15th and 16th in the table respectively so the decision carried added weight in a relegation six-pointer. One Freiburg player could even be heard saying: "No, we're not coming back out". The Mainz forward then picked out his teammate De Blasis who slotted home - luckily off the post.

When the game was eventually restarted Mainz doubled their lead in the 78th minute after a shocking error from the visiting keeper, who gifted the hoists the second and final goal of the game.

The game itself may have been otherwise unremarkable, but that didn't stop the fans from creating a spectacle of their own as they continued to display their displeasure with Monday night games.

The game kicked off and, for 45 minutes, not a great deal happened.

The man in the middle then received a call from his video assistant, instructing him to check the incident.

Supporters also forced the game to be paused by throwing rolls of toilet paper on to the pitch as a protest against the Bundesliga's introduction of matches on Monday nights.

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