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Relegation: Düsseldorf’s memory of penalty spot theft

Relegation: Düsseldorf’s memory of penalty spot theft

Pitch invasion while the game was still in progress: The last Bundesliga relegation match in Düsseldorf ended chaotically. A year later, the whole thing was a joke in London.

Hans E. Lorenz still has the turbulent images of the stolen penalty spot vividly in his mind. In injury time of the Bundesliga relegation match between Fortuna Düsseldorf and Hertha BSC, there were only two minutes of playing time left when the football field was quickly transformed into a hidden object scene after a pitch invasion.

“And now the fans are on the field. It’s not over yet, ladies and gentlemen. This is absolute madness here. Words fail me,” commented ARD reporter Tom Bartels on May 15, 2012. And Lorenz, as presiding judge of the DFB sports court, was later allowed to negotiate how this “madness” at the end of the 2:2 draw should be assessed.

“The longest suspension of my term in office”

“The memories are still relatively vivid because it was certainly an unusual procedure,” the 73-year-old told the German Press Agency. After Düsseldorf fans, who were already celebrating promotion, stormed the pitch shortly before the end, it was unclear whether the game could be completed. One particularly euphoric supporter even stole the penalty spot and was later banned from the stadium. It was the last Bundesliga relegation match in Düsseldorf until the home game against VfL Bochum this Monday (8.30 p.m./Sat.1 and Sky).

After a long break, the match was played to its final conclusion. Afterwards, there were unpleasant scenes in the dressing room corridor; referee Wolfgang Stark was hit by Hertha professional Levan Kobiashvili. Kobiashvili was suspended for seven and a half months – “the longest suspension of my time in office,” as Lorenz remembers.

Jokes at the Champions League final

“Hertha BSC has lodged an appeal against the decision. We negotiated the case over two days because the evidence took seven hours. We negotiated on Friday and announced the verdict on Monday,” said Lorenz. He referred to the factual decision made by referee Stark. Hertha then appealed to the Federal Court, but failed there too.

In his usual humorous manner, Lorenz recalls an anecdote that occurred a year later. Düsseldorf had since been relegated, Hertha was back in the Bundesliga. Lorenz met Michael Preetz at the German Champions League final in London. “I congratulated him,” said the judge about the conversation with the Hertha official. Preetz simply replied casually: “But you still won’t be an honorary member of our team.”

Source: Stern

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