Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his 21st league goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 1-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday after the referee made Bundesliga history by briefly stopping play when the home coach refused to go to the stands.
Confusion reigned for nine second-half minutes at Leverkusen’s BayArena when Bayer coach Roger Schmidt refused match official Felix Zwayer’s order to leave the sidelines which led to the game being halted.
Schmidt can expect heavy sanctions from the German FA (DFB), but later apologised for his behaviour.
“I was too stubborn and reacted emotionally, so in that regards, I let my team down,” Schmidt said more than an hour after the game.
The 48-year-old was furious that Dortmund were allowed to take a quick free kick in the build up to Aubameyang’s 64th-minute winner and stood his ground.
The controversy was triggered when Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling pushed over Dortmund’s Sven Bender in the Borussia half.
Zwayer awarded a free kick, which Matthias Ginter quickly took.
The move swept down field and Germany defender Erik Durm’s pass pulled the Leverkusen defence to create space for Aubameyang to hit the winner.
Schmidt furiously protested that the game should have been stopped for the free-kick to be taken while Kiessling tried to argue his coach’s case to the ref.
When Schmidt refused Zwayer’s demand that he went to the stands, the Berlin official marched the teams off.
“We went behind to an irregular goal. I pointed it out to the fourth official,” explained Schmidt.
“It was certainly a mistake on my part. However, I wish the referee had explained to me just once why I had to go to the stands.”
When play eventually resumed, Schmidt watched the rest of the game in the Leverkusen dressing room.
It was the first time in Bundesliga history that a game has been stopped under such circumstances.
“I can empathize with Roger, but better he took that position than I did,” said Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.
“Emotions can sometimes boil over, but on this occasion it was a little too much.”
Leverkusen’s star striker Javier Hernandez later wasted a golden chance in added time to equalise by firing over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Later Schalke were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Stuttgart while South Korea’s Koo Ja-Cheol scored for Augsburg in their 1-0 win at bottom side Hanover, who have lost their last eight games.
Dortmund’s controversial victory leaves them eight ponts behind leaders Bayern Munich who beat Darmstadt 3-1 at home on Saturday.
Thomas Mueller netted twice to dig Bayern out of trouble in their last match before their Champions League clash at Juventus before Robert Lewandowski added their third goal.
Against the run of play, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern went behind when Darmstadt’s Munich-born striker Sandro Wagner headed home midway through the first half.
But Bayern were back level four minutes into the second half when Mueller slammed his shot into the right-hand corner.
He added a superb second by chesting down Arturo Vidal’s cross and hitting a bicycle kick into Darmstadt’s net on 71 minutes.
Lewandowski added the third on 84 minutes for his 22nd goal of the season in 21 league games to leave him as the league’s top scorer.
Fresh from their 3-2 Champions League win at Gent in midweek, Wolfsburg picked up a point in the capital with a 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin.
Wolves took the lead at the Olympic Stadium when Marcel Schaefer converted Vieirinha’s cross on 53 minutes, but Salomon Kalou levelled on the hour mark.
Julian Nagelsmann, the Bundesliga’s youngest ever coach at 28, steered Hoffenheim to only their third win of the season on just his second match in charge with a 3-2 victory at home to Mainz.
Hoffenheim remain 17th, but are now only three points from safety after Werder Bremen, who are 16th, lost 2-0 at Ingolstadt.
Borussia Moenchengladbach are sixth after their 1-0 win over Mainz thanks to Mahmoud Dahoud’s first-half goal.