Bayer Leverkusen – Borussia Dortmund Match Suspended by Referee

When Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt refused to abandon his touchline coaching area Sunday after being instructed by Felix Zwayer, the referee and his officiating crew abandoned BayArena’s player surface, temporarily suspending the Bayern Leverkusen-Borussia Dortmund match.

Schmidt was ejected from the match for “unsporting conduct” following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 64th-minute goal. Zwayer motioned to Schmidt from a few dozen meters away for Leverkusen that he leave the sideline, pointing to the seating area behind the benches where ejected coaches traditionally move to view the remainder of matches from which they’ve been excused.

Schmidt responded by shaking his head and pointing to the ground in front of him, seeming to indicate he wanted Zwayer to come to him, presumably to discuss the ejection and likely also to argue about the foul and quick restart that preceded Dortmund’s counterattack that led to Aubameyang finishing the match-winner easily with a simple tap of the ball into an empty goal.

Rather than go to Schmidt, however, Zwayer spoke with Stefan Kießling, instructing the Leverkusen captain to again deliver to his coach the official directive to vacate the sideline area.

Zwayer explained after the match that he thought it best to not approach the coach, considering the intensity of the series of events that led to the goal and to the objections from the Leverkusen bench that earned Schmidt the objection in the first place.

“I considered it to be appropriate in this situation to maintain my distance,” said Zwayer.


Felix Zwayer taking his crew off the pitch.
Felix Zwayer taking his crew off the pitch.

After hearing what Kießling had to say, Schmidt gave a quick shrug and appeared to say, “Then he should suspend (the match),” as the lead-in to his response back to Zwayer (Note: I’ve watched this segment a few dozen times with volume very high and cannot be 100% certain that’s what was said, but I’m fairly confident). After a quick exchange with Kießling, Zwayer paused only momentarily before blowing his whistle and signalling for the rest of the officiating crew to join him in departing the pitch.

Eventually, the players and team personnel also made their way to the tunnel leading beneath the stands to wait out what ended up being a nine-minute delay before play resumed, with Schmidt staying behind when his club returned to the pitch.

“I would have liked to have known why he wanted to send me to the stands,” said Schmidt after the match. “I tried to find that out and speak to him, but it wasn’t happening. I just wanted a reason.”

Schmidt continued. ” It was maybe a bit stubborn of me, but when the referee wants to send a coach to the stands, it’s not really very helpful,” he said.

“Maybe it was wrong of me and I’m sorry. I am in a position where people look up to me and I did not do that justice.

“But in all the hectic emotion, you sometimes do get carried away.”


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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.