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20:45 CET - Camp Nou, Barcelona (Champions League Quarterfinal, 1st Leg)
The 3rd Team-Mark:
Performance Review: ... (Title summarizing the performance)
The German Referee team around Felix Brych faced an absolutely challenging evening in a sold-out Camp Nou. The Spanish derby between Barcelona and Atletico was – as expected – a very intense and hard-fought game with a lot of reckless tackles and unsporting behaviour. The referee’s disciplinary control (10x YC, 1x 2nd YC) reflects this impression.
Felix Brych was very consistent, especially concerning the punishment of reckless fouls. His 2nd YC for ATL#9 after only 34 minutes underlines his strict approach. Due the intense and unfair game character and a lot of crucial situations (also inside the penalty area) it was definitely a very challenging game for the German who generally did a good job, characterized by his consistent line, a strong body language and a good player’s management in the most of the many crucial situations.
He had the match control and all in all also the player’s acceptance during the whole evening but anyway there was the one or the other questionable situation as well as the one or the other point for improvement we have to discuss in the following
Important Situations > Video
Let's focus on 4 situations.
1| 34’ violent conduct by BAR#9 – missing RC
The ball is already far away when BAR#9 and ATL#20 become embroiled in a tackle, finished with a clear kick by BAR#9 on his opponent’s leg. The referee and the involved AAR1 Bastian Dankert probably did not see this violent kick why I can understand their decision to play-on. Probably it would be not very deescalating for the rest of the game but finally the referee has to apply the Laws of the Game and according to them it is a clear violent conduct and so on a necessary red card. Anyway one has to be fair and must say that the referee did not have any chances to detect this violent conduct as the referee (correctly) focussed on the ball which was already some meters away. All the more I hoped for the support by AAR1 who was admittedly some meters way but anyway he should keep his focus on that duel – to be honest, that violent conduct was not completely unexpected regarding the involved players and the game character in this phase of the game. Conclusion: Crucial mistake by AAR1, no chances to detect for the referee.
2| 35’ reckless foul by ATL#9 – correct 2nd YC
Felix Brych correctly cautions ATL#9 for a reckless foul in the 29th minute, some minutes later he commits his second reckless foul. The referee is consistent in his line and sends him off. According to the Laws of the Game an absolutely correct and brave decision.
3| 38’ foul by BAR#5 – missing YC
The first tough tackle by a BAR player during this very intense phase of the game (25’ – 45’) with a lot of discontent by ATL: BAR#5 commits a sliding tackle against ATL#7 what ends in a foul on the boundary to reckless. Felix Brych does not book BAR#5 what is incomprehensible for me.
In my opinion it is a reckless tackle but I can still accept to judge it as careless – but regarding the last few minutes including three cautions for ATL, one of them very controversial, it would be nothing but wise to caution this incident, too. Strictly according to the Laws of the Game it is not absolutely necessary, but concerning a wise tactical approach and a balanced disciplinary control all the more.
78’ reckless foul by ATL#19 – correct YC
ATL#19 commits a reckless foul what is at the same time the stop of a promising attack. Complaints concerning a red card for serious foul play or DOGSO are unduly, the YC issued by the referee is correct and enough in this situation (no clear scoring opportunity, no excessive force).
1. Evaluation of situations inside the penalty area
There were a lot of crucial situations inside the penalty area, concretely there were five penalty appeals by BAR. Brych decided in all these five situations (28’ concerning handball, 51’, 76’, 85’ and 93’ concerning a possible foul) to let the game flow and in all these five situations this was absolutely correct. The situation in 85’ (tackle on BAR#10) was probably the most difficult one as there was a clear physical contact but Felix Brych decided absolutely correct and suitable to his generous line in what is foul and what is no foul during the rest of the game.
2. Evaluation of reckless tackles, specially the illegal use of arms
Another positive point this evening was his differentiation between careless and reckless tackles. A lot of correct cautions for reckless fouls were the consequence. I want to stress especially the cautions issued in 48’ and 70’, both for the illegal and reckless use of arms. This was a clear point for improvement > in his last Spanish derby 2014, this evening he had absolutely no problems concerning this, the caution in the 48th minute after an air tackle was exemplary solved. The crucial situation in the 70th minute (again BAR#9 was in thick of things) was very well evaluated in co-operation with AAR2 Marco Fritz – not only a good decision, also excellent teamwork!
3. Personality, approach, body language
Felix Brych showed a great personality this evening, including a strict but consistent approach, a clear line and a strong body language. This approach was very important in such an intensive and difficult game and finally it was also the probably most important reason why he had the match control and the actor’s acceptance most of the time. His player’s management as well as his communication (sometimes even a little bit too offensive) were positive points too and round this picture out. Brych proved to be a referee for ‘big’ games.
Points for Improvement
1. Tactical approach
On the one hand the German applied a good and wise tactical approach (e.g. 7’, 19’, 40’) but on the other hand there were also some situations he could handle better. Especially the 38th minute showed a clear point for improvement concerning his tactical approach – a caution would not be only correct but rather very wise and important for his match control. Similar situations occurred in the 29th minute as well as in the 95th minute. In both situations the referee waited after a clear foul very long and hoped for an advantage what was not really promising in these situations. In both cases there were probably no chances for an advantage decision, especially in the 29th minute a faster whistle after the first foul (holding) would be wiser and could prevent the first YC for ATL#9 immediately after. Same counts for the delayed whistle in the 95th minute: Was there really a chance for a team-benefit bigger than a free-kick? Such situations only can end negative (for example with a YC as in 29’).
2. Self-presentation: Whistle language, card presentation
This is not really a new point for Felix Brych, all the more it is disappointing that we have to mention it as a point for improvement again. The German has some deficits in his card presentation and his whistle language. Especially his presentation of the first three issued disciplinary cards (29’, 33’, 35’) was all but not satisfying – on the one hand he should give his whistle out of his mouth while showing a card (don’t forget: it is a possibility for communication too!), on the other hand there were clear lacks in the identification of the cautioned players. Especially the 2nd YC in 35’ was showed to two other ATL players but not to ATL#9 who stood about 5-8 meters away. Furthermore he should reduce unnecessary whistles, for example at his card presentation in 33’.
3. Co-operation with his teammates
Generally the co-operation of the German referee team was really positive (especially at two cautions in 61’ and 70’), anyway the missed violent conduct in the 34th minute showed again an important room for improvement: As already to observe in Brych’s > last UCL game in London nobody of the team had eyes on a duel some meters away from the ball.
While it was “only” a missed YC some weeks ago it is a missed RC this time. I can understand that the referee could miss it, all the more AAR1 Dankert should have an eye on it. The solution of such situations will be a very important part of their preparation for EURO 2016!
Performance of the Referee's Teammates
AR1 Mark Borsch: Generally a good performance and an alert support. Unfortunately a wrong offside decision in 37’ – even if it was difficult due the movement of the players such a mistake should not happen. Good positioning and movement, positive co-operation with the referee. Despite his mistake a strong performance on the expected level.
AR2 Stefan Lupp: A good and faultless performance on the expected level. Good offside decisions (e.g. 48’), good support, also in the disciplinary sector (61’). Positioning and movement positive as well.
Additional Assistant Referees:
AAR1 Bastian Dankert: Generally a concentrated performance but unfortunately with a crucial mistake in 34’ (missing RC/BAR#9). Even if he had a quite far distance to spot, he must support the referee in such situations. Otherwise on the expected level.
AAR2 Marco Fritz: A very alert and concentrated performance. Excellent co-operation with the referee in 70’ (correct caution for BAR#9 who used his arms in a reckless manner) – well done!
Marco Achmüller: Very calm and deescalating. Anyway it seemed that he did not have a great acceptance by both coaches who left their coaching-zone very (!) often (e.g. 84’ both coaches clearly outside and 4th does nothing, 94’ ATL coach nearly enters the field and 4th does nothing). I liked his calm approach but more severity would be good in some situations. This evening he was simply unsuccessful with his calm appearance.
A very challenging evening for Felix Brych who left a very good impression. Unfortunately a crucial mistake by AAR1, who was the only with some chances to see the mentioned violent conduct by BAR#9, tarnished the otherwise excellent performance by the German referee team a little bit. Felix Brych had nevertheless an impressive control of this Spanish derby, especially thanks to his faultless application of the Laws of the Game (especially inside the penalty area) and great personality skills. Some important points for improvement should be revised until EURO 2016 anyway.
His mark reflects a very good performance over the expected level in a very challenging game – starting from 8.7 due the game character, his match control and correct decisions inside the penalty area the mark is reduced by a missing caution and some further mentioned points for improvement. The general impression is nevertheless a really, really positive one. Congratulations!
Conclusion & Evaluation (Marks and Difficulty)
Assistant Referee 1
Assistant Referee 2
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Additional Assistant Referee 2
The 3rd Team Observer
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