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VAR steals the show in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 loss to Leverkusen

Technology saves the day, but not for Bayern! Two critical calls stopped Leverkusen from being denied their just rewards.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Referee Tobias Stieler had himself a day in Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-1 victory over defending title holders Bayern Munich. He refereed the first half with a gentle touch, letting players play for the most part through some tough challenges.

In the second half, he seemed determined to give Leverkusen winger Amine Adli a yellow card. Twice Adli collapsed to the turf, apparently theatrically, in the Bayern box and twice Stieler waved Adli up while brandishing a card in his direction — only to be called to the sideline to watch it again.

On each occasion, a Bayern defender was determined to have initiated contact. First it was Benjamin Pavard, then Dayot Upamecano, caught taking down the speedy Adli in 4K.

“VAR was a life-saver for me today. I made the wrong call twice on the pitch, many thanks to Köln (VAR room) for their great support,” Stieler admitted afterward, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “Today was a perfect example of the good cooperation with the VAR.”

Adli gestured in exasperation at the referee each time, but was left with a wry smile and handshake after earning the just corrections. Extraordinary scenes, and not so fortunate for the visitors, who were pegged for two difference-making penalties in their defeat.

No complaints either, said Bayern captain Thomas Müller afterwards. “Of course, there was a foul. We don’t need to talk about the referee, we have other problems to deal with,” Müller said grimly (via @MiaSanMia).

Want more discussion about the game? Check out the post-game podcast! Samrin breaks down team selection, substitutions, big omissions for Bayern and Germany, and a look ahead at the Champions League tie against Manchester City. Listen below or on Spotify!

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