Lothar Matthaus DEFENDS Jude Bellingham after his astonishing attack on referee Felix Zwayer as German legend asks who at Borussia Dortmund told the England star about a match-fixing scandal that happened when he was still a baby
Lothar Matthaus has defended Jude Bellingham after controversial comments the England midfielder made about referee Felix Zwayer.
Angered by two contentious penalty decisions that went against Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich, Bellingham referenced Zwayer’s involvement in a match-fixing scandal during a post-match interview.
Bellingham’s comments are being investigated by German police after a criminal complaint was filed and he could also face a ban from playing.
Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham referenced Zwayer’s previous ban for match-fixing in a post-match interview following his side’s defeat
Bellingham referenced the scandal in 2005 when Zwayer (right) accepted a €300 (£256) bribe from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer (left)
Bellingham appeared to refer to Zwayer’s six month ban in 2005 for accepting a €300 bribe from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer, the main architect of the match-fixing scandal.
But German legend Matthaus has backed Bellingham, saying emotions must have been running high following the defeat and asking how an 18-year-old English player came to know so much about a match-fixing scandal that happened when he was still a baby.
Writing for Sky Sport Deutschland, Matthaus said: ‘Yes, Jude Bellingham’s words were out of place. Today, he might not say the same thing.
‘But I can understand his frustration and anger right after the game is over. The adrenaline and emotions are very difficult to control when losing such an important game to controversial decisions. But you don’t have to overdo it.
Matthaus said he had sympathy for Bellingham with emotions running high after the loss
Zwayer checks the VAR monitor at pitchside before awarding Bayern their penalty
‘As far as I’m concerned, he should donate a fine to a charitable cause and it’s done with.
‘Anyway, I wonder how and 18-year-old English player knows Mr Zwayer’s past so well? Who gave him this before the interview?’
Bellingham told ViaPlay after Dortmund’s 3-2 loss: ‘You give a referee, that has match fixed before, the biggest game in Germany, what do you expect?’
They were especially aggrieved at a contentious handball verdict against defender Mats Hummels that resulted in Robert Lewandowski converting the winning penalty.
Dortmund were also denied a penalty earlier in the game when Marco Reus went down under a challenge from Lucas Hernandez.
Zwayer, speaking to Sky Sport Deutschland, said of the Hummels handball decision: ‘The situation was a standard corner kick.
Bellingham pictured with Robert Lewandowski during Dortmund’s 3-2 defeat to Bayern
Dortmund players were furious with a number of decisions given against them on the night
‘I see in the game that it’s about a touch by Hummels. The question for me was: Is the arm stretched away from the body or not? In real time, it was not clear whether his arm was moved towards the ball.
‘I checked it with [VAR officials] in Cologne and then the arm position was checked.
‘The video assistant made an assessment for himself and said that Hummels had his arm away from the body in an unnatural position.
‘In the end, he clearly deflected the ball with his elbow and I came to the decision that is was a penalty.’
Zwayer checked replays of the incident on the pitchside VAR monitor at Signal Iduna Park before awarding the spot-kick but Dortmund were still incensed.
Dortmund’s manager Marco Rose took to the stands after he was sent off for dissent
Their mood wasn’t helped by being denied a penalty when Reus and Hernandez tangled in the Bayern box.
But Zwayer said: ‘It was a contact in the upper body area, which is allowed to happen even at high speed.
‘The situation is not black and white, I decided against the penalty because of my line of sight.
‘It wasn’t necessary for me [to consult VAR] because I had a clear view. If the video assistant had a second opinion he would have told me through the earpiece.’