A league that provided ample entertainment before football was suspended seems a promising place to restart the top-level game in Europe. The Bundesliga is back, so let’s relive 10 of the maddest moments so far this season.
Initially, there appeared to be nothing amiss here beyond a wayward piece of shooting from Bochum’s Silvere Ganvoula.
As the forward rolled his eyes after thundering a cross-shot wide, Michael Eberwein, of hosts Kiel, attracted the attention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) team, who had spotted something untoward about his control of the ball as it bounced wide of the post.
To the astonishment of the Holstein-Stadion, the midfielder, who was not on the pitch but was warming up in preparation, became the first off-pitch substitute ever to concede a penalty after touching the shot inside the area before it had exited play.
Ganvoula atoned for his wastefulness by scoring from the spot, but Eberwein’s embarrassment ended in joy as his side won 2-1 – although he is still yet to play for the Bundesliga 2 club.
From signing a contract in the presence of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 2008 to winning the World Cup as part of Germany’s glorious 2014 squad, Ron-Robert Zieler has had many career highlights.
This was not one of them for the Hannover mainstay, punching Karlsruher’s Daniel Gordon in a sensitive area to add injury to insult after the defender had secured a last-gasp point for his side in a 3-3 draw.
Perhaps Zieler’s frustration was understandable given that the visitors thought they had won the game with an extra-time goal little more than two minutes earlier.
As Gordon collapsed to the floor, Zieler received a second yellow card and was sent off.
With his side chasing an equalizer in the dying seconds of a tight Bundesliga contest, David Abraham clumped Freiburg’s Christian Streich as he raced past the long-serving coach on the touchline in pursuit of the ball, sparking a brawl between both benches.
Streich – one of the most colorful and uncompromising characters in the game – collapsed in a star shape on his back, sending each set of players steaming towards the defender.
The manager downplayed the incident but Abraham was fined more than $25,000 and banned for seven weeks as a result of the reckless rumble.
Tensions were already running high towards the end of an epic match in the DFB-Pokal cup competition when Hertha Berlin defender Jordan Torunarigha stumbled beyond the touchline and fell over while miscontrolling the ball, showing his fury by slamming a container full of water bottles to the floor.
🎥⚽ Der in Chemnitz geborene Jordan Torunarigha von Hertha BSC soll beim Spiel #S04BSC rassistisch beleidigt worden sein. . . #sportimosten #DFBPokal #S04 #HerthaBSC #Torunarigha #spio
Nearby Schalke boss David Wagner, who guided his side to a 3-2 extra-time comeback win after they had been 2-0 down at half-time, helped Torunarigha to his feet by the scruff of the shirt, and both were duly sent off.
It was all too much for former USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann, who left his position as Hertha manager shortly afterwards.
You might know Dietmar Hopp as the billionaire entrepreneur and businessman who reportedly rejected a $1 billion offer from US President Donald Trump after his company began to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
The owner of Hoffenheim has been a more contentious figure among German fans, and protests among the visiting Bayern supporters over ownership issues in the latter stages of their 6-0 win at his side led to the final minutes being uncontested, with both sets of players simply strolling around to the sound of mass applause.
As surreal an ending as you will ever see to a match.
A 3-0 home defeat to reigning champions Bayern Munich might sound like a result leaving little to dispute, but a Schalke fan was enraged at seeing the visitors score from the spot and referee Marco Fritz deny his side two strong claims for penalties.
Not content with the time-honored remedy of a soothing post-match beer, the supporter reported Fritz and video assistant Bastian Dankert to Gelsenkirchen police, who said they were “checking the facts” in response.
Das Spiel #S04FCB beschäftigt Schalke-Fans und nun auch die Polizei: Ein #Schalke-Anhänger hat Anzeige gegen den Schiedsrichter und den Videoassistenten wegen Betrugs erstattet. Grund: Zwei nicht gegebene Elfmeter im Spiel gegen #FCBayern. Die #Polizei prüft nun den Sachverhalt. pic.twitter.com/Jgni3jHXdv
Schalke offered to provide witnesses from the “crime scene” of the pitch, and the authority later generously offered to supply tissues to help the aggrieved fan dry their tears.
“The police are obliged to follow up on the complaint”, a spokeswoman added.
Former Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Koubek had a day any goalkeeper would want to forget at the start of October.
The Augsburg newcomer conceded three in 13 minutes as his side saw their hopes evaporate early at Borussia Monchengladbach, but the worst was still to come as the keeper collected a simple-looking pass inside his penalty area, made a calamity of an attempt to turn towards his own goal and gifted the attendant Alassane Plea the chance to tap in a fourth.
Gladbach went top of the early table with a 5-1 eventual win, and Koubek remained in goal until Augsburg’s last match before the season was suspended, helping the Fuggerstadter to win just one match in eight before he was dropped.
Even in an age when passing is considered a key asset for elite goalkeepers, few fans relish the sight of a stopper rushing out of their penalty area.
Schalke star Alexander Nubel gave it a go with catastrophic results, karate kicking Frankfurt midfielder Mijat Gacinovic as he tried to thwart a through ball bouncing almost as close to the halfway line as the box.
The wild, studs-first challenge was no early present for Gacinovic shortly before Christmas, leaving him with a gruesome line of scars on his chest.
Nubel was sent off but, like the relieved Gacinovic, Schalke survived, holding on for a 1-0 win. The highly-rated youngster’s rashness didn’t deter Bayern, who have agreed a contract with him from next season.
Nubel is being tipped to succeed Manuel Neuer in goal for Germany and has been lined up as the 34-year-old’s replacement at Bayern, so perhaps it was appropriate that the veteran mimicked his mistake in an incredible example of comedy goalkeeping in February.
Usually so reliable, Neuer raced from his area on the same left side as Nubel before showing risible commitment to beating onrushing Paderborn forward Dennis Srbeny to the ball.
Srbeny gratefully sprinted past the hapless goalkeeper, advanced into the box and placed his finish beyond several desperate defenders. Bayern needed a late winner to prevail 3-2.
If Augsburg striker Marco Richter’s youth earned him forgiveness for dreadful inaccuracy against Mainz, the astonishing awfulness of his miss meant it is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
After tenaciously pickpocketing a defender, teammate Ruben Vargas laid the ball neatly into Richter’s path to leave the 22-year-old within point-blank range of an open goal, only for him to oblige by shanking his shot into the advertising hoardings.
Richter somehow recovered to score and show off some tricks as his side won 2-1. His name, at least for the rest of this season, will remain synonymous with a remarkably poor finish.