Thomas Tuchel blasts officials after ‘disastrous’ offside decision costs Bayern Munich dearly

Thomas Tuchel launches scathing attack on officials after 'offside' decision
The offside decision was extremely close

Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel described the Uefa referees’ decision-making as a “disaster” after his team were denied a late equaliser that would have taken their dramatic Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid to extra time.

The former Chelsea manager was outraged that the Polish referee Szymon Marciniak had, on the advice of his assistant, blown for a suspect offside early in a phase of play which saw Matthijs De Ligt score an equaliser to take the game to 2-2.

Bayern had led 1-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate after Alphonso Davies’ 68th minute goal but two late goals from substitute Joselu sent Real through to the final.

Jude Bellingham will face his former club Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on June 1 with Real playing for a 15th Champions League title going back to 1956.

Yet Tuchel said that Marciniak, who took charge of the 2022 World Cup final, got it wrong. He said of the decision by the assistant to raise the flag early: “I think it is pretty clear – and it can’t be any other opinion – that it’s against every rule in modern football, what happened.

“The first big mistake is from the linesman. He raised the flag in a situation like this where you can never, never be sure it’s offside. To have the guts to raise the flag is a huge, huge call and it’s the wrong call. The referee has the chance not to whistle when we win the second ball and get a shot away within five seconds. He takes the decision to whistle and it’s against every rule.

Asked later about De Ligt’s post-match suggestion that there had been an apology from the officials, Tuchel became increasingly angry in his post-match press conference. He said: “We accept the apology. But it’s a semi-final. It’s not the moment to apologise. It’s not the time to make two mistakes that are so important. Everyone is suffering and living on the edge. The referees need to be at the level and it is worthless to apologise. We want the best referees and if he is not able to offer 100 per cent then apologies are worthless.”

Speaking to TNT Sports, Tuchel said: “We are almost through, it’s almost there and there was a very unusual mistake from our best player [Manuel Neuer] for the equaliser then we conceded the second one in stoppage time.

“Then we scored one and there was a disastrous decision from the linesman and the referee. It feels like a betrayal in the end. There was a huge fight. We left everything on the pitch and we were almost there. Now we say congratulations to Real Madrid.

“The linesman says sorry but that does not help. To raise the flag in a moment like this... The referee sees we get the second ball and we get the shot – it’s a very, very bad decision. It’s against the rules. It’s a disaster. It’s hard to swallow but that’s the way it is.”

De Ligt, left, and Muller were furious with referee Szymon Marciniak
Matthijs De Ligt, left, and Thomas Muller were furious with referee Szymon Marciniak - GETTY IMAGES

De Ligt suggested that the assistant had admitted a mistake was made. The Bayern defender said: “If it is offside, it is offside, but I think we have rules in football and the rules say if it is not clear then you have to keep playing. And if you go in the last minute and whistle like this – I think it was a big mistake”.

Tuchel said that he had no choice but to substitute Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala who were both struggling with injuries and fitness concerns. The England captain has a back issue, Tuchel said.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti told TNT Sports: “We believed. Joselu did a fantastic job. He is a fantastic striker. We did really well and had a lot of energy at the end of the game. I’m going to enjoy it of course from now until the final. We have fantastic days with our supporters to celebrate the league. It will be fantastic. Unbelievable [attitude of players]. I’m really grateful to them, they work really hard, I think this is the best squad I have ever had in my career.”