BERLIN (Reuters) - The players of Mainz 05 and Freiburg were ordered back onto the pitch having gone to the changing room at halftime because the video assistant referee (VAR) awarded a penalty for a handball in an eventful Bundesliga game on Monday.
Referee Guido Winkmann, who was also on his way to the tunnel before the VAR intervened, ordered the players to return so that Mainz’s Pablo De Blasis could take and score a penalty.
The penalty was given for a handball by Marc-Oliver Kempf that the VAR noticed after the halftime whistle had blown.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich, who was recently sent off for dissent in a league match, was on the sideline smiling and shaking his head in disbelief after being told to get his players back out on the pitch.
Kempf, who conceded the spot kick, was substituted at halftime.
There was a further 10-minute delay before the start of the second half as fans threw hundreds of toilet rolls onto the pitch in a protest against Monday evening matches.
Many German fans have opposed the introduction of Monday games, saying matches should be played on the weekend when most supporters can attend. Protests have taken place during most Monday games.
De Blasis eventually added a second goal for the hosts late in the game following a mistake by Freiburg keeper Alexander Schwolow.
Mainz climbed to 15th on goal difference above Freiburg who fell to 16th, the relegation playoff spot.
The VAR system has been used in the Bundesliga this season but not without controversy as it has been at the centre of several disputed decisions.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis