German football: Referee 'plays by the rules'

Thorsten Kinhofer stands his ground after allowing Hannover's controversial opening goal in Saturday's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.

Thorsten Kinhofer, the referee, has defended his decision to allow Hannover's controversial opening goal in Saturday's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.

Jan Schlaudraff scored directly from a free kick while Tom Starke, the Hoffenheim goalkeeper, was still lining up his wall. The goal was allowed to stand, but Markus Merk, the former referee, told Sky television at half-time that, according to the rules, the goal should have been disallowed.

Kinhofer, however, says Merk got his assessment of the incident wrong.

"You should not always believe what the so-called experts say," he said.

"Everything was done in accordance with the rules. I asked the player Schlaudraff if I should move the wall back and he said he did not need the wall as he wanted to take the kick immediately.

"Therefore, I did not have to whistle to allow the kick to be taken. With dead-ball situations, substitutions or yellow cards, the game can only proceed again after the whistle, but not after normal fouls," Kinhofer added.

Hannover went on to win the game 2-1 thanks to a penalty from Mohammed Abdellaoue after Sejad Salihovic had brought Hoffenheim level from the spot.

Bayern Munich opened their Bundesliga campaign with a shock 1-0 defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Allianz Arena. Manuel Neuer's error allowed Igor de Camargo to score the only goal of the game in the 62nd minute.

In Holland, Jozy Altidore scored on his Eredivisie debut as AZ Alkmaar opened their campaign with an impressive 3-1 win at home to PSV Eindhoven this afternoon.

The United States striker came off the bench to seal the victory in the 80th minute.

Ajax got off to an impressive defence of their crown with a 4-1 win over De Graafschap.

Published: August 8, 2011 04:00 AM