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Bayern Munich playing with 12 men was fault of officials not Nagelsmann, says German referee chief

Bayern Munich playing with 12 men in the final stages of their Bundesliga fixture against Freiburg was the fault of the match officials and not Julian Nagelsmann, according to German football association (DFB) instructor Lutz Wagner.

The reigning Bundesliga champions took another big step towards their 10th successive title by beating Freiburg 4-1 at Schwarzwald-Stadion on Saturday.

Goals from Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Marcel Sabitzer wrapped up all three points for Bayern, but their latest win was overshadowed by a controversial incident in the 86th minute.

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What happened?

Bayern played with an additional outfield player for 17 seconds after the fourth official held up the wrong number for Kingsley Coman.

No 29 was shown on the electronic board instead of 11, so Coman did not realise he was meant to come off for Sabitzer after Corentin Tolisso had to be replaced by Niklas Sule due to illness.

Freiburg alerted the officials to the numerical error and the action was delayed for a lengthy period as chaotic scenes erupted on the touchline.

Wagner's view

After the match, head referee Christian Dingert admitted it was a "totally confused situation" before saying the "DFB must decide" on whether a replay could be arranged under the current league rules.

However, Wagner feels Dingert was the man most directly responsible for the mistake rather than Nagelsmann or Coman, with it his belief that the official should have been more thorough before allowing the game to carry on.

"Normally, he [the referee] or someone from his team should have made sure that the number of players was correct before the game continued," the former Bundesliga referee and DFB instructor has told GOAL and SPOX. "He didn't do that, so it's a mistake by the referee.

"Yes, the referee can delegate the task [to his assistants], but it is his responsibility that the game continues with the right number of players on both sides."

Wagner added on Nagelsmann's mistake with the squad number: "That certainly led to all the confusion, but it's very human if you don't pay attention to everything and overlook something. 

"Something like that can always happen, and again, in the end, the referee is responsible."

The DFB chief also rejected the notion that Coman was lucky to escape punishment for staying on the pitch.

"If the referee recognises unsportsmanlike conduct, the player must be warned," he said. "But since it was a misunderstanding through no fault of Coman, he wasn't warned.

"The player didn't act unsportsmanlike. It wasn't his fault that the change didn't go through properly because the board from the team manager was displayed incorrectly and the referee didn't check it."

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