BVB star Mats Hummels reports on handball excitement

In the Bundesliga there will also be a lot of discussion about the interpretation of the handball rule in the penalty area in the 2023/24 season. The two Sunday games on matchday 4 provided renewed fuel. BVB star Mats Hummels also commented.

In the games between 1. FC Heidenheim and Werder Bremen (4:2) and SV Darmstadt 98 and Borussia Mönchengladbach (3:3) there were at least penalties worth discussing, each of which was given after a supposedly punishable handball.

There was a lot of anger, especially in newly promoted Darmstadt: defender Matej Maglica touched the ball with his hand in a duel with Gladbach attacker Tomas Cvancara and was sent off the field with a red card. Although the Borussia newcomer missed the penalty, the 40-minute advantage ultimately helped the guests to overcome the 3-0 deficit in the second half.

“The penalty and the red card are definitely incomprehensible. That’s an outrage,” complained Darmstadt’s President Rüdiger Fritsch about the controversial decision by referee Timo Gerach.

The decision on the second penalty in the game between Heidenheim and Bremen was also controversial, as Omar Traoré only touched the ball with his fingertips (49th). Werder striker Marvin Ducksch missed the penalty, but scored the follow-up goal.

BVB star sees two wrong decisions

For Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund, who was able to watch the two Sunday games in peace after his outstanding performance in the away game at SC Freiburg (4:2) the day before, they were both bad decisions by the referees.

“After the two Sunday games today, you might have to reconsider whether touching your hand necessarily means a ‘handball’,” the 34-year-old wrote on the short message service may be punished.”

Nevertheless, Hummels emphasized that the first penalty of the game between Heidenheim and Bremen was completely justified: Werder professional Anthony Jung deflected a free kick with his elbow while standing in the penalty area.

Bundesliga referee Ittrich reacts

It didn’t take long for Hummels’ post to provoke numerous reactions online. Bundesliga referee Patrick Ittrich, who officiated the game between Heidenheim and Bremen, also commented on the BVB star’s contribution.

He could “totally” understand the BVB star, “but that doesn’t play a role in terms of the rules,” he wrote on That’s why I’m not happy with my penalty whistle in retrospect.”

Ittrich made it clear: “If, in addition to evaluating the handball itself, we also have to evaluate how clear the contact was, it will be even grayer.”