Referee Wolfgang Stark has apologised to Borussia Dortmund following their 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg on Saturday.
The Bundesliga champions were leading 1-0 and dominating when the referee opted to award a penalty to Wolfsburg and send off Marcel Schmelzer, ruling the defended had handled on the goal-line.
It was a decision that ultimately turned the match in the visitors’ favour and Stark admitted he had made a mistake.
“I’ve looked at it again later and unfortunately it was an error of perception on my part,” he told reporters outside his dressing room.
“I’m sorry, that should not happen. The penalty and the red card were a mistake on my part. That’s annoying.”
Midfielder Diego converted the penalty and, with the home side down to 10 men, Wolfsburg went on to win the game 3-2, much to the annoyance of Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp.
“The consequences were bizarre,” he said after the game.
“We were 1-0 ahead and Wolfsburg had no chance and then comes the game-winning move. It was a brutal decision. The boys have to chop their hands off to avoid risking a handball.
“I had everything taken into account, including the penalty. But the red card decided the game today. Until then we were vastly superior.”
The defeat means Dortmund now trail league leaders Bayern Munich by 14 points.