UEFA robs the regulars’ table topics: What a shame about the away goals rule!

UEFA robs the Stammtisch topics
What a shame about the away goal rule!

By Tobias Nordmann

Everyone has hated it at least once, the away goals rule. What a drama has the “double scoring” of hits abroad caused in European football in recent years. Now it falls away. Great thing or not? Unfortunately, no.

Felipe Santana did not make it into the circle of the greatest legends in Dortmund. That would also be a little over the top. Too often, the Brazilian was only the third man in central defense – behind Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic. And the expert knows: In a back four, the third central defender is the first without a regular place. But Santana is a little legend in Dortmund. And that’s only because football was the way it was in April 2013. Because not every scene, no matter how brief, has been checked by a video man. Because BVB had to play 3-2 in stoppage time after the 2-2 defeat by Marco Reus in order to survive in the Champions League. To turn the quarter-finals against FC Malaga after a 0-0 first leg.

And this 3: 2 was achieved by Santana. He poked the ball over the line from a very short distance. It was a goal that should never have existed. The offside rule was overridden several times in preparation. But it doesn’t matter. This is how Norbert Dickel and Danny Fritz found it. The two presenters freaked out on Borussia’s Netradio. Yes, you have to put it this way: They freaked out! What emotions (listen again here)! It wasn’t just a goal that should never have existed. It was also a goal that would never have been scored had it not been for the away goals rule. Because of course the team of coach Jürgen Klopp would not have played to win after the equalizer in the 91st minute. Even if Klopp is intoxicated and capable of anything. You would have bet on extension. Dortmund versus Malaga, it’s just an example. A special one, no question about it.

Well, we got used to the VAR a long time ago. We have got used to suppressing the first cheer, looking at the referee, fetching a drink, falling back onto the pitch (grandstand or couch) and waiting. After all, it takes until you know whether you can escalate. Or not. Whereby the subsequent escalation is always not nice. But that’s the way it will be in football in 2021. Justice is a must! Definitely also in football, the basic idea (care, irony) of which was designed to always determine the winner in accordance with the rules and legal perfection. What would happen if a wrong decision decided a game! You would have emotions, discussions. Round tables have their topic, the people at the counters have to tap drinks. Incredible scenes. You don’t want to introduce yourself.

An incentive for active participation

So now the away goals rule is no longer applicable. At last, many shout. After all, it was also unjust, many people also shout. But what is wrong. Because it was true both in the first leg and in the second leg. Sometimes you forget. Equal rights for everyone. The fact is: every football fan has hated this rule at least once in their life. The supporters of FC Malaga in April 2013. In fact, you don’t have to like this rule to approve of it. Because she gave games the drama. She made heroes. And other roles. She made football alive and kept it alive. At Spätis and drinking halls. In buses and trains. In your own garden and at work. And she has always given teams the incentive to look for the finish in a foreign country. It doesn’t matter whether the success is reflected in a statistic.

Short digression on the introduction of the rule 56 years ago: exhausting journeys, non-standardized places – the advantage for home teams was much greater than today, the opponent should be given a small advantage through this “delicacy”. Of course, tacitly asked to actively participate in the game. And the home teams were put under pressure to react twice as intensely to goals from their opponents. You can think of these incentives. In addition, one thought, one could more often bypass the extension. That gave the team the advantage in the second leg of possibly 30 minutes longer, taking advantage of their own stadium and their own fans, to successfully strive for victory.

Well, of course, the elimination of the rule doesn’t necessarily take away the drama of football. UEFA has also committed major crimes against football. At this European Championship alone, the list is long. Again to the drama: Reus’s goal against Malaga was history enough. But why do you have to keep changing old football and its rules? A gain in attractiveness is not promised. And the approach that there is now so much money at stake and wrong decisions could upset the clubs’ well-calculated financial plans makes all those who are already bothered by the commercialization of football. Rules can also be despised in order to like them. Because they give this game what distinguishes it: emotions. Subjects. We will still miss the “longing for the away goal”.