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DFB referee: Katrin Rafalski after the start of the Bundesliga

AEven a few weeks after the European Championship, Katrin Rafalski remembers a scene that most fans should have long forgotten. England versus Norway, the 15th minute of the preliminary round game: the linesman saw an offside position that didn’t exist. She literally “waved away” England’s Lauren Hemp’s regular goal to make it 2-0. “Fortunately, the video assistant saved the goal,” says Rafalski, who, despite the faux pas, has worked her way into the front row of the German referees. In the summer, the DFB named her “Referee of the Year”, for the second time after 2015.

What titles and trophies are for players, they are for referees in big tournaments and special games. Rafalski, who has been a referee since she was 14, has attended world championships and the Olympics, and in 2013 she officiated the DFB Cup final – and now the opening game of the Bundesliga. Not much more is possible. “It was a huge honor to be part of this game in front of this backdrop.”

Completely unexcited

More than 23,000 spectators turned the goalless draw between Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich into an atmospheric record game – more fans had never followed a game in the women’s Bundesliga. Sometimes she heard the audience through her headset rather than the voices of her assistants. “We don’t even know the volume from Bundesliga games,” says Rafalski of the FAZ

The referee whistling for TSV Besse from North Hesse did her job completely calmly: in the first half, for example, when Bayern player Giulia Gwinn fell to the ground injured and Rafalski quickly ordered medical help from the Munich bench. Or a few minutes before the end of the game, when after a handball by Laura Feiersinger, she left it at a warning and a serious look at the Frankfurter instead of drawing a card.

Excitement, even hectic in the eagerly awaited first Bundesliga game after the European Championship? Two yellow cards were enough for Rafalski to restore order in the Frankfurt Arena.

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