Rafael van der Vaart admitted on Monday that he intentionally tried to get Robert Lewandowski sent off during Hamburg’s 4-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on
Saturday. Speaking to reporters after the game -- which effectively killed Dortmund’s slim chances of retaining its Bundesliga title -- van der Vaart said: "I needed to kick up a fuss,”
because “I had the feeling the ref would not have given a red card otherwise."
Thirty minutes into the game on Saturday, with Hamburg leading 2-1, Lewandowski committed a foul on Per Skjelbred in midfield. Van der Vaart reacted by running toward Lewandowski and pushing him from behind, with the Dortmund striker reacting in similar fashion. Soon, van der Vaart was on the ground, following contact from Dortmund’s captain, Sebastian Kehl. The Dutchman then got up and ran toward referee Manuel Grafe, who after a few minutes of deliberation with his assistants, sent off Lewandowski and booked van der Vaart.
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp initially reacted to Lewandowski’s dismissal by saying, "I've seen worse refereeing in my life. A red card is OK. It was an unfortunate situation." But after van der Vaart’s admission, he said: "That is the worst sentence I have ever heard in my life."
The loss left the defending German champion 15 points behind leader Bayern Munich, which won 4-0 at home to struggling Schalke 04.