Werder Bremen laugh off Bayern Munich 'puckgate' affair

Werder Bremen have laughed off Bayern Munich sporting executive Matthias Sammer's suggestion that Thomas Eichin "probably took a hit from a puck at some point" after he claimed the German champions received preferential treatment from officials.

Bremen general manager Eichin, who previously performed the same role for ice hockey side Cologne Sharks, had recently told the Weser Kurier newspaper that Bundesliga referees were showing double standards when officiating Bayern games.

Bayern benefited from two controversial decisions as they came from behind to beat Hannover 3-1 last weekend, and Eichin urged officials to "finally discard the respect" he felt they were showing Pep Guardiola's men.

Eichin also claimed Ribery "should have been sent off five times this season" and said Guardiola, who escaped a sanction last month after making physical contact with an assistant referee, "can do whatever he wants on the sidelines" without being punished.

Those remarks led Sammer to tell Sky ahead of Bayern's visit to Werder Bremen on Saturday: "That's nothing less than an accusation that German referees are guilty of manipulation. This is beneath contempt. He probably took a hit from a puck at some point and we are looking at the late complications here."

However, Eichin was relaxed when asked about "puckgate" at Bremen's prematch news conference.

"I have actually taken a hit to my head by a puck, and the doctor said that because of that there might be late complications..."

Eichin also posed for a picture with a puck alongside a radio presenter from ENERGY Bremen, but he said: "Let us now concentrate on the match."

Post by ENERGY Bremen.

He added: "I haven't criticised Bayern -- I criticised the behaviour of the referee if anything. It was nothing below the belt. It was just my opinion."

Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik became agitated by the "puckgate" questions at the prematch news conference, but he took a more light-hearted approach to the matter in an interview with the Weser Kurier.

"Maybe we'll get a referee who sets out to send a Bayern player for an early bath, and who intends to send Pep Guardiola and Matthias Sammer to the stands while presenting Werder with three penalties," he joked. "I'll take that, please!"