Arsenal’s referee for their game against Monaco is the German Deniz Aytekin.
A member of UEFA’s elite referees since 2014, he is a strict official who is not afraid to issue cards, although in this year’s competition he seems to be leaning towards carding the visiting side more – in his two games he has flashed just three yellows at the home side but seven for the away. It’s a trend that follows him through his European games over recent season.
He has sent off one player so far in this year’s Champions League (eight of those yellows and the red came in one game – Ludogorets v Basel).
Famous for abandoning the Bundesliga match between St Pauli and Schalke 04 after a beer was thrown at one of his assistants, he has recently been in the media because of the game between Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund in which he decided to use common sense against the rules and not send Nuri Sahin off.
The player conceded a penalty for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity but Aytekin did not want to issue a double punishment (penalty, red card) and so did not send him off. A courageous decision in a sport where the rules are both mocked for being ridiculous and cried about when not enforced.
It’s interesting to note that FIFA will meet in Belfast on 28th February to discuss this, and other, nonsensical rules.
Quite an authority on the pitch, Aytekin is quite possibly the angriest and sternest-looking ref from Germany.
An air of arrogance follows him around and descriptions that I received from people in Germany have me wondering if he is in any way related to Mike Dean.
He’s sent of Jurgen Klopp, Mesut Ozil and upset many managers in the Bundesliga with his performances.
Borussia Monchengladbach legend Bonhoff once said that he never wanted to see him referee another Gladbach game while Rudi Voller, at Bayer Leverkusen, said something similar.
A successful internet entrepreneur, Aytekin has 75 employees under his charge.
He sounds like fun, right?