Bayern Munich's Rafinha Suspended for 3 Matches for Scratching Opponent

Tim KeeneyContributor IApril 15, 2014

Bayern's Rafinha of Brazil watches his team mates during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, in Munich, southern Germany, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader

Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha, who was sent off during Saturday's loss to Borussia Dortmund, has been banned for the next three Bundesliga fixtures.

The club's official Twitter feed confirmed the news: 

The 28-year-old Brazilian will miss matches against Eintracht BraunschweigWerder Bremen and Hamburger SV before being able to return to the league finale against Stuttgart. 

For the uninitiated, Rafinha's sending-off came in the 91st minute on Saturday. After a challenge on midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan, the two got into a verbal altercation before Rafinha scratched the Armenian across the face. 

After the match, Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer was far from pleased with the referee's decision, as the Bavarians were trailing 3-0 at the time, via's Christian Grieb:

I'm not sure if he had a little extra lotion on his face, and wanted to give some of it away to him (Mkhitaryan). We accept the red card. At 91 minutes, though, the game is over. If I'm an official, I would walk over and say 'Rafa, that's usually a red.' Then I would have shown the yellow.

Although the three-match ban may be controversial, this Bayern supporter felt that it was a just punishment: 

In the grand scheme of things, this hardly matters for the Bavarians. Seventeen points clear of Dortmund, Bayern have already assured themselves of a second Bundesliga title in a row. 

However, if you're a believer that domestic form translates to Europe, where Bayern are getting ready to battle Real Madrid on April 23 (four days after Rafinha's first missed Bundesliga fixture) and April 29 (three days after the second) in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, then this is hardly how Pep Guardiola's team wants to finish the season. 

Bayern have lost their last two matches, and they will certainly miss Rafinha, who has started 24 matches and tallied seven assists in the league. 

Phillipp Lahm, who has been spending time in the midfield, will likely make the move back to right-back for the time being, and it will be interesting to see if Guardiola keeps that change in the Champions League.