International

Female ref relishing historic Bundesliga debut

2017-09-07 19:21
Bibiana Steinhaus (Getty Images)

Berlin - Germany's Bibiana Steinhaus hopes to avoid making headlines when she makes history on Sunday by becoming the first woman to referee in one of Europe's top leagues.

The German Football Association (DFB) confirmed Thursday that Steinhaus will take charge of the Bundesliga clash between Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen on Sunday at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

"My anticipation for the first game in the Bundesliga is, of course, huge," said Steinhaus.

"I am delighted that this great challenge, for my team and I, will finally get going," she added having sat out the first two rounds of German league games this season.

However, the 38-year-old police officer hopes to stay out of the headlines.

"I don't want any, then everything will have gone well," she said in an interview before her appointment was announced.

Steinhaus is on the official list of Bundesliga referees for the 2017/18 season and has been a referee since 2007.

She has already refereed around 80 second division games and been the fourth official on numerous occasions in the German league, but this will be her first game in Germany's top flight.

The former swimmer will become the first female ref in any of Europe's top five leagues and has worked with a fitness coach to make sure she can cope with the tempo of the Bundesliga.

Steinhaus was in the headlines last year when it emerged she was in a relationship with former top referee Howard Webb.

But she does not see herself as a trailblazer.

"I never planned to break new grounds of emancipation," she said at a referee's training camp in July. "I am only doing what I love."

She is experienced at the top level having officiated the women's Champions League final in Cardiff this year and the 2012 women's Olympic tournament final in London.

Steinhaus has already come across some of the Bundesliga's top stars after refereeing Bayern Munich's 5-0 German Cup first-round win at minnows Chemnitz last month.

Read more on:    bundesliga  |  soccer
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