BERLIN (REUTERS) - Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling has defended his actions after being criticised for not owning up to his "phantom goal" against Hoffenheim, saying he did not realise the ball had gone in through the side netting.
"For me it is important that 30,000 people in the stadium did not see it and I was one of them," he told Bayer 04 television on Tuesday of his goal in their 2-1 win on Friday.
"The whole criticism against me in the past few days is very hard because everyone accuses me of having seen it," he said.
"People know that if that was the case I would have come out said there is a hole there."
Kiessling's 70th-minute header flew just wide of the post, hit the side-netting but went through a hole and ended up in the goal. Referee Felix Brych awarded a goal which put Leverkusen 2-0 ahead.
"I saw the ball fly towards the side netting, that was the general direction but not where it landed and when I turned the ball was in the back of the net. It was as surprising for me as for everyone else."
"I would be the last one not to say that the ball flew through a stupid hole."
The incident has also reignited a long debate about whether goal-line technology should be used in Germany and whether a replay should be staged.
Last season's Bundesliga top scorer initially put his hands on his head when the ball went wide and looked confused when the referee awarded the goal and his team-mates ran to him to celebrate.
Hoffenheim have since lodged an appeal with the German federation (DFB) asking world soccer's governing body Fifa on the legal position before deciding to replay the game or not.
The Bundesliga does not use goal-line technology, which a Fifa source said would have spotted the mistake, or the additional goal-line assistants who are used in European club competitions.