Who is Espen Eskas, the referee for Real Madrid vs Union Berlin in the Champions League?
Real Madrid kick off their bid for a 15th European title when they face Union Berlin on matchday one of the 2023/24 Champions League group stage.
Norway’s Espen Eskas will be the match referee at the Bernabéu on Wednesday, as Real Madrid begin their Champions League campaign with a clash against tournament debutants Union Berlin.
Viewers in the US will be able to stream the Group C match live on the online platform fuboTV, which offers users a free trial.
Eskas set for second career UCL appearance
Eskas, 35, has been a referee in the Eliteserien, the top flight of Norwegian men’s league soccer, since 2015.
A FIFA-listed official since 2017, he has only overseen one previous Champions League match - and it came in Madrid’s group last season. He was the man in the middle as Red Bull Leipzig, who finished second behind Los Blancos in Group F, beat Celtic 3-1 in October 2022.
In European club soccer, Eskas’ other appointment of note was in last term’s Europa Conference League, when the Norwegian took charge of his first ever continental knockout tie: West Ham’s 2-0 win over AEK Larnaca in the last-16 first leg.
In all, Eskas has refereed three games in the Conference League, in addition to five in the Europa League.
In his nine matches across Europe’s three major club competitions, he has averaged 4.1 yellow cards and is yet to send any players off.
Euro Under-21s final ref
In international soccer, Eskas’ most significant assignment so far was England’s 1-0 win over Spain in this summer’s European Under-21 Championship final.
Notably, he dismissed two players for second yellow cards - England’s Morgan Gibbs-White and Spain’s Antonio Blanco - after a bust-up between the teams in the wake of James Trafford’s 100th-minute penalty save to prevent a Spanish equaliser.
Who are Espen Eskas’ assistants for Real Madrid-Union Berlin?
Eskas’ assistant referees in the Spanish capital will be compatriots Jan Erik Engan and Isaak Elias Bashevkin, and the fourth official will be Kristoff Hagenes, also Norwegian.
The video assistant referee (VAR) will be Italy’s Massimiliano Irrati, and the assistant VAR will be Portugal’s Tiago Martins.