Sport Football Borussia Dortmund bus hit by blasts, terror links unclear

Borussia Dortmund bus hit by blasts, terror links unclear

Borussia Dortmund bus
Damage to the football team's buss caused by the three blasts. Photo: AP
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Local police say a player for German soccer team Borussia Dortmund is injured after several explosions near the team bus ahead of the Champions League quarter-final match against Monaco.

However German authorities have said at this stage they do not believe the blasts were terrorism-related but they believe it was “an attack with serious explosive devices,” that were likely placed in a hedge near a car park.

The match, the first of two legs between the two sides in Europe’s premier club competition, has been called off until Wednesday.

Stadium spokesman Norbert Dickel informed fans of the cancellation, saying that “there is no reason for panic here at the stadium”.

North Rhine-Westphalia police spokesman Gunnar Wortmann told The Associated Press that there were “three explosions near the (Borussia Dortmund) team bus as they left the hotel to go to the stadium” and that “there was one player injured inside and damage to a window”.

Police did not elaborate on the possible nature of the devices or say who might have planted them.

Dortmund said defender and Spanish international Marc Bartra had been taken to hospital, and confirmed he had suffered a broken wrist in the blast.

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said the bus had just pulled out of the hotel driveway when an explosion — a “huge bang” — happened and sent glass flying, telling Swiss media he was sitting in the last row of the bus, next to Bartra.

Bartra was hit by shards from the broken back window, he said, adding that players ducked for cover, wondering whether there would be more explosions.

“We’re all shocked — nobody thought about a football match in the minutes after that,” he said.

Borussia Dortmund said in a statement the bus had been damaged in two places.

Police say the explosions took place in the run-up to the match.
Dortmund is in western Germany, in the densely populated Ruhr industrial region.

borussia dortmund players
Borussia Dortmund players are escorted by police after their team bus was hit by three explosions. Photo: EPA/STR

Inside the packed stadium, supporters of Monaco, which plays in the French league, chanted “Dortmund, Dortmund” in sympathy for the German side.

The football world was quick to express solidarity with Borussia Dortmund after a number of explosions around their team bus caused the Champions League clash with Monaco to be postponed.

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack tweeted: “Hope everything is fine with the @BVB team and hope that you are ok @MarcBartra”.

Current Germany international and captain of Dortmund’s rivals Schalke, Benedikt Howedes, tweeted a message to the club in German which read: “Separated in colours, united against violence! All the best, @MarcBartra and the entire team of the @BVB! I hope you’re fine! #BVBASM.”

Ilkay Gundogan, who played over 100 games for Dortmund before moving to Manchester City in 2016, posted: “I can not believe it! I hope you all go well @BVB!”

Among the Bundesliga clubs quick to offer support were Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, the latter tweeting: “We’re shocked by the news out of Dortmund. Our thoughts are with @BVB and we’re wishing a speedy recovery to @MarcBartra!”

Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti posted: “We give all our support to @BVB and wish @MarcBartra an early recovery.”
Real Madrid and Spain captain Sergio Ramos tweeted: “Today @BVB @MarcBartra and nothing more.”

Villarreal’s former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado had words of support for fellow Spaniard Bartra, tweeting in Spanish: “All my support for the @BVB right now and especially my companion @MarcBartra. Today, everyone is closer than ever.”

Manchester United noted the incident involving their former Champions League rivals, tweeting: “We’re sending our support to our friends at @BVB tonight.”

Liverpool added: “Thinking about all of our friends at @BVB this evening. YNWA.”

And Atletico Madrid, preparing for Wednesday night’s last-eight clash against Leicester, tweeted: “Our support from Madrid for @BVB. We hope that @MarcBartra is alright and wish him a speedy recovery.”

– DPA and PAA