Blasts hit Borussia Dortmund team bus, leaving player hurt

first_imgBORUSSIA Dortmund’s team bus was attacked with explosives yesterday shortly before the start of their Champions League clash with AS Monaco, injuring defender Marc Bartra and forcing the match to be postponed by a day.German police said yesterday they did not know who was behind the attack, in which three explosions went off at 19:15hrs. near the hotel where the team was staying, but said the team appeared to be the target.Prosecutors said a letter had been found near the scene of the blast, but declined to give details of its contents and said it was not clear whether it was authentic.“At this time, it is still not clear what the real background to this act is,” Dortmund police chief Gregor Lange told a late night news conference in the western German city.Police earlier said there had been no risk to the Signal Iduna Park stadium, the largest in Germany, holding more than 80 000 fans, where the first leg of the quarter-final of Europe’s top club soccer competition was due to have been played.Lange said police assumed the team bus was deliberately targeted in the attack as it left the team hotel on the way to the stadium.The devices were placed in a bush alongside the street, Bild newspaper reported, without giving a source. A police spokesman had earlier said “the explosive devices were placed outside the bus”.Windows on the bus were broken but the damage was limited.Dortmund police said earlier on Twitter: “After the initial investigation, we assume that this was an attack using serious explosives.”While the motive was unclear, it revived memories of the November 2015 attacks in Paris that targeted entertainment venues including the Stade de France where France was playing Germany in a soccer friendly.A deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market in December killed 12 people – putting the issue of security at the heart of the national election on September 24, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel is running in a tight battle for a fourth term.A spokesman for Borussia Dortmund said the injured player, Bartra, was being operated on for a broken bone in his right wrist and shrapnel in his arm.“The bus turned into the main street, when there was a huge boom, a real explosion,” Sky television quoted Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki as saying.“I was sitting in the back row next to Marc Bartra, hit by fragments … after the bang, we all ducked.”Bartra, 26, joined Dortmund for 8 million euros ($8.5 million) last year from Barcelona, after coming through the Catalan club’s youth system. He has made 12 appearances for the Spanish national team.Borussia Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “The whole team is in a state of shock.”The stadium emptied quickly and without incident.AS Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic told Croatian newspaper 24sata: “We are currently in the stadium, in a safe place, but the feeling’s horrible.”Dortmund and UEFA said the match would go ahead today at 1645 GMT.UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “I was deeply disturbed by the explosions which occurred tonight in Dortmund.”FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “The thoughts of every one of us at FIFA are with the people of Dortmund, and the fans of both Borussia Dortmund and Monaco following today’s (yesterday) troubling events.”last_img

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