Wednesday 13 November 2019

Borussia Dortmund team bombing: Letter found claiming responsibility, team were targeted say police

Police patrol outide the stadium after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion some 10km away from the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League 1st leg quarter-final football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Monaco in Dortmund, western Germany on April 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN
Police patrol outide the stadium after the team bus of Borussia Dortmund had some windows broken by an explosion some 10km away from the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League 1st leg quarter-final football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v Monaco in Dortmund, western Germany on April 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Borussia Dortmund's team bus was the victim of what was believed to be a targeted bomb attack on Tuesday night before the Champions League clash with Monaco.

Three explosions around the team bus left defender Marc Bartra in hospital, where he required an operation for a broken bone in his right wrist.

The incidents occurred as the squad left their hotel en route to the Signal Iduna Park stadium for the first leg of the quarter-final tie, which was swiftly postponed.

The local police force - Polizei Nordrhein-Westfalen Dortmund - held a joint late-night press conference along with the football club and the Dortmund public prosecutor.

Police chief Gregor Lange said, in quotes reported by Bild : "This evening at 19.15 there were three explosions in the surroundings of the BVB hotel.

"We must start from (the position this was) a targeted attack on BVB's team. Strong police forces are in operation.

"We also have explosive detection dogs in use and decided to search the scene from the air. At the present time it is not clear what the background of the act is."

Dortmund police also revealed a letter had been found, claiming responsibility for the incidents.

"The prosecutor's office #Dortmund confirms the discovery of a letter near the scene of the crime. The authenticity is currently being tested," the police force posted on Twitter.

The police earlier said in a statement that the explosives "may have been hidden in a hedge near a parking lot".

Goalkeeper Roman Burki was sitting at the back of the team bus alongside Bartra, and told Swiss newspaper website blick.ch how events unfolded.

Burki said: " We left the hotel at 7:15pm and went down the street. The bus turned down the main street, and there was a giant explosion.

"I was sitting in the back row next to Marc Bartra, who was hit by fragments of the broken glass.

"After the bang, we all ducked in the bus and those who could threw themselves to the ground. We did not know had happened.

"The police were quick on the scene, and we were safe.

"We're all shocked - nobody thought of a football match in this moment."

The German club said in an initial announcement shortly after 7.00pm that one person had been injured, and soon confirmed it was Bartra.

The 26-year-old joined the club from Barcelona last year.

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement: "An explosive strike on the bus was carried out immediately after the departure from the hotel.

"Three explosive devices were placed and triggered on the edge of the road.

"The whole team is in shock. We have to get through this. It will not be easy for the players. I hope that the team will somehow be able to return to the field.

"Borussia Dortmund is especially strong in extreme situations. Everyone will come even closer together and I'm sure the team will feel this."

It was announced shortly after 7.30pm that the match had been called off, and it will instead kick off at 17.45pm on Wednesday.

Monaco said on Twitter that all their supporters staying in Dortmund on Tuesday night would be reimbursed up to €80 by the club.

The French club added in a statement: "Faced with this difficult situation, AS Monaco wishes to express its full support to the Borussia Dortmund team and all the components of the club."

The decision to postpone was made after a meeting held at the stadium between European football's governing body UEFA, representatives of the two clubs and local authorities.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was "deeply disturbed" by events in Dortmund and backed the decision to reschedule the match.

He said in a statement: "I was deeply disturbed by the explosions which occurred in Dortmund. The decision taken to postpone the UEFA Champions League match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco was the correct one since we must always prioritise the safety and security of all fans, team officials and players."

Monaco fans inside the stadium showed their support by chanting "Dortmund! Dortmund!" - a gesture appreciated by the German club.

"Thanks for your patience and understanding and the 'Dortmund! Dortmund' chants, dear supporters of @AS_Monaco_EN!" Dortmund tweeted.

The Dortmund players returned to their hotel following the explosions.

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 troubling events.

"We are closely monitoring the condition of BVB's Marc Bartra, and wish him a speedy recovery from his injuries.

"FIFA condemn the incidents in Dortmund. We are all awaiting further details of the incident."

Heavy security will be in place in Germany for the rescheduled Champion League football match.

PA Media

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