Sunday 25 March 2018

'Targeted attack' on Dortmund

Game called off as Bartra sustains broken arm in bus bomb attack

Police officers and firefighters stand outside the Dortmund team bus after it was damaged in an explosion. (AP)
Police officers and firefighters stand outside the Dortmund team bus after it was damaged in an explosion. (AP)

Ben Rumsby

The first leg of Borussia Dortmund's Champions League quarter-final against Monaco was called off last night after the team's bus was involved in a "targeted" bomb attack, which left a player in hospital.

The vehicle was struck at around 6pm by what German media reported were explosive devices concealed in a hedge by the side of the road outside Dortmund's hotel, which they had just left to travel to play their biggest match of the season.

Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured in the incident, with the bus also visibly damaged by what the club initially announced had been a "bomb" and what police last night said they suspected to have been "an attack with serious explosives".

The club later confirmed that Bartra will undergo surgery on a fractured right arm while the German police revealed that a written letter claiming responsibility had been found. Police chief Gregor Lange confirmed they were "treating it as a targeted assault on the team of Borussia Dortmund".

The incident sparked fears of an attempted terrorist atrocity against football, stirring memories of the suicide bomb attack at the Stade de France during the November 2015 Paris attacks.

The game has been rescheduled for 5.45pm today.


Bartra's team-mates Lukasz Piszczek told Poland's 'Przeglad Sportowy' newspaper: "As we were driving alongside a number of cars, a bomb went off at the side of the road. Bartra has cuts on his arm. He's in the hospital."

Goalkeeper Roman Burki, who was sitting next to Bartra, added: "The bus turned on the main road when there was suddenly a huge bang, a proper explosion.

"The police were quickly on the spot and handled the situation. We were all in shock. After the bang, we all ducked and those who could lie on the floor did so. We didn't know what was going to happen next."

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said police told him that devices were hidden near the exit of the hotel and detonated as the bus passed.

He added: "The team is totally shocked, that's clear. It's our task now to digest this somehow because it's only 24 hours before we have to play. That's our job." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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