Saturday 24 February 2018

What we know so far about the Borussia Dortmund bus explosions

By Max McLean

Dortmund had been preparing to play Monaco but the game was called off after the blasts, which injured player Marc Bartra.

Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Monaco was called off after three explosions damaged the team bus on its way to the stadium.

Here’s what we know so far.

What do we know about what happened?

The incident was believed to have happened around three kilometres away from Dortmund’s stadium.

Police Dortmund said in a statement: “In the run-up to the Champions League game between BVB (Dortmund) and AS Monaco, there was just after 1900 tonight an explosion close to the BVB team bus.”

The statement added: “According to what we currently know, the wheels of the bus (totally or partly) burst and one person was injured,” before going on to say, “It is not yet possible to say exactly what the explosion was or exactly where something exploded.”

Who was injured?

In an initial announcement, Dortmund had said: “At the departure of our bus, an incident occurred. One person was injured.” That person was confirmed to be Dortmund’s Spanish defender Bartra.

Bartra was taken to hospital after reportedly suffering minor injuries to his arm after being struck by shards from the broken back window.

His club tweeted: “In the explosion @MarcBartra was injured and is currently in the hospital. Good and fast recovery, Marc! #bvbasm”

The 26-year-old joined from Barcelona last year, and his former employers were quick to wish him well, tweeting: “All our support to @MarcBartra, @BVB and their fans.”

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “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.”

What will happen to the game?

Dortmund and European governing body Uefa said shortly after 19:30 BST that the match had been called off, and would instead kick off at 17:45 BST on Wednesday.

BVB said in a statement: “The first leg of the Uefa Champions League quarter-final between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco, which was scheduled to kick off at Signal Iduna Park at 20:45 CET tonight, has been cancelled and postponed until tomorrow.

“This was due to an incident involving the BVB team bus as it left the team hotel for the stadium. The police announced, ‘There was an explosion in the Dortmund-Hochsten area.’”

European football’s governing body Uefa added: “This decision was made after a meeting held at the Westfalenstadion between Uefa, representatives of the two clubs and local authorities.”

Monaco fans inside the stadium showed their support by chanting “Dortmund! Dortmund!” – a gesture appreciated by the German club, who tweeted: “Thanks for your patience and understanding and the ‘Dortmund! Dortmund’ chants, dear supporters of @AS_Monaco_EN!”

What’s the current situation?

German police are working on the assumption that explosions which rocked the Borussia Dortmund team bus were caused by “serious explosive devices”.

Police in Dortmund said the devices which went off near the bus as the Bundesliga side were leaving their hotel for the match “may have been hidden in a hedge near a parking area”.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, Dortmund said there was “no cause for concern” for those at the stadium, and said the club were in close contact with the emergency services and Uefa.

Following the announcement that the match had been postponed, Police Dortmund tweeted: “To reassure stadium visitors and relatives: There are currently no indications of a threat to visitors in the stadium #bvbasm”

Press Association

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