German soccer team bus hit by blasts, key player injured
BERLIN (Germany), 16 days ago
Three explosions have hit a bus carrying a top German soccer team Borussia Dortmund to their home Champions League quarter-final match against Monaco.
In a news conference, the head of Dortmund police said it was a targeted attack on the team which has left one of its key players injured just before the team was due to play one of the big Champions League quarter-final first-leg ties, reported BBC.
Player Marc Bartra underwent an operation after breaking a bone in his wrist. No other players were hurt.
The state prosecutor said a letter found near the scene was being examined as part of the investigation. The match was postponed until 18:45 local time (16:45 GMT) on Wednesday.
Dortmund police said that "three explosive charges had detonated" at Hoechsten outside the city at about 19:00 local time.
The first indications were that this was an "attack with serious explosives", they said.
Fans at the 80,000-capacity Signal Iduna Park were told to stay there until it was safe to leave.
The stadium was later evacuated safely and police thanked the fans for their co-operation.
"As many officers as possible" would be deployed for tomorrow's rescheduled game, they said.
Monaco fans were praised for their chants of support for Dortmund. Social media also carried offers from Dortmund residents to Monaco fans in need of a bed for the night on #bedforawayfans.
Borussia Dortmund said in a statement: "Shortly after the departure of the Borussia Dortmund team bus from the hotel to the stadium there was an incident. The bus has been damaged in two places."
Police said in a statement they were working on the assumption that the blasts were caused by “serious explosive devices,” which may have been hidden in a hedge near a car park.
Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said: "The whole team is in a state of shock, you can't get pictures like that out of your head. I hope the team will be in a position to be able to compete tomorrow on the pitch. In a crisis situation like this, Borussia pulls together."
One of the Dortmund players, Mathias Ginter, was involved in the Germany-France match that was targeted in the terror attacks in Paris on 13 November, 2015. Another present in Paris, Andre Schurrle, was injured for the Monaco match.
Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, European football’s governing body, said he was "deeply disturbed by the explosions", reported Financial Times.
“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,” he added.