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Players injured as blast hits Dortmund team bus, Monaco match postponed

© Odd Andersen, AFP | Police patrol outside Borussia Dortmund's stadium on April 11, 2017.

Video by Jessica SALTZ

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-04-12

Borussia Dortmund's team bus was damaged and a player was injured following three explosions near the vehicle ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game against Monaco, German police have said.

The match, a quarter-final first leg, was called off and rescheduled for Wednesday.

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 city's police chief Gregor Lange said that they were "assuming that the blasts were a targeted attack against the Dortmund team".

He added that an explosive-like item was found at the team's hotel after the blasts, but it did not ignite.

Police said that there were three explosions near the Dortmund team bus as they left their hotel on the outskirts of the western city of Dortmund for the stadium, around 10 kilometres (6 miles) away, at around 7pm local time (5pm GMT).

A window on the bus was damaged and Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured.

Police have not yet given any information as to who may have been behind the attack or what motivated it.

"At this time, it is still not clear what the real background to this act is," Lange told a news conference.

"I do not want to suggest that this was a terrorist attack. All that is still being investigated. We want to be careful. It is being investigated very professionally."

Injured player undergoes surgery

 

Dortmund said Bartra was taken to a hospital with injuries in the arm and hand.
The club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said the injuries to the Spanish defender were "nothing life-threatening”.

Barta later underwent surgery on his right wrist, the club said in a statement.

The 26-year-old joined Dortmund for eight million euros ($8.48 million) last year from Barcelona, after coming through the Catalan club's youth system. He has made 12 appearances for the Spanish national team.

‘Huge bang’

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said the team bus had just pulled out of the hotel driveway, heading for the stadium, when it was rocked by the explosion.

Buerki told Swiss daily Blick that "there was a huge bang, literally an explosion" that sent glass flying about.

The Swiss keeper said he was sitting in the last row of the bus, next to teammate Bartra, who was hit by shards of glass from the broken window.

 

Buerki said players ducked for cover, wondering if there would be more explosions.
He told Blick: "We're all shocked. Nobody thought about a football match in the minutes after that."

Soon after the incident, Dortmund and UEFA said the match would be called off and postponed to Wednesday at 6:45pm local time (4:45pm GMT).

A spokesman at the already crowded stadium informed fans of the cancellation, saying that: "There is no reason for panic here at the stadium."

Dortmund recommended that fans stay in the stadium and remain calm to facilitate an "orderly departure”.

The club thanked supporters of opponents Monaco for their "patience and understanding" and for chanting "Dortmund! Dortmund!" when the reason for the postponement was announced.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2017-04-11

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