Explosions near Dortmund bus, player hurt
DORTMUND, Germany (AP):
Three explosions went off near the team bus of Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany's top football clubs, as it set off for a Champions League quarter-final match yesterday, slightly injuring a player.
Police said in a statement they were working on the assumption that the blasts ahead of the team's match against Monaco were caused by "serious explosive devices", which may have been hidden in a hedge near a car park.
They didn't elaborate on the possible nature of the devices or say who might have planted them ahead of the first-leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Monaco, which was subsequently called off and rescheduled for today.
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 away, around 7 p.m. local time.
A window on the bus was damaged and Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured.
Dortmund said Bartra was taken to a hospital. Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said Bartra was injured in the arm and hand "but nothing life-threatening".
Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said the team bus had just pulled out of the hotel driveway when an explosion a "huge bang" happened and sent glass flying. The Switzerland international told Swiss daily Blick that he was sitting in the last row of the bus, next to Bartra.
Bartra was hit by shards from the broken back window, he added. Players ducked for cover, wondering whether there would be more explosions.
"We're all shocked nobody thought about a football match in the minutes after that," he said.
Inside the packed stadium, supporters of Monaco, who play in the French league, chanted "Dortmund, Dortmund" in sympathy for the German side. Dortmund residents, for their part, used social media to offer accommodation to stranded Monaco supporters ahead of their rescheduled match in Europe's premier football club competition.
"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," Watzke said.
He added that there was "no alternative" to rescheduling the match for today as Monaco also have to play at the weekend and the return Champions League match is scheduled for next week.