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Borussia Dortmund players 'in shock' after team bus is attacked

Borussia Dortmund's bus attacked in shocking fashion
Borussia Dortmund's bus attacked in shocking fashion

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said the players were in shock after Tuesday's game against Monaco was postponed following three explosions around the team bus.

The incidents occurred around three kilometres from Signal Iduna Park as the squad were making their way to the stadium for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie.

Spanish defender Marc Bartra was taken to hospital, having reportedly suffered a broken hand.

Watzke said in a statement on Facebook: "An explosive strike on the bus was carried out immediately after the departure from the hotel.

"Three explosive devices were placed and triggered on the edge of the road.

"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."

News of the explosions emerged around 1900BST, with Dortmund posting on Twitter: "Bomb explosion on the team bus at the team hotel. Players are safe."

The German club said in an initial announcement that one person had been injured, and soon confirmed it was Bartra by tweeting: "Dortmund confirmed In the explosion @MarcBartra was injured and is currently in the hospital. Good and fast recovery, Marc! #bvbasm"

The 26-year-old joined the club from Barcelona last year, and his former club were quick to wish him well.

The Spanish club said on Twitter: "All our support to @MarcBartra, @BVB and their fans."

Dortmund and European governing body UEFA said shortly after 1930BST that the match had been called off, and would instead kick off at 1745BST 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'.

UEFA added in a statement: "This decision was made after a meeting held at the Westfalenstadion between UEFA, representatives of the two clubs and local authorities."

The local police force - Polizei Nordrhein-Westfalen Dortmund - then stated on Twitter: "We can confirm that there have been three explosions in the area of the @BVB team bus."

Monaco fans inside the stadium showed their support by chanting 'Dortmund! Dortmund!' - a gesture appreciated by the German club.

"Thanks for your patience and understanding and the "Dortmund! Dortmund" chants, dear supporters of @AS_Monaco_EN!" they tweeted.

On the decision to rearrange the match for Wednesday, Watzke added: "We decided that the match was cancelled and that we would return on Wednesday at 1845 (CET), so we did not clash with the Bayern Munich-Real Madrid game (2045CET kick-off) and give the opponents from Monaco the opportunity to leave early in the evening."

The Dortmund players returned to the hotel following the incident.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, BVB assured 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.

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.

"It is not yet possible to say exactly what the explosion was or exactly where something exploded."

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"

Police Dortmund later issued another statement with more detail about the incidents, and said they would hold a joint press conference with the club and the Dortmund public prosecutor at 2200BST.

They said in a statement: "According to first findings, the police assumes this was an attack with serious explosives. The explosives may have been hidden in a hedge near a parking lot."

Dortmund and German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball said it would be a "bad thing" for the perpetrators to have any impact on the outcome of the quarter-final tie.

He said in a statement on the club's website: "Of course this is an extremely difficult situation for the players. But they are professionals, and I am convinced that they will put this away and will produce a performance (on Wednesday).

"It would be a bad thing for those who did this to succeed because the team is influenced in some way."

Police Dortmund praised fans for the way they dealt with developments, tweeting: "High praise to all stadium visitors! Without problems almost all left the stadium and are on the way home!"