The Dallas Morning News
Explosions rock German team’s bus
1 player wounded, match postponed after at least 3 explosions
As many as three explosions went off near the team bus of Borussia Dortmund as it set off for a match. One Dortmund player was injured, and the match was postponed.
BERLIN — Three explosions damaged the bus of one of Germany’s most storied soccer teams as it headed to its stadium in Dortmund on Tuesday, wounding one player and forcing postponement of the match, an important playoff in a major European championship.
The Dortmund police chief, Gregor Lange, said at a news conference that “we assume it was a targeted attack” on the Borussia Dortmund team. The wounded player, Marc Bartra of Spain, was undergoing surgery on his right wrist, a spokesman for the team said.
Hans-Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive, said “three explosive devices” had detonated near a hotel outside Dortmund where the players were staying.
The state prosecutor told reporters that a letter claiming responsibility had been discovered near the site of the blasts, but that it was too soon to say if it was genuine. The prosecutor, Sandra Luecke, declined to answer further questions about the letter’s contents, including what language it was written in.
The authorities also would not describe the three explosive devices. Lange said that a fourth “suspicious object” had also been found at the scene, but that it had not been set to go off.
In an interview with Blick, a Swiss newspaper, goalkeeper Roman Buerki described the moments after what he said was a “huge bang” as the bus turned onto the main road to go to the stadium.
“I was sitting in the very back row next to Marc Bartra, who was hit by fragments of the broken rear window,” said Buerki, who is Swiss. All the players then ducked to the bus floor, he said, because “we didn’t know if something more would happen.”
The match, against Monaco, will be played Wednesday night, the first leg of a quarterfinal in the UEFA Champions League.
In a Twitter post, the Dortmund police told fans: “We are preparing for a big deployment and will take care of security” at the match Wednesday night.
Anxiety over terrorism continues to grip Europe after attacks in France, Belgium, Britain and, most recently, Sweden.
In Germany on Dec. 19, a truck crashed into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people.
On Tuesday at the Westfalenstadion, the stadium where the match was to be played, hundreds of Monaco fans, hearing the news, chanted “Dortmund! Dortmund!” in a show of solidarity. In what has become another signal of support when terrorist assaults disrupt people’s plans, Dortmund fans quickly adopted a hashtag offering Monaco fans places to stay.