Borussia Dortmund team bus hit by three explosive devices, injuring player

Philip Oltermann

Three explosive devices went off by the side of the bus carrying the German football team Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, injuring one player.

The incident occurred at about 7.15pm local time in Dortmund’s Höchstem district, approximately six miles (10km) from the club’s stadium, where they were due to play a Champions League quarter-final against Monaco.

Police confirmed there were three explosions near the bus, breaking some of the vehicle’s windows. The defender Marc Bartra was injured by shards of glass and was taken to hospital. He was due to undergo surgery on his injured arm to repair a fracture and remove shrapnel.

Dortmund police tweeted: “After the initial investigation, we assume that this was an attack with serious explosives.”

A spokesman later told a press conference they were treating the incident as a “targeted attack on Borussia Dortmund’s team” and said a fourth, undetonated device was found in the vicinity of the team hotel.

Police also revealed they had discovered a letter near the scene of the crime which contained a claim of responsibility for the attack and were trying to authenticate it.

Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said the coach carrying the players had only just left their hotel and turned on to the road where the explosive devices were hidden behind a hedge.

“Bartra was injured, on his hand and his arm, but nothing that would be life-threatening,” Watzke said. “The team is in complete shock. Our task is to process this experience, because the match is taking place in less than 24 hours. That’s our job.”

The players were escorted from the coach by police, who also used drones and sniffer dogs to search for further explosives.

The quarter-final has been postponed until Wednesday, the club confirmed. Tuesday night’s other match, between Bartra’s former club Barcelona and Juventus, went ahead.

Watzke said a crammed schedule for both teams had made it impossible to postpone the match for more than a day, a fact he described as “unfortunate”.

The Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki told Swiss newspaper Blick: “I was sat in the back row next to Marc Bartra, who was hit by the shards of the burst back window. After the bang everyone in the bus got their heads down. We didn’t know whether there would be more. The police arrived quickly, sealed everything off. We are all in shock.”

The scoreboard announces the postponement of the game prior to kick off. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bartra, a Spain international who has been based in Germany with last season’s Bundesliga runners-up Dortmund since last summer, is no stranger to the impact of terrorism on football. In November 2015, a Belgium-Spain friendly was called off owing to concerns after the Paris terror attacks. At the time Bartra told reporters: “If we’re going, it’s because it’s safe. We’re calm.”

Police and Borussia Dortmund officials assured supporters they were not under threat inside the stadium and that they should “stay calm” while leaving.

A tweet from the German club’s Twitter account an hour before kick-off at the Westfalenstadion had first alerted news of an incident. “At our bus departure, an incident has occurred. One person was injured. More information to follow,” it read.

A later tweet read: “A bomb exploded at the team bus next to the hotel. The players are safe. There is no danger at the stadium.”

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