The Borussia Dortmund manager, Thomas Tuchel, has angrily criticised Uefa for the rescheduling of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Monaco, claiming its actions made the club feel “impotent”.
Dortmund and Monaco took to the field at the Signal Iduna Park, less than 24 hours after the original tie was postponed when three explosions went off near their team bus as they made their way to the ground on Tuesday, leaving the defender Marc Bartra needing surgery on an arm injury.
The hosts looked understandably distracted during the first-leg tie – eventually losing 3-2 – and Tuchel claims his side were told they had to play via a text message from Uefa.
“We were informed by text message that Uefa was making this decision,” Tuchel said. “We would have liked more time to take stock. This gives you the feeling of impotence, that we have to keep functioning and nothing else matters.
“A decision made in Switzerland that concerns us directly. We will not forget it. It is a very bad feeling. A few minutes after this attack the only question that was asked was: ‘Are you ready to play?’ As if we had thrown a beer on our coach. At that time we did not know the reasons for this attack. There is a feeling of helplessness. The date was imposed on us. We weren’t asked about playing the game. Uefa is eager to continue playing and, of course, we have to keep it going but we still want to be competitive. Every player has the right to deal with it in his way. The team did not feel in the mood, in which you must be for such a game. We were attacked as men and we tried to solve the problem on the ground. The players had the choice not to play but no one chose this option.”
Uefa issued a statement which read: “We were in touch with all parties and never received any information which suggested that any of the teams did not want to play.”
The Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin offered an emotional insight into how badly players had been affected. “It’s hard to talk about it,” the former Liverpool player said. “I get goosebumps ... when you were in the bus last night... I can’t forget the faces.
“We love football, we suffer with football, we love football. I know we earn a lot of money and have a privileged life but we are human beings. There is so much more than football in this world and last night we felt it.
“We saw it a lot of times on TV and it was far, far away from us, even when it was in Istanbul, my country, on New Year’s Eve. It was close but also very far from us and last night we felt how it is like to be in a situation like this and I don’t wish anyone a feeling like this.”
Before the match, both sets of supporters sent out a powerful message of unity, singing Dortmund’s adopted football song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” while the home fans also applauded Monaco’s travelling support for extending their trip another 24 hours.
The club’s stricken defender Bartra, in hospital having undergone surgery on an arm injury sustained in the blasts, also gave a positive update on his condition via instagram.
He wrote: “Hello everyone! As you see I am much better, thanks to everyone for the messages of support! All my strength to my teammates for tonight’s game!”