Marc Bartra injured in Borussia Dortmund bus blasts

Defender taken to hospital after blasts go off near team bus before Champions League home match against Monaco.

    Borussia Dortmund player Marc Bartra was slightly injured on Tuesday after three explosions went off near a bus carrying the German football team to a home Champions League match, according to police.

    Police in the city of Dortumund said in a statement they were working on the assumption that the blasts were caused by "serious explosive devices", which may have been hidden in a hedge near a car park.

    The match, a quarter-final first leg against French club Monaco, was called off and rescheduled for Wednesday.

    Borussia Dortmund said Bartra, 26, a defender and Spanish international, was taken to a hospital for treatment after the incident, which happened after the bus had set off from the team hotel for the Dortmund stadium Signal Iduna Park some 10km away.

    Spanish and Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra [File: Kiko Huesca/EPA]

    Hans-Joachim Watzke, the team's chief executive, said Bartra was injured in the arm and hand "but nothing life-threatening".

    "The whole team is in a state of shock, you can't get pictures like that out of your head," Watzke told the AFP news agency.

    Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said the team bus had just pulled out of the hotel driveway when 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.

    Borussia Dortmund players, left to right, Nuri Sahin, Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender escorted by police [EPA]

    The explosions, which damaged a window on the bus, happened shortly after 7pm local time (17:00 GMT) on Wittbraeucker Strasse, in Hoechsten.

    With the 80,000-capacity stadium filling up just before the scheduled kick-off, fans were told to stay in the ground until police signalled it was safe for them to leave.

    German police later tweeted that almost all of the fans had left the stadium, without any problem.

    "The news that the game had to be called of was received very calmly," Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reported from outside the stadium.

    "Many of the fans of Monaco, the opposition team, were chanting Dortmund's name - in effect expressing their solidarity with the plight of the fans, the team and the player injured in this incident."

    Barcelona, Bartra's former club, tweeted after the incident: "All of our support to @MarcBartra, @BVB and their fans."

    German Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter: "Shocking news. Our thoughts are with [Borussia Dortmund]. You'll never walk alone!"

    Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is seen by the team bus after the incident [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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