Dortmund boss did not want to play Monaco so soon after blast


DORTMUND, April 13: Borussia Dortmund came through the game they did not want to play on Wednesday night after being told they were lucky to be alive.

They lost 3-2 at home to Monaco and complained that political pressure from UEFA and the German government dictated they had to play their re-arranged Champions League quarter-final less than 24 hours after three pipe bombs exploded next to their team bus.

Defender Marc Bartra needed surgery for a broken wrist and blast injuries and police revealed that shrapnel was found embedded in headrests on the bus.

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel was unhappy at the lack of consultation, saying: ‘We were informed by text message that UEFA was making this decision, 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 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. I wanted more time, a few more days. It is important to have a chance to realise our dream and the team was not at top concentration.

‘UEFA are eager to continue playing, but we still want to be competitive. The team did not feel in the mood for such a game.’

Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin said: ‘Until I was on the pitch in the second half I did not think about football, to be honest.’

Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos said he felt treated like an animal by UEFA.

‘I am happy first that I am alive,’ Sokratis told ESPN FC. ‘It was the most difficult day that I have lived in my life and I hope that nobody else has to live this day. UEFA have to understand that we are not animals.

‘We are people who have families, who have kids in the house. And we are not animals. It is very difficult to think to go and play football. For everybody, it is very difficult to go to work. I hope that what happened to us never happens to anyone else. I hope that was the last time.’

Dortmund defender Matthias Ginter added: ‘This is the best I have felt since the last 24 hours. We’re glad that we’re alive and can go home. We spoke to the people in charge to see if there was anything that could have been changed, because none of us wanted to play — which I think everyone can understand. You try to do everything the same way as we usually do. But obviously nobody could think about football.’

Team-mate Marcel Schmelzer added: ‘We would have wished very, very much that they could have found another date for the match. Although we realise how big this competition is, one mustn’t forget that we are still humans.’

Premier League clubs are taking the threat of terror attacks ‘very seriously’ after the bombing of Borussia Dortmund’s bus.

Manchester United, who appointed a full-time counter-terrorism chief in January, are in Brussels to face Anderlecht in their Europa League quarter-final tie tonight with security on high alert.

There are 10 top-flight fixtures scheduled for England this weekend and Monday and clubs are continuing to work closely with police. The Premier League have said their stance has not changed since the terror attack on Berlin’s Christmas market in December. A spokesperson said: ‘Premier League clubs take safety and security very seriously and have a range of policies and provisions in place.’

Jose Mourinho yesterday urged his United players to put aside any security concerns ahead of their game in Brussels. The Belgian capital has been on high alert for more than a year since the co-ordinated attacks in the city that killed 32 people.

Mourinho said: ‘I try to focus on our job and what we love, which is to play. We have to trust the people working for our security.’AGENCIES