As police in Germany work to find those responsible for Tuesday’s attack on Borussia Dortmund’s team bus, in which defender Marc Bartra was injured, German media has voiced concern for the game’s hasty rearrangement, as well as noting the stoic defiance shown by the club, its supporters and the wider footballing community.
Oliver Fritsch, writing for Die Zeit, observed the Dortmund fans inside Signal Iguna Park after chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke and the club’s president Reinhard Rauball “had to explain the hard to explain” from pitchside.
After the announcement was made that the game was to be postponed for 24 hours, one fan, Jürgen, told the paper: “How can you decide the game will be played tomorrow so quickly? It’s just money – who is thinking about the players?” while Gunnar shrugged: “Then we’ll go tomorrow. You must not let yourself be small.”
Bild’s football section echoes the former opinion, asking the question: “How can BVB play football today?” Of the blasts, one eyewitness told the paper: “It was so loud it reminded me of the war.”
In Welt, Oliver Rasche’s piece – headed “How? The game must not take place today!” – said the rescheduling was “sportingly and humanly unacceptable”.
“Who can tell if more is planned?” he asked. “The game should not take place 24 hours later. This is irresponsible. Of course the schedule in top European football is tight. A week later the return leg is to take place, and the season moves fast until the end. But stop!
“We are talking about a football team; a group of young men who were or are obviously the target of a murder attempt. A fellow player was injured … and today, as if nothing had happened, people are to rise up, concentrate on their professions, and to push the shock, all thoughts of the moment, and their fear away?”
Frederick Ahrens, writing for Hamburger Morgenpost, added: “The show must go on: but not today!”
“Is it really to be expected for these professionals, who were anxiously cowering on the ground of their bus, who knew that a colleague was injured, to put their concentration 100% on football? The incident will leave scars behind.”
RP pointed to the fixture lists of Dortmund and Monaco to offer an explanation for the hasty rescheduling: “Both teams play in the league on Saturday. Dortmund welcome Eintracht Frankfurt, Monaco host Dijon. Moving the game to next week is also not an option, as the return fixture takes place. It is not possible to move the entire tie back because on 26 April comes the semi-final in the DFB-Cup, when Dortmund play Bayern Munich. On 2 and 3 May, the Champions League semi-finals take place, a week later the reverse. The schedule of the top clubs is filled in all of these weeks.”
Meanwhile, the wider German football community sent Dortmund their best wishes, with local rivals Schalke tweeting: “At such moments we all stick together: #S04 wishes all the fans and @MarcBartra a safe trip home.”
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich said: “We’d like to extend our best wishes to @MarcBartra and @BVB!” while second-placed RB Leipzig added: “Our thoughts are with @BVB and @MarcBartra this evening, to whom we wish a quick recovery.”
Frankfurt, who are due to be Dortmund’s next opponents, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone at @BVB, and get well soon @MarcBartra. Hopefully things go back to normal soon.”
Hoffenheim simply tweeted: “#echteliebe [real love] instead of absurd & senseless violence.”
Hannelore Kraft, minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, in which Dortmund is located, said: “I wish Marc Bartra a quick recovery and BVB all the very best.” The German federal minister of justice Heiko Maas added that word of the blasts was “shocking news. All our thoughts are with BVB. You’ll never walk alone!”