By Andrew Warshaw
April 13 – Handed a rare home defeat in their re-arranged Champions League quarterfinal first leg, Borussia Dortmund have thrown the book at UEFA claiming European football’s governing body “totally ignored” the players’ state of mind following the previous day’s explosions near the team bus that led to the fixture being postponed for a mere 24 hours.
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel claims UEFA treated the incident as if “a beer can had been thrown” at the bus.
Dortmund were made to play AS Monaco the day after the incident in which Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured, with Monaco running out surprise 3-2 winners in a pulsating match.
UEFA says it made the decision to reschedule the match so quickly after consulting both teams but Tuchel said this was not the case.
“We weren’t asked at any point. We were told by text message that the decision had been made in Switzerland,” Tuchel said. “The date was imposed on us.”
“When they told us ‘you’re up tomorrow’, we felt completely ignored. They treated it as if a beer can had been thrown at the bus.
“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. We do not want to use the situation as an excuse. We wished we would have had more time to deal with what happened, but someone in Switzerland decided we must play.”
German authorities have arrested a suspect with “Islamic links” in connection with the attack which, said Tuchel, affected every player differently.
UEFA responded to Tuchel’s comments by giving a very different version of events. “We were in touch with all parties and never received any information which suggested that any of the teams did not want to play,” it said.
But Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin, who came on as a second-half substitute, says the incident definitely affected his teammates.
“We love football, we suffer with football and I know we earn a lot of money, and we have a privileged life, but we are human beings and there is so much more than football in this world … and last night we felt it,” he said.
“I don’t know if the people can understand this but, until I was on the pitch in the second half, I didn’t think about football.
“I get goosebumps … when we were in the bus last night, I can’t forget the faces.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com