On Tuesday evening, as the Borussia Dortmund team bus was leaving their hotel, it was struck with three explosions.
The bus was en route to the Westfalenstadion, where Dortmund were scheduled to play AS Monaco in the Champions League quarter-final clash. The game was called off after the explosion. It will be played on Wednesday evening instead.
Pictures show some of the bus’ windows were smashed and tyres were burst by the blasts.
One person, the Dortmund defender and Spain international Marc Bartra, was injured in the attack. He has since undergone surgery on a broken bone in his wrist, and to remove “debris” from his hand.Police have described the incident as a “serious explosives attack”, and say they are certain the Dortmund team bus was the target of the explosions.
One man, reportedly with “an Islamist background”, has been detained according to prosecutors. Another suspects is still at large. Police have not identified either suspect.
Federal prosecutors say that “metal strips”
have been discovered in the bombs used.
The state prosecutor Sandra Luecke added that a letter was discovered near the site of the explosions.
“Due to the ongoing investigation I can’t give more information about the content. The authenticity is being investigated”, she said.
On Wednesday morning the German newspaper the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that that investigators are looking into possible Islamist motive behind the attack.
They report that the letter found near the scene claimed the attack was in response to Germany’s military involvement in the fight against ISIL.
However they also report that the letter may have been an attempt to mislead the investigation.
The interior minister of the North Rhine-Westphalia region has since described the letter as “unusual”.
Investigators have now said that they are looking into another letter claiming responsibility for the attack.
This note was posted on an anti-fascist website called “Focus”. It claims that the bomb was planted in retaliation for what is described in the letter as the football club’s soft approach to neo-Nazi and racist fans.
Police say they are preparing for a “large deployment” of officers to ensure the rescheduled game is secure. Kick-off is scheduled for 18:45 CET, Wednesday 12 April.
Regional interior minister Ralf Jaeger confirmed that extra security considerations would be in place for the re-scheduled match.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino released a statement condemning the incident, and saying: “The thoughts of every one at FIFA are with the people of Dortmund, and the fans of both Borussia Dortmund and Monaco following today’s troubling events”.
As news of the explosions reached the stadium around 90 minutes before kick-off, fans were instructed to remain in their seats until authorities were sure it was safe to leave.
Before the 80,000-seater stadium was evacuated Monaco fans chanted “Dortmund, Dortmund” in solidarity with fans and players who would normally have been adversaries.
After it was clear the game would not go ahead, Borussia Dortmund tweeted to Monaco fans to check the hashtag #BedForAwayFans if the needed accommodation.
Dear supporters of
AS_Monaco_EN</a>! If you need accommodation in Dortmund, please check <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bedforawayfans?src=hash">#bedforawayfans</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bvbasm?src=hash">#bvbasm</a></p>— Borussia Dortmund (BVB) April 11, 2017
Several Monaco fans took Dortmunders up on the offer.
Despite the situation they found themselves in, fans seemed upbeat. AS Monaco tweeted pictures of both sets of fans together, with the message “Das ist Fussball” (This is football).