Dortmund: police held team bus for 20 minutes before game
MONACO — Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel vented his frustration after local police delayed the team bus when it was ready to leave the players’ hotel for Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal against Monaco.
Tuchel said the incident evoked bad memories of last Tuesday’s bus attack in Germany, when three explosions went off as the bus headed to the stadium for the home leg. That attack left defender Marc Bartra needing hospital treatment following injuries to his wrist and arm after a window was shattered. The match was hurriedly rescheduled for the next day and Monaco won 3-2.
Dortmund was beaten 3-1 on Wednesday to lose 6-3 on aggregate.
“We wanted to leave at 7:15 p.m. Everyone was prepared and in the bus, but we couldn’t move for 16 or 17 minutes,” Tuchel said after the game. “The police was there to escort us and we asked them why we couldn’t move and they just said ‘for safety reasons.’ You can imagine that eight days after the attack that (this is) the worst thing that can happen.”
Tuchel said “it was a very strange feeling” and that — although he subsequently managed to shut it out — the concentration of the players may have been affected by the incident.
“I wasn’t thinking about it anymore once the game started, but I don’t know if the players were, you would have to ask them that,” he said through a translator at the post-match news conference.
“Obviously you want to go into a match without thinking about that. You want to be happy and enthusiastic about such a game. We had the mind set we needed to win here, but obviously all of a sudden it wasn’t possible to think about football.”
Kickoff was delayed by five minutes, with soccer’s governing body UEFA saying only that it was due to “late team arrival caused by heavy traffic.”
After the defeat, Tuchel was asked what his team lacked to reach the highest level. He said that, given what happened last week, it was tough to consider this objectively.
“Of course eight days after the attacks, it’s very hard to answer this question. Eight days ago it was very hard to play this match seriously and to prepare for that match in the right way,” he said. “We played well in Dortmund in the second half despite the circumstances. We pulled it back to 2-1 tonight and with more luck we could have forced extra time.”
Tuchel pointed to the fact that the players may have not been able to produce their best.
“Eight days after the attacks you should not attach too much importance to the performance of the players,” he said. “It was a very difficult situation for the players so we should not criticize them too much. Eight days ago we were ready to reach the semifinals, but everything changed in the most traumatic manner. So it would be unfair to judge.”
There was a high security presence near Monaco’s stadium on Wednesday, with armed police — some with automatic rifles — patrolling the vicinity.
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