BERLIN (AP) Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra testified Monday at the trial of a man accused of bombing the soccer team’s bus last year, saying that he was afraid of dying in the attack.
The Apr. 11 blasts shattered a window of the bus and hit Bartra with shrapnel, leaving the team without the Spanish defender for about a month after he had to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his wrist. A police officer also was hurt in the explosions, which hit the bus as it left a hotel in Dortmund for a Champions League match against Monaco.
The 28-year-old suspect, who has been identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy rules, told the Dortmund state court earlier this month that he carried out the attack but didn’t intend to kill or hurt anyone.
Bartra appeared as a witness Monday. He said in a statement read by lawyer Alfons Becker: “I feared for my life. I feared I would never see my family again.”
“When I remember it, I don’t feel good,” he said, news agency dpa reported.
Dortmund’s star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was also due to appear Monday, but Becker told the court that “he won’t testify today because he is ill.” A note from Dortmund’s team doctor didn’t give details.
Prosecutors and the presiding judge indicated that they weren’t impressed with the explanation. There was no immediate decision on whether Aubameyang might face a fine.
Prosecutors allege that W. took out a loan to place a bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares would drop in value, then bombed the bus and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism. Dortmund is the only German soccer club whose shares are listed on the stock exchange.
The defendant has testified that he was trying to fake an attack and designed the explosives in such a way “that no harm to people could be expected.”
DORTMUND, Germany (AP) Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra returned to team training Wednesday after recovering from injuries sustained in last month’s bomb attack on the team bus.
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Bartra says in a tweet, “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks! So happy to be here today. Can’t wait to compete again next to my team mates!!”
The Spanish defender was hit by shrapnel as three explosions hit the Dortmund bus when it left the team hotel for the Champions League quarterfinal at home to Monaco on April 11. Bartra had surgery on a broken bone in his wrist.
The 26-year-old’s return is a welcome boost for Dortmund ahead of its battle to remain third in the Bundesliga for automatic Champions League qualification. Dortmund also plays Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Cup final on May 27.
Borussia Dortmund might have good reason to blame their Champions League exit on the bomb attack that struck their team bus prior to the first leg against AS Monaco, but given recent reports, they might wish to consider themselves lucky.
According to German police who reconstructed the incident, it’s possible that things could have gone very differently.
“If the explosions had detonated one second earlier, the entire bus would have been hit with a massive shock,” an official from the German Federal Criminal Investigation Office told German publication Bild on Sunday. “There would surely have been many serious injuries and possibly some deaths.”
Thankfully, the only casualty was the broken wrist suffered by defender Marc Bartra, who is out four weeks after having surgery to repair the injury.
The bombs were found to be full of nails, with one imbedded in one of the bus’s seat headrests. They were reportedly built to a professional level, with materials and layout hinting towards a knowledge of German military construction and schematics.
Letters have been sent claiming to be from Islamic extremist groups that claim responsibility for the attack, but the German police have openly questioned the authenticity of those letters. The investigations have so far failed to publicly identify a lead on who may have been responsible for the bombing.
Before their second leg match in France, Monaco presented Dortmund with a plaque in a show of solidarity. The plaque depicted numerous photos of fans from both sides celebrating together, as Monaco showed its appreciation for the hospitality Dortmund fans showed them on the night of the attacks.
Social media was used to help Monaco fans stranded in Germany by the postponement of the first leg, and many Dortmund fans gave their rivals a place to stay for the night.
Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra, who was the lone player injured in the Dortmund bus bombing on Tuesday, will be out for four weeks, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.
The former Barcelona defender seemed to be in good spirits after the scary attack, judging by his positive posts on social media, but the reality is he suffered a broken wrist thanks to the explosion. Accounts from other players seemed to suggest that Bartra not only dealt with the broken wrist, but also had shrapnel from the bomb and the shattered window that complicated the injury.
It had been made public that Bartra was having surgery on his injury, which was successful, but until now there was no recovery time announced. “It looks like Marc Bartra will return to the team in four weeks,” Tuchel said. “He’d like to play now already.”
Bartra’s absence has already had an impact on the Dortmund on-field product. His replacement against AS Monaco, Sven Bender, scored a
beautiful header painful own-goal that proved the difference in the match. Bender, attempting to clear a cross, headed it into his own net.
With a four-week timetable, Bartra would be out until mid-May. He will obviously miss the away leg next week against Monaco in the Champions League, plus he would miss the DFB-Pokal semifinal against Bayern Munich and important Bundesliga games against Hoffenheim, Koln, and Werder Bremen. Should Dortmund upset Monaco to advance in the Champions League, he would for sure miss the first leg to be played in early May, and then would be a doubt for the second leg on May 9th or 10th.
Marc Bartra is in good spirits and recovering from surgery on his right arm and hand 24 hours after an explosion hit Borussia Dortmund’s team bus en route to Signal Iduna Park for the side’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash with Monaco.
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The 26-year-old Spanish defender posted on his Instagram account a photo and a short message to fans and teammates on Wednesday, saying, “As you can see I am doing much better. Thank you everybody for all your support and your messages. All my strength to my team mates, supporters and fans and to @bvb09 for tonight’s match! #HejaBVB”
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Dortmund and Monaco’s quarterfinal first leg was rescheduled for Wednesday, which the visitors won 3-2, only just seeing off a spirited fight from Bartra’s understandably distracted teammates.