back to top

Arrest Made As Three Explosions Hit Bus Carrying German Soccer Team In Targeted Attack

The Borussia Dortmund team was headed to a European Champions League quarterfinal match when three explosions went off near the team's bus, injuring one of its players.

Originally posted on
Updated on

An arrest has been made after three explosions hit a bus carrying the German soccer team Borussia Dortmund Tuesday, injuring one of the players on board in a targeted attack, authorities said.

The team was on its way to a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco when the explosions occurred just after 7 p.m. as players were departing from a hotel for the stadium.

Police in the German city of Dortmund referred to the three blasts as "serious explosions" but would not speculate on the motive behind the attack.

"We must now try to process the shock," Borussia Dortmund owner Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

In a late-night press conference, Dortmund Police Chief Gregor Lange said the team appeared to have been targeted by the explosions, the Associated Press reported. A German prosecutor said letters found near the blasts "takes responsibility for the act."

Later on Wednesday afternoon, the federal prosecutor said the contents of the two letters — including demands to withdraw aircraft from Syria and to close an air base — have led them to believe that an "Islamist background is possible" and is being investigated, and possible far-left links had been investigated.

The federal prosecutor also confirmed in a statement that two suspects "from the Islamist spectrum" had been sought, and one had been arrested after searches of both of their apartments.

The statement also gave more details of the explosions, which came from behind a hedge and caused a metal pin to become embedded in the headrest of one of the bus's seats.

Images of the bus following the explosion showed a broken window toward the rear of the vehicle.

The team identified the player injured in the explosion as Marc Bartra, who plays center-back.

Diagnose bei @MarcBartra: Speichenbruch und Fremdkörper-Einsprengungen am rechten Handgelenk. Er wird z.Zt. operier…

He appeared to have injured his wrist from debris in the explosion and was undergoing surgery Tuesday night.

"The thoughts of every one of us at FIFA are with the people of Dortmund, and the fans of both Borussia Dortmund and Monaco following today's troubling events," Gianni Infantino, the president of soccer's world governing body FIFA, said in a statement. "FIFA condemn the incidents in Dortmund. We are all awaiting further details of the incident."

The match against Monaco was postponed until Wednesday evening, the team announced.

On Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund's Chief Executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said he had told his team "to show society that we do not bend before terror," BBC Sport reported.

"We want to show that terror and hatred can never dictate our actions... This is perhaps the most difficult situation that we have faced in the past decades," he added.

Speaking of the rescheduled fixture, Watzke said: "We do not just play for us today. We play for everyone - no matter whether Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen or FC Schalke supporters. And of course we play for Marc Bartra, who wants to see his team win."

Watzke said Bartra had had an operation after breaking the radial bone in his arm and getting debris lodged in his hand.

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.