Soccer Attack

Injured Dortmund Defender Recovers from Surgery

1. FC Koeln v Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga
Well wishes from Merkel reached the player after his operation. Source: Getty Images

A Spanish soccer player was recovering from surgery on Wednesday after being injured in a bomb attack targeting a bus transporting his team, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, ahead of a match on Tuesday evening.

Marc Bartra, the 26-year-old defender, sustained severe injuries to his right arm and hand after three bombs planted in bushes went off as the bus was passing, shattering windows. The team, one of Germany’s most successful, was on its way to the stadium to face AS Monaco in a Champions League quarter final.

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki told sports TV channel Eurosport Mr. Bartra was “hit by shards from the rear window.” The match was postponed to Wednesday.

Physicians operated on the Spanish player, who is recovering. “We heard everything went well,” Dortmund president Reinhard Rauball told German broadcaster n-tv.

The club was inundated with messages of support from Germany and abroad, including local fans offering to accommodate stranded Monaco supporters, all the way up to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She called Dortmund’s chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, on Wednesday morning, congratulating him for “not giving in to terror” and going ahead with the match “at this difficult time” instead. An enthusiastic soccer fan, Ms. Merkel will keep her fingers crossed for Dortmund during the game on Wednesday evening, the club wrote on its website.

On Wednesday afternoon, the injured player had recovered enough to confirm to his fans via social media that he was doing all right, first with an Instagram picture showing him grinning broadly despite a heavily bandaged right arm, then with Twitter postings in Spanish and English.

Mr. Bartra played seven seasons with Spanish side FC Barcelona before joining Dortmund in 2016 in a four-year deal. He has played 12 times with the Spanish national squad since being selected in September 2014.

Depending on how quickly the defender recovers, he might be able to return to the pitch before the end of this season. But in the next few matches, Borussia Dortmund will probably have to make do without him.


Jean-Michel Hauteville is an editor at Handelsblatt Global in Berlin. To reach him:

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