By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel and his players have criticized UEFA for its decision to play the quarterfinal first leg against AS Monaco only 23 hours after a bomb attack on the team bus early Tuesday evening.
After the 3-2 home defeat on Wednesday, the 47-year old called the decision "inhuman" and said his team needed more time to get over the shock caused by the attack which left Dortmund defender Marc Bartra requiring surgery for a broken wrist.
After setting out from the team's hotel to the arena, three bombs hit the Dortmund bus. It is being treated by German authorities as a targeted terror attack.
Tuchel says his team felt helpless after the decision to play the game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday was made only 75 minutes after the attack and says "nobody was fully aware what had happened at that time." The decision, Tuchel complained, was made far away at UEFA headquarters.
"We were attacked as human beings and has nothing to do with professionalism. What is left for us is a feeling of impotence," Tuchel said. His added that his team had been unable to approach the important game with the same concentration as before other matches. He says the game didn't feel like a Champions League encounter.
The team and he had the feeling that they had been treated as "if a can of beer had hit our bus," Tuchel said. The coach complained that his team had not been involved in the decision and was forced into the game. "We have to function, no matter what happens," he said.
Like Tuchel, several Dortmund players criticized the decision. Midfielder Nuri Sahin accused the federation of not thinking about the players as humans.
Sahin spoke about his horrified feelings when he saw his wife and son in front of the family's home after returning after the attack Tuesday evening (all Dortmund's players spent the night in their own homes). He understood that professional football is important and an event like the Champions League had to go on, but says "it was extremely hard today. We could not think about football until kick-off."
Midfielder Julian Weigl said the players tried to spend time with their families and did not get much sleep in the night. Dortmund's Greek defender Sokratis had tears in his eyes when the team applauded the fans for their support after the game. Sokratis made clear "we are no animals; we are human beings with families and kids. We are happy to be still alive. There was no space in my head for this game."
It was more than just Dortmund officials and players who criticized UEFA. Former Germany team captain Lothar Matthaeus accused the body of forcing the club to play. The second leg between BVB and Monaco will be played next Tuesday. Matthaeus said the decision to play a day later was not understandable and the explanation was not acceptable.
In advance of the match, Dortmund's CEO expressed support for the decision as he said his club and football in general would not give in to terror. Hans-Joachim Watzke added that the club had left it to the players to decide if they wanted to play. Before kick-off Watzke made an emotional speech in the team's locker room saying they would not only be playing for Dortmund, but for football in general. It was vital to show that terror and hate will not govern people's lives, he said.
Before kick-off, Dortmund's players wore T-shirts with a message for their Spanish team mate Bartra. "Mucha fuerza, estamos contigo" was written on the T-shirts, which means "much strength, we are at your side." Watzke told media before the game that Dortmund's team was determined to fight for Bartra in the duel against the French side.
On the pitch it was obvious Borussia's players could not perform as they intended to, and the team seemed to be not fully concentrated. It will likely take a while for the club to get over what happened. Enditem