DORTMUND: Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has suggested that European federation UEFA overrode the feelings of the players in ordering an immediate rescheduling of the Champions League tie against Monaco.
The quarter-final first leg was postponed on Tuesday after three explosions close to the Dortmund team bus as it left their hotel before the game. One player, Spanish defender Marc Bartra, needed surgery on wrist and arm injuries.
Hours later the match was called off and rescheduled 24hr later with what UEFA described as the agreement of both clubs and all relevant authorities.
However, after Dortmund’s 3-2 defeat in the rerun, Tuchel said his players felt “completely ignored” over the immediate reorganisation of the game.
His comments suggested a serious breakdown in communication at a crucial time between Tuchel and Dortmund ceo Hans-Jurgen Watzke.
Tuchel said: “We were told by text message that UEFA was making this decision. A decision made in Switzerland that concerns us directly. We will not forget it, it is a very bad feeling.
“Of course we have to keep it going, but we still want to be competitive. We do not want to use the situation as an excuse. We wished we would have had more time to deal with what happened, but someone in Switzerland decided we must play.
“Every player has the right to deal with it in his way. The team did not feel in the mood, in which you must be for such a game.
“We let the players choose if they wanted to play. But this morning, we found that the training had done good, that it had made us think of something else.”
UEFA responded that the decision was made in “complete agreement with clubs and authorities”. It added: “We were in touch with all parties today and never received any information which suggested that any of the teams did not want to play.”
German police have described it as a targeted attack and detained a suspect with “Islamist” links.
Tuchel added: “We were attacked as men and we tried to solve the problem on the ground. Everyone has their own way of reacting to events. The players had the choice not to play, but no-one chose this option.”
Dortmund were 2-0 and 3-1 down to French side Monaco, for whom 18-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe scored twice.
Tuchel said: “The team has shown an incredible character. We have won the second half, the spirit in the second half was great.”
Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim had some sympathy with Tuchel’s view, but said the packed fixture calendar contributed to the hasty rescheduling.
Leonardo said: “Maybe it should not have been played today but the calendar gave few options to be able to play the match. We produced a good result but it’s only half-time of the quarter-final.”
Dortmund’s Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin, who came on as a second-half substitute, said: “It is hard to talk about it and hard to find the right words,” he said. “Last evening we felt how it is to be in this situation. I don’t wish a feeling like this on anyone.
“I didn’t realise what happened and when I got home my wife and son were waiting in front of the door. I felt how lucky we were.
“I know football is very important. We love football, we suffer with football and I know we earn a lot of money and have a privileged life – but we are human beings, there is so much more than football in this world.
“When I was on the bus last night, I can’t forget the faces, I will never forget those faces.”