Borussia Dortmund loses Monaco game rescheduled after blasts

Borussia Dortmund loses Monaco game rescheduled after blasts

DORTMUND, Germany — Borussia Dortmund lost its rescheduled Champions League quarterfinal with Monaco 3-2 on Wednesday after tributes were paid to the player injured when three explosions targeted the German team’s bus.

Teammates of Marc Bartra, who underwent surgery for injuries to his wrist and arm after Tuesday’s attack, wore T-shirts emblazoned with the defender’s picture and words saying: “A lot of strength — we are with you.”

And Dortmund didn’t let Bartra down on the field despite losing the first leg, which was originally due to be played on Tuesday.

Far from capitulating against one of Europe’s high-scoring sides, for whom Kylian Mbappe scored twice, Dortmund fought back to deny Monaco a commanding lead to take into the second leg.

“Of course it affected everyone on our team,” Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic told British broadcaster BT, sidestepping questions about whether the game should have gone ahead so soon after a traumatic incident.

“Today was the day that the game was and we had to play it. So we tried to go out and I’m still proud of us for being strong and going out and playing regardless.”

There was an early reprieve for the hosts when Fabinho missed a penalty after Mbappe was held back. And it was a fortuitous opener from Mbappe in the 19th minute, with Thomas Lemar’s cross deflecting off his knee and going into the net.

But Lars Bender, the midfielder who replaced Bartra in the starting lineup and deployed as a makeshift defender, was left red-faced when he headed Andrea Raggi’s cross into his own net in the 35th minute for 2-0 to Monaco.

Dortmund made two changes at halftime and the impact was immediate, with a high tempo opening to the second half. Christian Pulisic unsettled the visitors with his runs and fellow substitute Nuri Sahin instigated a wonderful team move that ended with Ousmane Dembele scoring.

Sahin surged forward before working the ball out to the left flank. Raphael Guerreiro then crossed to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who knocked the ball forward for Shinji Kagawa to square to Dembele to tap into the net.

There was another moment of misfortune in the Dortmund defence in the 79th when Lukasz Piszczek’s sloppy back pass to Sokratis Papastathopoulos was intercepted by Mbappe who knocked in his 19th goal of the season.

Dortmund responded within five minutes, with Sahin whipping the ball into the penalty area and Kagawa turning Jemerson before slotting into the net.

The game took place amid heightened security after a review of the policing operation by authorities in Germany and Spain at all three Champions League games on Wednesday. In Munich, Bayern was hosting Real Madrid while in the Spanish capital Atletico Madrid was playing English champion Leicester.

Three explosions went off near the bus carrying Dortmund’s team to the stadium on Tuesday just after it left a hotel, blowing in a window at the back and shards of glass struck Bartra.

After an operation, Bartra on Wednesday posted a photo of himself online with a bandage wrapped around much of his right arm, and a smaller bandage around his left wrist. The centre back made a thumbs-up gesture with his left hand and wrote on Instagram that he’s “doing much better.”

Dortmund said Bartra won’t be able to play for several weeks.

Mike Corder, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

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