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Dortmund angry it was forced to play; UEFA says team agreed

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/04/2017 By ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer
Dortmund's Nuri Sahin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lukasz Piszczek, Matthias Ginter and Julian Weigl, from left, react after losing 2-3 during the Champions League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) © The Associated Press Dortmund's Nuri Sahin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lukasz Piszczek, Matthias Ginter and Julian Weigl, from left, react after losing 2-3 during the Champions League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Borussia Dortmund's anger about being forced to play a day after a bomb attack on its bus was contested by European soccer's governing body, which insisted the German team agreed to the rapid rescheduling of its Champions League quarterfinal against Monaco on Wednesday.

After losing 3-2 to Monaco in the first leg, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said his players wanted more time to recover from the previous day's attack that left defender Marc Bartra requiring surgery for injuries to his wrist and arm.

But UEFA said Dortmund was satisfied with playing the first leg against Monaco just 24 hours after three devices packed with metal pins detonated close to the team bus as it headed to the stadium.

"The decision to play the match today at 18.45 (local time) was made last night at BVB stadium in cooperation and complete agreement with clubs and authorities," UEFA communications director Pedro Pinto told The Associated Press. "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."

Tuchel felt that UEFA had not taken the attack seriously enough and claimed "we weren't asked at all at any time" about whether to proceed with the game.

"Basically, we had the feeling that we were being treated as if a beer can had hit our bus, and half an hour later the decision was there that (it would be) tomorrow at 6.45 p.m.," Tuchel said. "That gives you a feeling of powerlessness."

Despite the congested calendar in the final months of the season, Dortmund believed the game could have been shifted to a later date. The second leg is being played next Wednesday in Monaco.

"We were not attacked on the field by an opponent; we were attacked from inside the bus as men," Tuchel said in a post-match broadcast interview with former Norway international Jan Aage Fjortoft. "Of course this has an effect and it was a terrible experience for all of us. We wanted to have a bit more time to deal with it. We didn't get the time.

"The team wanted so badly a bit of time to deal with it so we were in our best shape because the dream is to go to the semifinals in Europe. We had the feeling today everybody that we are not in the best shape, not focused enough for football. Who will blame us for that? Nobody."

Midfielder Nuri Sahin didn't want to be back on the field so soon after being involved in such a traumatic experience.

"I don't know if people can understand this, but until I was on the pitch, in the second half, I didn't think about football to be honest," Sahin said.

"I know football is very important, we love football, we suffer with football ... and I know we earn a lot of money, we have a privileged life. But we are human beings, and there is so much more than football in this world and last night we felt it."

The Dortmund players were back in training on Wednesday morning to prepare for the evening's fixture.

"I have a bit more experience than my players and I told them not to worry so much about it, try not to think so much about it, it does not get better," Tuchel said. "Everybody has the right to deal with it the way he wants to. If you want to talk about it, talk. If you want to be silent, be silent. If you need a hug, I hug you or find someone who hugs you at home.

"It's all different characters and it was very inspiring to see how we dealt with it in the second half. We made a good second half. The game is over now and it feels a bit weird."

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Mike Corder in Dortmund, Germany contributed to this report.

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