Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has explained that the bomb attack on their team bus last April is still having adverse effects on the club and its players.
Dortmund are currently 5th in the Bundesliga table and have failed to make it out of their Champions League group, collecting a mere two points so far.
However, when speaking at the club's annual shareholders' meeting, Watzke is reported by ESPN to have stressed the impact that attack had on the squad:
We should not underestimate that it can still trigger post-traumatic stress months after it happened.
On 11 April 2017, the Dortmund team bus was attacked by roadside bombs while on the way to their home quarter-final first leg against Monaco. Centre-back Marc Bartra broke his arm and required surgery to remove debris, while a police officer was also injured. Watzke said the club now have help in place for players but the consequences of such an incident can be prolonged:
I've discussed this with psychologists. They say that the risk is extremely high some six, seven months after such an attack. We have professional help.
At the time the champions league game was postponed until a day later, Monaco eventually progressing 6-3 on aggregate. After the second-leg Nuri Sahin gave an emotional interview about the effect the attack had on the team:
Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin's post-match interview on their bus attack. #respect
(via @ViasatFotball) pic.twitter.com/x04DDd3niS
— Football Stuff (@FootbalIStuff) April 13, 2017
The trial of the man accused of carrying out the bombing will take place next month, with all the players and former manager Thomas Tuchel set to testify during the case. The defendant is alleged to have hoped to exploit a drop in Dortmund's share price after the attack but now faces 28 counts of attempted murder.
Dortmund threw away a four-goal lead last weekend against Schalke to scrape a 4-4 draw. In a football sphere so inflated with commercialization, egos and wealth we often forget about the very real human problems footballers have to deal with. For Dortmund, their focus this season should be on coming to terms with what happened earlier this year more than anything else.
You can read the ESPN article here.