LIVERPOOL — Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken about his shock following the bomb attack that took place in Germany this week, saying he is “proud” of how the players at his former club Borussia Dortmund have handled themselves.
Three explosions rocked the Borussia Dortmund team bus as it made its way to the Westfalenstadion for a Champions League match against Monaco on Tuesday, injuring defender Marc Bartra and causing the game to be postponed for just under 24 hours.
Klopp, who managed Dortmund between 2008 and 2015, says he was “concerned” and “scared” for his former players and colleagues when he first heard the news.
“First of all, I don’t think what I say is too important, but how everyone can probably imagine, it was a really difficult moment for me because I don’t know how often I was in the team hotel at Dortmund,” Klopp told a news conference. “I know exactly the road, exactly the place where it is. A lot of my friends were in the bus.
“At first, I was on the way home here from Melwood and [Liverpool’s head of press] Matt [McCann] called me and told me that something happened with the bus.
“I tried immediately to get information, it was strange and I was really concerned and I was scared for them. Then how it was for everybody, in the first moment it looked like a little bit of relief, not too serious, then the more information you could get, the more serious it got and that was really difficult.
“Of course, I had contact with a few people but I didn’t want to bother them with my silly questions that I had, so I was waiting like all the rest for more information in the media. I tried to watch everything I could watch, I tried to get the information I could get. The last thing I thought about in this moment was the game, actually.”
Monaco won the quarterfinal first leg 3-2 on Wednesday, with Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel critical of UEFA’s decision to play the game so soon after the attacks.
Klopp says he understood why the game went ahead, but believes the decision-makers would not have made that choice had they been in the bus themselves.
“I watched the game yesterday and I can 100 percent understand both sides — it was difficult, first of all, to find another date in this really tight schedule because when would you want to play the game? But of course, I think they would understand if you say: ‘OK, we don’t play it, we find a solution next week,'” Klopp added.
“I saw the game and I was really proud of Borussia Dortmund, how they handled it, how they created this atmosphere. Again, the game was not too important but when they played the game they tried to be at their best.
“I heard the interviews after the game and I saw the faces of my former players and saw the shock in their eyes and that was really hard, so I forgot the game again immediately. I only thought about them.
“It will obviously take time to deal with it in a proper way because I’m pretty sure if some of the people who made the decision afterwards would have been in the bus then they wouldn’t have played the game. If you’re not in the bus then I’m sure you cannot really imagine how it was exactly.
“The game is over and it’s done, it was a football game. Now they have a few days to try to learn to live with it, that’s how it is. I’m like all the other football fans in the world but the only difference between me and them is that I know all of them, so that makes it more difficult for me, but that’s all.”
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.
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