Borussia Dortmund bus attack still causing 'post-traumatic stress' - CEO
Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has suggested April's attack on the club's team bus could have had some effect on their current crisis on the pitch.
Having won 19 points from their first seven matches this season, Dortmund have since collapsed and only picked up two points from their last six Bundesliga games, while they have already crashed out of the Champions League. In the 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt and Saturday's 4-4 draw against Schalke, they were on the wrong side of comebacks.
As Dortmund continue to back head coach Peter Bosz for now, Watzke has said that April's attack on the team bus could still have a negative effect on the team.
Three explosions rocked the team bus on April 11 as the players and staff travelled from their team hotel to the Westfalenstadion for their Champions League match against Monaco, which was postponed to the following day and Dortmund subsequently lost.
"We should not underestimate that it can still trigger post-traumatic stress months after it happened," Watzke said during his speech at the club's annual shareholders' meeting.
"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."
Dortmund defender Marc Bartra sustained an injury requiring surgery on a broken bone in his wrist, while a motorcycle police officer accompanying the team bus suffered an ear blast injury.
In April, investigators said that "if the bombs had been fired around one second earlier, the bus would have taken the full load. Then there would have certainly been several severely injured and maybe even dead people."
BVB have not changed their procedures on matchdays, and in late August they said they will continue to use the same team hotel, l'Arrivee, in Dortmund's rural south.
"The overwhelming majority of the players have come out in favour of finally returning to normality. That's why we will continue to stay at l'Arrivee," BVB sporting director Michael Zorc said at the time.
The hotel owner, Ernst Claussmeyer, told Ruhr Nachrichten in August that "the contract is extended if we don't hear from BVB."
The trial of a 28-year-old German-Russian man accused of carrying out the bomb attack is set to begin at Dortmund's regional court on Dec. 21.
The defendant, identified only as Sergey W., in keeping with German privacy law, has been charged with 28 counts of attempted murder, causing an explosion and two counts of serious bodily harm.
Prosecutors say the defendant hoped to profit from a drop in the football club's share price as a result of the attack.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.