BERLIN (AFP) - Thomas Tuchel praised Borussia Dortmund’s “incredible character” as Saturday’s (April 15) emotional 3-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt brought a happy ending to a traumatic week for the German club.
It was Dortmund’s first Bundesliga match since the bomb attack on their team bus in mid week and some players fought back tears afterwards.
It came the same day that Spanish international Marc Bartra, who needed wrist surgery after being injured by flying glass in Tuesday’s explosions, was released from hospital.
After losing Wednesday’s rescheduled Champions League quarter-final first leg to Monaco 3-2 at home, the Dortmund players admitted that they were still coming to terms with the attack.
Coach Tuchel said his players were “learning to deal with the fluctuating emotions (from the attack)”.
“The players have shown incredible character and deserve the best possible compliment,” he said after the win over Frankfurt.
“It was an extraordinary performance.” Germany winger Marco Reus scored on his return after six weeks out injured.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were also on target in a victory which allowed Dortmund to all but wrap up a top-four finish and boost morale at the end of a traumatic week.
“I dedicate my goal to Marc Bartra and his family,” said defender Sokratis.
The Dortmund squad held Bartra’s number five shirt aloft as they celebrated in front of their home fans after the final whistle with some players on the verge of tears.
“For the players it is easier if they are on the pitch after the final whistle,” said Tuchel.
“Marc Bartra is one of us. After the final whistle it was a wonderful interaction with the fans.
“Such emotional moments like that are simply really important.” Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer said playing again helped calm emotions as the team works through their trauma and the club has offered psychiatric help.
“During the 90 minutes it was easier than on Wednesday,” said Schmelzer.
“We had a goosebump moment in front of our south stand. Things haven’t got better since Wednesday.
“We’re in constant contact with Marc Bartra, you can see he’s doing better and wants to get back to playing with us again soon.
“We’re talking a lot and working through it. Professional help has been offered, which I think is only right.
“I just hope things will get better. I think as a team it will bring us closer together.”
Dortmund face another test of character on Wednesday when they play Monaco in the return leg looking to overturn their home defeat and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2013.
Police are still hunting for the culprits of the triple blasts.