I could be writing about how Dortmund were royally screwed by one blatant bad refereeing decision and one that was at least dubious. I could be writing about individual mistakes leading to goals and players failing to deliver the final ball with enough accuracy after going past a Monaco defender with relative ease. I could be writing about that sweet, sweet Shinji Kagawa goal that kept the tie somewhat open at half-time.
I wish I could, actually.
But the only thing I can think about as I write these sentences is the fact that today, not even 24 hours after someone tried to take their lives in a cowardly attack on the team bus a few miles away from Westfalenstadion, players and staff of Borussia Dortmund were forced to go to work and perform like professionals. While one of their own, Marc Bartra, was still in the hospital, recovering from surgery after suffering damage to his arm and hand.
Today, we saw human beings who underwent a traumatic situation misused to show the world that football doesn’t cower before terrorism. Everything back to normal, as quickly as possible. The emotional overload that was put into these 90 minutes l would’ve been too much to handle for any group of people. The fact that players such as Julian Weigl and Nuri Sahin felt they needed to remind the audience that they were just that, people, human beings, is quite telling.
— Viasat Fotball (@ViasatFotball) April 12, 2017
However proud Dortmund fans are about the team’s strong showing in the second half, they should be equally as angry with the fact that the game took place on Wednesday. The only people who should be making a decision on this should’ve been those affected by the attack. Of course, there are time frames to be respected and options are anything but limitless. Especially with Monaco still involved in a title race in Ligue 1.
But the fact of the matter is that the people who endured an attempt on their lives were never involved in the debate over when the game would be played when all was said and done. Head coach Thomas Tuchel described in great detail the feeling of helplessness that overcame the team and staff when they were told about the decision to play the game a mere 23 hours after the attack.
They were told because they were never asked. Get this: The people who lived through the horror of an attack with multiple explosive devices were an afterthought as UEFA and club officials decided when the game was going to go ahead. Human beings were not important enough to be given time to process. Of course dealing with an incident like this is in itself a process that takes a long time, for some people at least. But even the most hardened individual will need more than one day to get in the right mindset to perform a stressful job under a lot of pressure.
The fact that nobody seemed to care much about the victims of a terror attack is quite alarming, a sign of a brutalisation of our society as a whole. Because this wasn’t about the microcosm of football. It was about going back to what is generally perceived to be “normality.”
There was no normality for players and staff members, and there likely won’t be for a while. Whoever made them play the game today should take a long, hard look at their priorities. That may even include the club’s own officials, since the club seemed to be fine with the game taking place in a press conference late on Tuesday evening. Ultimately, however, the decision lies with UEFA. And, as so often, a sport’s governing body has once again proved that the values for which it supposedly stands, fair play and respect, are only worth so much when push comes to shove.
To me, that is a deeply troubling knowledge.