Germany’s football team spent the night at the Stade de France in north Paris after a friendly match against France rather than take the risk of driving through the French capital to their hotel following the attacks that left more than 120 people dead.
“The players were very worried, the information was not very clear and we didn’t want to take any risk on the road, so we decided not to drive through Paris …. (which was) not 100 percent secured and so we stayed in the dressing room,” said Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The attacks at several locations in Paris had erupted in the middle of Germany’s away match against France at the Stade de France, with three loud explosions heard from outside the stadium in the first half.
It later emerged that one of the explosions was near to a McDonald’s restaurant on the fringes of the restaurant, caused by a suicide bomber.
Coach Joachim Loew said those on the bench had wondered about the explosions as the team had already had to move hotels earlier in the day due to a bomb threat.
But it was only when the team was back in the dressing room that they learnt of the full scale of the attacks, with players receiving text messages from worried family and friends, Bierhoff said.
Nevertheless, the players “behaved like real professionals”, said the manager.
After a night in the dressing room, they were taken in small nondescript mini-buses to the airport in the early morning.
– ‘Nightmare for us’ –
“We are of course happy that we have landed safely, but our thoughts are with the relatives and the victims,” said Bierhoff, speaking after the team landed in Frankfurt early Saturday.
“The team is very affected, and therefore we decided to give them a day off today, for them to go home… and be with their loved ones,” he said.
Asked if the team would be ready to play their next fixture against the Dutch on Tuesday, Bierhoff said: “The game stands but we will of course discuss it internally.”
In a statement on the website of the Germany Football Federation, Die Mannschaft expressed their deep shock at the attacks.
“We came to Paris to do what connects us all. To play football together, against each other as friends. And to experience a nice evening with our fans,” they wrote.
“We had looked forward to the game at the Stade de France, which ended for us in a nightmare.
“What the images show will stay with us for a long time. We thought a lot about it overnight in the stadium. We asked ourselves, how could something like that have happened? How can such inhumanity be possible?”
“We found a lot of answers, but none that can explain these cowardly attacks,” they wrote. – Agence France-Presse