Borussia Dortmund officially said goodbye to former defender Marc Bartra on Thursday ahead of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 first-leg tie at home Red Bull Salzburg.
Bartra left Dortmund during the winter transfer period to return to his native Spain with Real Betis after making 51 competitive appearances for BVB after joining from Barcelona in summer 2016.
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"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to visit my old teammates at a home game again so soon after leaving and to say goodbye to the fantastic Dortmund fans," the 27-year-old told the club website ahead of his return. "We experienced and went through a lot together, so I'm sure it'll be a very emotional moment on Thursday, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Bartra's departure was in part a consequence of the attack on the Dortmund team bus prior to the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg against Monaco on 11 April of last year. "Unfortunately he was subject to something absolutely terrible in Dortmund through the cowardly attack," said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. "Given that backdrop, we respect Marc's desire to return to his homeland and leave all that behind him."
Bartra has also praised the use of video assist in the Bundesliga, in light of the technology undergoing some teething problems in Spain and other leagues around the world.
The Spaniard controversially had a goal disallowed for his new club Real Betis in their 2-0 defeat to Valencia on Sunday and subsequently took to Twitter to express his frustration: "In Germany we were all a lot more laid back about it [video assist] because it helps the referees a lot more. Everything happens so fast during a game so it's hard to make the right decision."