The final, lasting image of Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday was of the entire team lined up in front of the vertiginous Südtribüne, a shirt with the name 'Bartra' on the back raised aloft.

Marc Bartra was not at the stadium, but he was sorely missed. Four days after an explosion close to the Dortmund team bus which saw the Spaniard require emergency surgery for a wrist injury, Bartra's presence was nevertheless felt, despite his absence.

Watch: Sokratis dedicates goal to Bartra:

"This gesture shows how important the things off the field are to us at this moment, and that Marc gets better soon and that we are all still here," said Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer.

Bartra was discharged from hospital on Friday and he was therefore able to follow proceedings from the comfort of his own home on television. He witness and emotion-packed game in which Dortmund tried to get last week's incident out of their minds for another 90 minutes. "We swore before kick-off that we would put it all to one side while we were out on the field, and that we'd give 100 percent," said goalscorer Sokratis Papastathopoulos – one of BVB's stand-out players on Saturday.

Schmelzer (l.) said it was hard to focus on football again, but added it was a relief they are all able to tell the tale. © gettyimages / Alex Grimm

They certainly succeeded in doing that. "It was an extraordinary show of character," said an impressed coach Thomas Tuchel. "You really can't speak highly enough of it." That demonstration started as early as the second minute, when the returning Marco Reus put Die Schwarzgelben in front with a neat backheeled finish. Dortmund went on to dominate the game, combining well and creating numerous chances before lifting their foot off the accelerator slightly in the second 45 minutes. 

Their minds may have been drifting towards the return leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final with Monaco on Wednesday, but they can be forgiven for also thinking back to and reflecting on a trialling few days. "This goal is totally for Marc and his family," said Papastathopoulos, dedicating his stunning strike to the recovering Spaniard.

Tuchel tried to cut the tension with a joke about the Greek defender's otherwise hit-and-miss shooting ability, saying that "anything could have happened" as he lined up his effort "it could have ended up in row Z or even in the back of the net!" Fortunately for him and Dortmund, it was the latter.

They will now try to get their full focus back on football with time healing the wounds of last week's shock, even if it has been in short supply with two games in the intervening four days. "Up until kick-off, I couldn't even think of football," admitted Schmelzer, who added that he was just happy that they still have the opportunity to play football and go on with life. "The 90 minutes were then a nice distraction," he continued. "But then everything came out which we had been keeping inside us."

Dortmund's players can be expected to pull even tighter together for the season's run-in. © gettyimages / Alex Grimm

Those were the emotions which led to the team trotting in unison towards the Südtribüne with Bartra's shirt on parade. "The one thing that will never change is that Borussia Dortmund will never be defeated," chanted the fans. 

"It gave us goosebumps," admitted Schmelzer, who believes it could be a decisive moment in view of the coming weeks. "I'm sure this is going to pull the team even tighter together," he said. That team includes Bartra, who hopes to return to play some part in the season's run-in after tweeting his pride at being "part of this family"; a family which honours each and every one of its members. 

Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund / Adaptation by Ben Gladwell