Sunday 22 July 2018

'In the span of maybe two seconds, I thought of my entire life' - Nuri Sahin recalls Dortmund bomb attack

Nuri Sahin of Dortmund is seen prior the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park on April 12, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Nuri Sahin of Dortmund is seen prior the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco at Signal Iduna Park on April 12, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Jack O'Toole

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin said that his life flashed before his eyes when the Dortmund team bus was the target of a bomb attack back in April.

Dortmund's team bus was rocked by three explosions before the club's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Monaco last season.

Dortmund would lose the tie 6-3 on aggregate, but Sahin said that he would never forget the look of terror in the eyes of teammate Marc Bartra who broke the radial bone in his arm following the explosion.

"The drive from the hotel to the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund is just a few minutes," Sahin wrote in an article on The Players' Tribune

"Just enough time to have a quick chat with whoever you’re sitting next to. I was sitting with Marcel, and I remember him asking for a bottle of water from the shelf next to me right after we had started moving. I reached over and then … BANG! An explosion blew in our window.

"Then everything started happening in slow-motion. I had no idea what was going on. I just sort of … froze … I guess. But my mind was racing.

"In the span of maybe two seconds, I thought of my entire life. I thought of dying — but I thought of living, too.

"And then I thought of my family. I saw my five-year-old son, my one-year-old daughter and my wife. I could feel them there with me.

"And then I snapped out of it … and I realized where I was. I turned around and saw my teammate Marc Bartra.

"His arm was bleeding … bad … and I looked up and saw his eyes. I’ll never forget his eyes. They were dark and terrified.

"I saw other guys behind him start to stand up, but I screamed as loud as I could, “Stay down! Stay down! Get away from the windows!”

"We had no idea what was happening or if it was over yet. I yelled at the bus driver, “Don’t stop! Please, please, please do not stop! Just keep moving! We have to move!”

"I thought that maybe people were going to try to get on the bus and, you know … kill all of us.

"The bus moved a couple more meters up the road before we could settle ourselves and see that nobody was outside. My ears were ringing, but I was O.K. I was alive.

"I turned on my phone and called my wife and my mom. I told them that I was all right — but that I didn’t know what had happened exactly. I hung up, looked around and everyone was just … still. Nobody was moving or talking. I didn’t really look at the bus when I got off … I just wanted to be away from it.

"A few minutes later somebody brought me a phone. It was Marc’s wife. I was the only player on the team besides Marc who could speak Spanish, so I had to tell her what had happened — or at least try.

"I told her that Marc was on the way to the hospital and that we weren’t sure how badly he was hurt. I could hear her crying. I won’t forget that sound for as long as I live. Never. I wouldn’t wish what she was feeling in that moment on my worst enemy.

I didn’t cry after we got off the bus — I was just in shock. I was just trying to breathe."

A 28-year-old dual Russian and German national, named only as Sergei W under local privacy laws, is facing charges of attempted murder for the attack.

German prosecutors allege he hoped to profit from the attack in a scheme similar to the plot of 'Casino Royale', by trading in shares in the football team. Sergei was said to be a quiet, unassuming man who lived in a two-bedroom flat with his parents.

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