Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra has told the trial of a man accused of bombing the football team’s bus last year that he was afraid of dying in the attack.
The April 11 blasts shattered a window of the bus and hit Bartra with shrapnel, leaving the team without the Spanish defender for about a month after he had to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his wrist.
A police officer also was hurt in the explosions, which hit the bus as it left a hotel in Dortmund for a Champions League match against Monaco.
The 28-year-old suspect, who has been identified only as Sergej W in line with German privacy rules, told the Dortmund state court earlier this month that he carried out the attack, but did not intend to kill or hurt anyone. He denies attempted murder.
Bartra appeared as a witness today. He said in a statement read by lawyer Alfons Becker: "I feared for my life. I feared I would never see my family again.
"When I remember it, I don’t feel good," he said.
Dortmund’s star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was also due to appear today, but Becker told the court that "he won’t testify today because he is ill".
A note from Dortmund’s team doctor did not reveal any details.
Prosecutors and the presiding judge indicated that they were not impressed with the explanation.
There was no immediate decision on whether Aubameyang might face a fine.
Prosecutors also allege that W took out a loan to place a bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares would drop in value, then bombed the bus and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism.
Dortmund is the only German football club whose shares are listed on the stock exchange.
The defendant has testified that he was trying to fake an attack and designed the explosives in such a way "that no harm to people could be expected".