650 minutes. Two assists. Two yellow cards.
The look back onto Nuri Şahin's 15/16 season reveals very little that is worthy of remembrance. Being plagued with a fickle and obscure injury - "irritation of adductor's tendons" - Nuri had to sit out all of the Vorrunde. Week after week, fans hoped to hear the magic words in every pre-game press conference: "Nuri is back in the roster for this week's game". And week after week, fans were left disappointed. Since March 2015, it took Şahin exactly one year to regain match fitness. Finally, in the first leg of the Europa League game against Porto, at the end of February, he played his first 57 minutes of the season.
To be back in the #Bundesliga after exactly 365 days felt great and to get the 3 points in a… https://t.co/s5uBTUqOlS— Nuri Şahin (@nurisahin) February 28, 2016
It was a solid performance, remarkable even after his long absense, but until the end of the season, Şahin didn't really become an integral part of the team again. Whether he was being subbed off after 60 - 70 minutes, or got subbed in for the last few, he hardly ever imposed himself as someone to carry the team forward.
Arguably his best performance was the Hamburg game, where Dortmund humbled the Hanseaten. With a strong performance, Şahin started waves of attacks against the flailing Hamburg defense. The other two games that Şahin played ninety minutes in, Sch*lke and Frankfurt, were both rather unremarkable.
That said, Nuri Şahin came back after a long year of injury and into a team that worked like a well-oiled machine. Especially in central midfield, Şahin found very strong competition. İlkay Gündoğan, arguably one of the world's best CMs. Julian Weigl, this season's shooting star. Gonzalo Castro, getting stronger with every game. Finding a spot in that team was no easy task, especially when Şahin still was never really back to 100%.
It's the summer break now. "Silly Season" is in full-swing and rumors pop-up every day. İlkay Gündoğan has left for England. Mikel Merino already signed for Dortmund. All of Europe hunts Weigl, while everyone and his dog is linked to join Dortmund. After the dust settles, we will see who will be available for our central midfield.
The huge advantage of Şahin is his experience, pedigree, and standing with the club. Even though he had numerous stints at other clubs, including Real Madrid and Liverpool, he's been a Dortmunder Jung all along. He knows the club as well as anyone else does, and the club fondly remembers his merits.
He'll be with the Turkish National Team at the European Championships this summer. After that, he'll have time to prepare for next season and get back into shape.
Next year's Dortmund will see many changes. New, young talent comes in, while experienced players leave for other clubs. Tuchel will undoubtedly prepare a new game plan and nobody knows how this plan will work out or who will start at what position. Nuri Şahin is here to stay, and with his experience and personality, he will be a valuable addition to the team after missing so much time to injury.
I can see him being part of the team next year. He has the vision and the skill, if he stays healthy he'll surely find the tenacity to prevail!