He embodies the modern idea of the beautiful game, intelligently building the game from the back and skilfully stopping opposition attacks. More often than not, he is in front of the strikers and makes barely any fouls (just 0.7/match). However, this summer he’s making a courageous dash…down the aisle with long-term girlfriend Cathy.
Mats Hummels has refined technical abilities at his disposal, counts an excellent passing ability amongst his strengths and stays completely calm under pressure. He’s convincing with his calm and self-sure appearances as well as his excellent positional play. When in possession of the ball, the 26 year old moves like a playmaker and gladly/happily sets up attacks with exact passes. As a result, he’s often targeted by the opposition.
He emphasises how happy he is at Dortmund: “I’ve got a constellation of sorts here that would probably be impossible to find anywhere else. I’d like to take everything as it comes”. His loyalty to the club led him to extend his contract until 2017.
In 2008, Hummels was part of the youngest defending partnership in the Bundesliga, alongside the then 19 year old Neven Subotic. They’re still playing side by side today. “I always said that Mats was a rocket,” said Hummels’ supporter and the man who discovered him, Hermann Gerland. The ex Co- and Amateur manager of Bayern expressed his frustration that “we never could have sold him”.
Mats Hummels was born in Bensberg, near Cologne. He played for Bayern Munich from the age of 7, where his father was the “junior manager of the lower levels”. At the start of his career, he still played up front and scored goal after goal. But Hermann and the manager responsible for him recognised early on that his defensive qualities were even greater. Bit by bit, they retrained Mats to become a flexible defender.
During the 2005/6 season, Hummels was called up to the regional team FC Bayern by Hermann Gerland. By 1 January 2007, he’d secured himself a professional contract. His Bundesliga debut came on the last day of the 2006/7 season against FSV Mainz 05 in the same match as defending partner Subotic. The pair had already won the U21 European Championships together in summer 2009. Together, they made up an almost impenetrable fortress in the 2012/13 Champions League campaign, which only ended in the final at Wembley with a 2-1 loss to Bayern Munich.
One of the values that his parents Hermann and Ulla passed on to him was that “you don’t always get what you want.” As a youth international watching a Germany match from the sidelines, Hummels showed that modesty isn’t an optional extra. He didn’t travel to the stadium in a “VIP shuttle”, choosing instead to travel in a packed Underground train like many of the fans. Meanwhile he is an outstanding international; he was the only defender to be nominated by FIFA for the “Golden Ball” award. Dortmund’s “chief of defence” was one of the key figures in the 2014 World Cup campaign, and not just at the back. Hummels contributed to two championship-winning goals, as well as the winning goal in the quarter final against France.