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Mats Hummels: "I will never forget the pictures with our fans"

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"Everything, just everything" is what it means to Mats Hummels to reach a second Champions League final with BVB, after 2013. What was his highlight of the season, what does he remember about the victory in Paris? He reveals it in this interview.

What were your highlights of this Champions League season?
"We had many great moments, but my favourite moment was the goal from Marcel Sabitzer that made it 4-2 at home to Atlético. I get goosebumps when I speak about it. The energy at the stadium and at the club – we noticed that Atlético had accepted the defeat at that point in time, even though there were still 17 minutes to play. It was clear that we would make it. The fact that we felt this moment in the stadium is what sets BVB apart."

What has stayed in your memory about the victory in Paris?
"Nico Schlotterbeck and a second player ran straight over to the fans directly after the final whistle and the whole team followed them to celebrate with the fans. This solidarity with our fans is something very special for us and for the entire club; you must never lose fans like that. The celebrations together were of course wonderful. We continued to celebrate in the changing rooms and in the bus, but I will never forget those images of us out there with our fans."

What can you pass on to the younger players who have not yet been in a final like this?
"One thing is for sure: You cannot predict the emotions that will come. It's the second-biggest match in the world. The biggest match is the World Cup final, the second-biggest is the Champions League final. I've played in both. I'm normally someone who concentrates fully and entirely on my game on the pitch, regardless of the significance or the moment. But the feeling was very different before and during the two games. The importance is so great that you need to prepare yourself for it. It can be overwhelming. You have to be careful that it doesn't make you feel smaller than you are."

Real Madrid have recently been in the Champions League final more often than any other team. What will be decisive?
"Real Madrid are a Champions League team. What can you say? They're the biggest club in the world. They always rely on their strengths. They don't get nervous, whatever happens in a match. It's impressive to see that even if the first 15 minutes don't go well, they don't get restless but rather they know they'll get back into the game. That's what sets them apart. It's fantastic to play a final against them and to have the chance to be the first team to beat them in an international final for about 40 years."

What does Borussia Dortmund mean to you?
"It's always difficult to find the right words. This club is my home, I have spent more than 13 years of my professional career at BVB. I have taken the right steps here to become a professional. When I arrived here, we were 13th in the league and I accompanied all the steps that made us a club on the international stage. As a footballer I am a 'Dortmunder', there's no doubt about that."

What does it mean for you to be in the final with BVB again?
"Everything, just everything. It means everything."