Having played for BVB previously between January 2008 and June 2016, the 33-year-old centre-back re-joined Borussia Dortmund in July 2019. As of June 2022 (reference date for all stats cited), Hummels has played 430 games (33 goals, 22 assists) for BVB, winning the German Championship in 2011 and 2012 and the DFB-Pokal in 2012 and 2021.
Mats Hummels was born in Bensberg, near Cologne. He played for Bayern Munich from the age of seven, where his father was a youth coach. He played up front at the start of his career and, by his own account, he ''scored goals for fun'', But his father Hermann and his coaches soon recognised that the youngster was blessed with even more quality down the defensive end of the pitch. Bit by bit, they retrained Mats to become the multi-talented defender he is today.
During the 2005/06 season, Hummels was called up to play in the Regionalliga with the Bayern Munich U23 side led by coach Hermann Gerland. By 1 January 2007, he’d secured himself a professional contract. His first appearance in the Bundesliga came on the last day of the 2006/07 season against FSV Mainz 05. Funnily enough, he lined up against his future centre-back partner at BVB - Neven Subotic - who was also making his debut Bundesliga appearance.
After 12 years spent at Bayern, Hummels moved to Borussia Dortmund at the start of 2008. His first appearance in Black & Yellow came in a 1-0 DFB-Pokal win over Werder Bremen on 29 January. He went on to play in the quarter-final and semi-final wins but was left out of the final (a 2-1 defeat to Bayern after extra time) by then head coach Thomas Doll However, in the years to come, Hummels would go on to play in five finals for BVB - more than any other player in club history. During his time as a Dortmund player, he achieved football’s greatest honour: winning the World Cup in 2014. He was the only defender to be nominated for the Golden Ball award for best player at the tournament. Hummels played a key role in Germany’s success, and not just from a defensive point of view. He scored two goals en route to the trophy, including the winner in the 1-0 quarter-final victory over France. He won 76 caps for Germany in total. After a three-year break from international football, he was called back up to the national squad for the European Championship in 2021 and played in all four tournament games for the German national team.
Hummels embodies the modern vision of the beautiful game, intelligently building up play from the back and using his anticipation to break up opposition attacks. More often than not, he gets to the ball before opposition strikers and barely commits any fouls. In 387 Bundesliga games, he has committed only 271 fouls. He possesses extraordinary technical ability, exceptional aerial prowess and a monk-like sense of zen when it comes to pressure situations. He impresses through his calm and confident performances and his excellent positional play. In possession, the 33-year-old often takes up the role of playmaker, bringing the offensive players into the game with his accurate long balls forward. It’s no wonder that opposing teams often look to press him.
From 2016 to 2019, he again wore the colours Bayern Munich, where he won the league three times and the cup once. He can still remember the moment when Hans-Joachim Watzke threw out the decisive bait for him to return. "He asked me if I wanted to be really important again, to be a real leader again," he said in the BORUSSIA member magazine (January 2021 issue): "I realised how much I wanted to do that. How extremely enticing it is."
"One of the most important reasons for me was to be allowed to resume my role as a leader. Alongside the very good team, of course," he added, when asked about his move back to BVB. Since his return in the summer of 2019, he has played 87 of the 102 possible Bundesliga games. Towards the end of last season, he missed an extended period for BVB for the first time since 2013 due to an injury. Despite these enforced breaks, he still made the most interceptions in only 23 appearances in 2020/21 – in fact it was even the most in the whole league. In 20 Bundesliga games with him in the starting eleven, BVB amassed 44 points (2.2 per game) and conceded just 24 goals (1.2) – in the 14 games without him, they managed just 25 points (1.7) and let in 28 goals (2.0). The defensive lynchpin won 62 percent of his duels and has outstanding passing: despite playing many long balls, he has a pass completion rate of 90%.
Hummels is the last remaining double winner of 2012 in the squad of Borussia Dortmund. He is not only seen as a bridge between that golden era and the current one – he relishes that role. "We first had to earn our spurs and prove a few doubters who didn't believe in us wrong." Today, however, many players become stars at a very young age: "I sometimes miss it a little bit – when players really sacrificed themselves every day to get the most out of themselves. That sounds a bit crude now, but that is the only way you can really develop." It is that very attitude that has led BVB to celebrate some of their greatest successes. Hummels tries to be a role model for his fellow players when it comes to a strong mentality.
One of the values that parents Hermann and Ulla passed on to him was that ''you don’t always get what you want.'' Already as a youth international, Hummels’ modesty shone through. When the youth squad was invited to watch the senior team play, Hummels chose not to travel to the stadium in the ''VIP shuttle.'' Instead, he made the journey in a packed U-Bahn train with the rest of the fans.
In total, he has 590 appearances in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and in European club football. He has scored at least once in 14 Bundesliga seasons in a row – a record among active players.
Mats Hummels is married and has one son.