Borussia Dortmund is leading the table in the last match day. While some players can be celebrated as the faces of the championship just one win away this season, another has become a secret hero in the decisive weeks: Mats Hummels.
It was already the 90th minute when Mats Hummels, supported by two supervisors, dragged himself towards the BVB bench with a cut and a big violet and clenched his right fist just before the goal. He saw, probably only with one eye, Julian Brandt’s acclaimed goal to make it 3-0.
The 34-year-old was the symbol of Borussia Dortmund’s important success in Augsburg – his exhausted appearance is indicative of the regained championship lead. After a hard fight, with many ups and downs, BVB is in pole position before the showdown on the way to the championship trophy.
Hummels himself served as a physical reminder to his teammates when he was substituted and already on the pitch that there is much more at stake than “just” a win at a club from the bottom of the table.
For example, when he won a hard-fought duel against FCA attacker Ermedin Demirovic in his own half and received well-deserved applause for it. Or when he loudly shook up his teammates when the score was 1-0 after another counterattack chance for the home side. The whole truth is that BVB was unnecessarily passive despite being outnumbered, repeatedly let the sloppiness hang out and occasionally invited Augsburg to take the point they no longer thought possible.
The quality on the offensive, Gregor Kobel and Hummels’ self-sacrificing performance ultimately led to BVB being able to win the ninth championship title on matchday 34 in front of their home crowd against Mainz 05 on their own.
BVB: Fans celebrate Mats Hummels loudly
The numerous BVB supporters who traveled with Hummels also recognized what part Hummels had in the victory. They chanted his name loudly and literally whipped him onto the longed-for bench before the shouts spilled over into a sea of jubilation. After the final whistle, Hummels, who was already slightly recovered, was the first to encourage a party in the away block.
BVB can also build on his charisma and experience in the grand final. Because coach Edin Terzic immediately gave the all-clear. Hummels was “tacked in the eye” after Maximilian Bauer hit his knee and got “a nice violet”, but he was “happy and we’re sure that it’s nothing that throws him off track.”
Hummels himself, however, remained silent. He couldn’t elicit more than an “everything okay” in the mixed zone. Due to his unclear future, he has been refraining from any interviews for a long time, which is quite unusual compared to before. There was one for that Picture of his eye from the cabin with the words “Worth everything”. No more words were needed, however. After all, he had once again let his actions speak for themselves.
Mats Hummels: One last hurray abroad?
Deeds that would also look good on a freshly crowned champion in the coming season. As is well known, Hummels’ contract expires in the summer. How things will continue, however, still seems completely open.
According to reports, future cooperation is not up to the club, but to Hummels himself. He has already received an offer for slightly lower salaries, but he is still hesitating. This is also related to the interest of clubs from Spain and Italy, reports the Picture.
One last hurrah abroad? It would not be to blame Hummels, who has only played in the Bundesliga so far. Especially since he would very likely have to line up behind Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck for the new season. That was already the case in the first few months of this year (104 minutes between January and March), before the central defender duo, who were actually seeded, took turns getting injured.
In the seven starting XI appearances in a row since then he has shone – apart from minor mistakes, which were mostly due to his lack of speed – with appealing performances. In the shadow of the outstanding offensive trio of Sébastien Haller, Julian Brandt or Jude Bellingham, Hummels could become the unsung hero of the championship.
Mats Hummels: Sebastian Kehl is pushing for a decision
Terzic wants the resulting competition to continue, as he explained at the matchday press conference: “Mats is the most available central defender this season. We knew we could always rely on him. He does that exceptionally well.”
However, Hummels does not have much time to make a decision. Sports director Sebastian Kehl is also pushing for this, and he wants clarity “preferably before the end of the season”.
A declaration of loyalty from Hummels around a championship celebration should probably not bother Kehl, even if he doesn’t want to waste any thought on it.