Mats Hummels: The modern head of defence
Only 21 goals conceded, that speaks for itself: The defence is the showpiece of Borussia Dortmund. And even though defending the own goal starts up front with Lucas Barrios, the BVB defenders have the biggest share in this great balance. One of them stands out from the rest: Mats Hummels. He is more than a part of Borussia's back four, that earned the respect of opposing strikers throughout the season – no he is the head of the defence of the Deutsche Meister.
More than three years ago when Borussia borrowed the 22 year young Hummels from Germany's record champions, he immediately caused positive regard in the holey defensive line with Wörns, Brzenska and Amedick. He often played right fullback or defensive midfield as well – but only with moderate success on these positions. The reason for this: Under coach Thomas Doll not continuity but chaos reigned in Borussia's defence.
Under Jürgen Klopp all that changed. The championship winning coach placed reliance on the centrebacks Hummels and Subotic. Both of them thanked him in their own way. While the Serbian international is a rustic representative of his trade and his main strengths are head play, tackles and a hard kick, Hummels is a modern defender. The former Bavarian structures the game from the back: High centimetre-accurate passes on the quick wingers are part of his repertoire as well as smart low passes.
Hummels, a learnt Striker
Even way up front Hummels takes part in the game from time to time. At the end of the season he had 5 goals and 1 assist to his merit.
A situation from the last match of the season against Frankfurt is exemplary for the youngster's offensive drive and gives a hint that the centre back started off as striker in his youth days. Hummels curled a free kick from 22 metres just over the goal and he was really pissed off about it afterwards. The reason for that: “I announced I put it in if you let me take it, so the shot was a failure. In training these free kicks work really well.” What might have increased the upset was the fact that Jürgen Klopp repealed Hummels' ban from offensive free kicks only for the final match of the season.
Room for improvement at his position play
Not only in build-up and in the offence the potential of the former U21 and now real German international is big, he is a defensive bulwark as well. In aerial play the 1.91m tall right foot is almost invincible and he shows almost no weaknesses in low tackles. Only his position play leaves space for progression for the player rated best throughout the season by the kicker sports magazine (2.61 on a 1-6 scale). But you can be sure that Hummels, who has made another huge step forward during the championship year, will learn that as well.
Text: DanielR, tranlated by Web 03.06.2011