Mats Hummels, one of the most highly praised German defenders in recent history, has had an interesting career. He’s switched between the Bundesliga’s top teams, won a World Cup, and induced bouts of panic in strikers everywhere. Here are the football tactics in which Hummels operates, and what makes this player so special.
Mats Hummels’ role for Germany, Dortmund and Bayern
Part modern defender, part ole-fashion destroyer, Hummels’ style of play has always gone down easily with each of the teams in which he has played.
Technically operating as a center-back, his extensive knowledge of the game, his strength, and his not-oft praised ball control, make Mats Hummels capable of taking on a defensive midfielder role when needed, and can even operate in wider areas at different times during the game.
At one point, or another, sought after by some of the world’s biggest clubs, the defender’s fate has been to be identified exclusively with the development of German football during the last decades.
Famously, Hummels was a starting player for die Mannschaft‘s World Cup-winning side of 2014, a team that ravaged tournament favorites Brazil, and won the trophy outright thanks to Mario Gotze’s goal in the final.
In that squad he operated as a central defender with ball-playing duties, forming a strong partnership with future Bayern Munchen teammate, Jerome Boateng.
Mats Hummels’ stats
The defender is especially famous for his highly physical display. Mats Hummels‘ height, strength, and stamina make him a tough defender to play against. His aggressive nature on the pitch and willingness to dive into tackles remind viewers of the defending strongmen of old, no nonsense, kick your head in type of players.
At 31 years of age, during the 2019/20 season, Hummels’ stats have been as impressive as ever. Per game for Dortmund, he registered 1.7 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 0.5 blocks, and committed only 0.9 fouls per match.
Impressive as they are, these stats do not tell the entire story. While Hummels is principally known as a rough and ready defender, in fact, his positioning and ball control are the traits that account for his successful career more than anything else.
When out of possession, Hummels’ knowledge of where to move will force strikers, no matter their skill, to move wide, or within an area where the defender can attempt a tackle. The player almost always looks calm and collected, qualities befitting of a world-class defender.
Hummels on the ball is no different. Resembling classic German defensive midfielders like Franz Beckenbauer, or Matthias Sammer, Hummels is usually the player that begins buildup for Borussia Dortmund. It’s not uncommon for him to register a near 90% rate of successful passes throughout an entire campaign.
Hummels in the Bundesliga in 2019/20
Mats Hummels has once again proven vital to Borussia Dortmund this season. He has played nearly every match this season, with his passing and tackling nearly outmatched throughout the Bundesliga.
No doubt, the player himself must breathe a sigh of relief at his rediscovered form. Hummels’ controversial transfer from Dortmund to Bayern, arch-enemies of German football, was not as successful as anticipated. Furthermore, the national team’s poor performances in the 2018 World Cup, got Hummels castigated within the national press.
But, in 2020 Mats Hummels is back to his best and looks certain to have more years in him of playing the role of tough as nails tackler meets passing director.