Mats Hummels: The Iconic Borussia Dortmund Captain Looking to Go One Better in the Champions League Final

Borussia Dortmund may have had an underwhelming season domestically, finishing fifth in the Bundesliga and fully in the shadow of the all-conquering Bayer Leverkusen, but Die Schwarzgelben do have the small matter of a Champions League final against Real Madrid at the start of June.


For all their failings on the domestic scene, Dortmund have been near flawless in their run to Wembley. Convincing victories over PSV and Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16 and Quarter-final stages were followed up with a professional showing against PSG in the semi-final. This run has been down in no small part to the influence of their Captain, Mats Hummels. 


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The 2014 World Cup winner, who started his career at Bayern Munich’s famed academy in 1995, made his first team bow in 2007. A loan move to Dortmund in 2008 would see Hummels join the club permanently the following year. The club was in financial turmoil at the time, but the emergence of young talents like Hummels himself, Kevin Grosskreutz, and an unheralded Polish forward by the name of Robert Lewandowski among others would see the club’s fortunes turn around for the better during the years that followed.


This culminated in their last UCL final appearance in 2013-14, where Hummels and Co. would lose out to none other than the club where he started his career; Bayern Munich. Hummels’ 17-year professional career may have been spent at arguably two of the most successful German clubs Dortmund and Bayern Munich, but his mentality and consistency of performances have brought him once again to the cusp of European glory at the tail end of his career.


He may seem an unassuming figure, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Julian Brandt, and Niklas Fullkrug grabbing most of the goals and headlines, but the 35-year-old is a leader by example and this can be seen in his on-pitch performances. A key element in Hummels’ stellar showing in this year’s UCL campaign is his ability to sniff out danger in and around the penalty box and this could be seen in his average clearances and ball recoveries per game of 5.2% and 6.4% respectively according to Sofascore.


His hunger and drive are another side of him that sets him apart. He revealed in 2020 that his move back to Dortmund after 5 trophy-laden years in Munich was because he was finding it hard to motivate himself. After all, he was winning too much.


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“I came back for these moments, ones where I go home after a game and am just euphoric. Above all, there is less euphoria produced when you win so often”. “Also from a sporting perspective, it is very exciting to be constantly under pressure, that second place isn’t good enough,” he added in an interview with at the time.


Hummels will be coming up against the might of Real Madrid, who will be looking to seal a record 15th UCL crown. Whatever the outcome, Hummels’ performances in Europe this season have been memorable and Dortmund’s captain doesn’t seem like slowing down anytime soon.


By: Edward Okaro / @KingArinze

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images