Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels is one of the best No.5s in the game. - © DFL
Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels is one of the best No.5s in the game. - © DFL
60 years of Bundesliga

Mats Hummels: 10 things on Borussia Dortmund's World Cup-winning centre-back


A six-time Bundesliga champion, a 2014 FIFA World Cup winner, a 2013 UEFA Champions League finalist and a goalscorer in 16 consecutive top-flight campaigns, Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels is one of German football's golden boys.

While Hummels' life story and curriculum vitae are as familiar as the sight of one of his famed outside-of-the-boot passes, has collated 10 lesser-known facts about the centre-back-cum-fashion-model.

1) Mummy's boy

Had Hummels not been a footballer, it is safe to say he would have been a football writer or broadcaster. The defender's mother, Ulla Holthoff, has been a sports journalist for over four decades and, in 1990, became the first woman to commentate a live football match on German TV when working for national broadcaster ZDF.

She has since presented the lead sports show on Bavarian television, but recalled how she used to take a young Mats to work with her: "For some shows he'd sit in the TV wagon at the back and was allowed to press the button for the graphics to appear on the screen," she said. "When he's in a stadium nowadays, it's guaranteed there'll be at least one journalist telling him: 'I know you, you used to be so small!'"

Hummels came through the youth ranks at Bayern Munich. - 2007 Getty Images

2) Brotherly love

While Mats hasn't yet made it into the media (although his eloquent post-match interviews indicate that a TV career is a post-football certainty), then his brother, Jonas, has. Like Mats, Jonas began his football career in the Bayern Munich academy, but joined third-tier Unterhaching in 2008.

Also a centre-back, the younger Hummels was made the club's youngest ever captain in 2012 by former Bayer Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich, but a succession of knee ligament injuries prompted a premature retirement four years later at the age of 25. Admitting that he "would never have been as good" as Mats, Jonas now works for German TV channel DAZN as a football expert, regularly acting as co-commentator or pundit on live broadcasts.

3) A defensive father

If media work is a family tradition, then so are defensive duties. Hermann Hummels, father of Mats and Jonas, was also a defender, representing a string of lower-league clubs during his 12-year playing career, which ended in 1990. He became better known as a coach, and after an interim spell in charge of Mainz in the 1994/95 season - when he oversaw the development of a certain Jürgen Klopp - Hermann pitched up at Bayern, where he would remain as youth coach until his retirement in 2012. He now works as an agent, representing both of his sons, among others.

Hummels excelled in Dortmund, where he was handed his big break by Jürgen Klopp. - imago/Thomas Bielefeld

4) Crossing the divide

Having initially started out at Bayern, Hummels is not only one of a rare group of players to have crossed the Klassiker divide, but he has done so on multiple occasions. He first made the switch by joining Dortmund on an initial loan in January 2008 - a move which was made permanent just over a year later. His first Dortmund spell would last over eight years until he again cross the threshold by re-signing for Bayern in 2016.

Three seasons, three titles and more than 100 appearances later, Hummels was again swapping the Allianz Arena for the Signal Iduna Park ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. He got the better end of the fixture as a Bayern player, registering a win percentage of 66.67 (P9, W6, D0, L3) in all competitions against Dortmund and 27.57 percent (P29, W8, D4, L17) for BVB against FCB.

5) Klopp the babysitter

Hummels has hazy memories of Klopp from when his father Hermann was in charge at Mainz in 1994/95. "I recognised him, but I was too young to have any real memories," he once said.

The current Liverpool boss no doubt still recalls babysitting his coach's son alongside then-goalkeeper Stephan Kuhnert. The job apparently involved little more than watching a six-year-old Hummels kick the ball relentlessly off the garage door.

Little wonder that just over 10 years later, when the pair were reunited at Dortmund - with Klopp still watching over Mats, just this time as his coach - Hummels told the Daily Mail the relationship was "almost like family... One day we would be there, screaming at each other, but the next day it was all fine. He understood me, I understood him."

They remain close (as you would expect after two Bundesliga titles, a DFB Cup and a run to the UEFA Champions League final), with Klopp inviting Hummels to his 50th birthday party in June 2016. The World Cup winner had to decline as it clashed with his own wedding anniversary. "Otherwise I would have been at Kloppo's 50th, of course," he insisted.

Among his many accolades, Hummels is a World Cup winner with Germany and has also filled in as captain of his country. - imago/Sch¸ler

6) A charitable man

Off the field, Hummels donates plenty of time to charitable causes. In 2017, he spent three days in Malawi as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with the aim of bringing German attention to child poverty in the southern African nation. "I want to raise awareness for this cause in my country so that they can donate more money to people in Malawi, especially the children," he said. "I am deeply saddened seeing the poor conditions these kids are growing up in. Help is urgently needed in so many different ways," Hummels then wrote on Instagram.

The Bergisch Gladbach native also donates one per cent of his salary to Common Goal, the initiative co-founded by former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata. "Through the one per cent pledge, we're building a bridge between football and its social impact around the world," Hummels said.

7) A Selecao fan

If you ever see Hummels celebrating by making an 'S' shape with his hand - as he did in his early days at Dortmund - then it is a nod to his Munich school team, who used to call themselves the 'Selecao' after the Brazil national team.

8) Old big ears

Having come so close to winning the Champions League in 2013 - when Dortmund were beaten 2-1 in the final by Bayern - Hummels is desperate to lift the European Cup before his career finishes. "If we were guaranteed to win the Champions League, then I'd swap quite a lot to get my hands on it," he told Goal after Bayern's semi-final exit to eventual champions Real Madrid in 2018.

Playing with Arjen Robben, who scored the winning goal at Wembley, only served as a reminder of how close Hummels came to winning the big prize. "They always show that moment in the stadium before the game," the Dutchman - who played with Hummels at Bayern between 2016 and 2019 - once told Bild. "Whenever we're warming up, Mats comes over to me and we say that we need to create a new moment for the big screens."

Watch: Quarter-back Hummels

9) Twitter Q&A king

A regular user of Twitter and Instagram, Hummels often runs impromptu Q&A sessions for his fans on social media. Topics range from all things football to basketball and life inside the professional bubble - such as one pre-World Cup 2018 Q&A session with Jerome Boateng in the back of a car. "It usually happens spontaneously," he told Goal. "Sometimes there's nothing to say and I don't have to offer an opinion on everything... I follow a lot of amusing, sarcastic accounts. Expressing yourself succinctly [in few characters] is part of the fun of it."

10) 16 years on the scoresheet

It took Hummels until his fourth top-flight season to score his first Bundesliga goal, finding the back of the net for Dortmund in a 3-3 draw against Werder Bremen in the 2007/08 campaign. Despite being a centre-back, he has found the back of the net in each of the following 15 campaigns, becoming only the fifth player after Olaf Thon, Michael Zorc, Holger Fach, Bernd Nickel and Willi Neuberger to score in 16 consecutive  Bundesliga terms. He opened his account in 2023/24, the most recent of that run, with a crucial brace against Freiburg as BVB came from 2-1 down to prevail 4-2. No player has scored in 17 successive seasons, so Hummels still has the opportunity to make even more history.

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