Munich - He is the archetypal defensive rock every manager dreams of having and is widely regarded as one of the finest centre backs in the world: Mats Hummels.

Let go by FC Bayern only to become the pillar of stabilty at Borussia Dortmund, the 25-year-old has truly taken the game by storm. Here are just a few things you may not have known about the Germany international...

Born in the western town of Bergisch Gladbach, Mats Hummels was just six when his family moved to Munich after his father Hermann, a former twelve-time Bundesliga 2 player with TuS Schloß Neuhaus, took up the position of youth coach at FC Bayern, with Mats also joining the German record champions' youth side.

Mats was 14 when he came under Hermann tutelage, but the future German star was granted no favouritism, instead spending the first few months on the substitutes' bench. When he did play though, he was employed as either a centre back or holding midfielder, despite starting his career as an aspiring striker.

For Mats Hummels, football has always come first. "We didn't use to go on holidays because Mats wouldn't want to miss a single game or training session," his mother Ulla Holthoff told 11Freunde. "Once we went skiing for a week, but he had a football tournament the day we left, so he just stayed home and joined us a day later by train. He was twelve at the time."

Hummels was a surprise regular in Germany head coach Joachim Löw's line-up for EURO 2012 and built a solid defensive partnership with Bayern's Holger Badstuber who, interestingly enough, Hummels had played alongside in defensive midfield at youth level when his father was still in charge at Bayern.

His mother Ulla Holthoff is a well-known sports journalist and became the first woman to commentate on a football game on German television. Mats often went along to broadcasts when he was still a child and even considered working as a journalist himself. "The media is his home," explained Holthoff. "Whenever he has a match, there's at least one journalist saying, 'I remember when you were little'."

"Mats is a bookworm," Ulla told 11Freunde, "he read a lot - even at a young age," which might well explain the defender's smooth-tongued interview technique. "He used to read comics in particular. He got his word play from Lucky Luke and Asterix."

He might be compared to Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer due to his unrivalled ball-playing ability, but for Hummels, French playmaker Zinedine Zidane was No1. Being labelled "the most positive surprise" of EURO 2012 by the 1998 FIFA World Champion must have gone down very well indeed in the Hummels household.

In a survey conducted by Sky Germany and the readers of Close magazine, Hummels' girlfriend Cathy Fischer was voted "Germany's most popular WAG 2013" - and she's won another curious title: "Miss FC Bayern 2007". 25-year-old Fischer, who calls Victoria Beckham her idol, and Hummels have been a couple since Mats was 18.

In the 1994/95 season when he took over as interim coach of then-Bundesliga 2 side 1. FSV Mainz 05, Mats' father had none other than current Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp working under his wing. "The ball wasn't always his best friend, but he knows that," Hermann told Bild newspaper.

Mats' 22-year-old brother Jonas currently plys his trade at former Bundesliga side SpVgg Unterhaching of Germany's third division. "Their dream is to play together for the same side," said the duo's mother. Lifting the 2007 championship with Bayern's Under-17s is the Unterhaching captain's greatest success to date.

Compiled by Felix Seaman-Höschele