Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels thrived in the role of Germany captain against England at Wembley Stadium.
Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels thrived in the role of Germany captain against England at Wembley Stadium.

Bayern Munich and Germany defensive rock Mats Hummels: the new Franz Beckenbauer

Imperious at the back, a natural leader and boasting a passing range Andrea Pirlo would be proud of, it's little wonder Bayern Munich and Germany centre-back Mats Hummels is being likened to Franz 'Der Kaiser' Beckenbauer.

"It's a massive honour for me," Hummels said after stepping up in the absence of injured duo Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller to captain Germany for the first time in Friday's goalless draw with England at Wembley. "I won't say too much more about the comparisons [with Franz Beckenbauer], but it's great. It's just how I try to play."

Hummels' qualities are already the stuff of legend in the Bundesliga, and were plain to see against the Three Lions. The former Borussia Dortmund defender was at his uncompromising best in the tackle, marshalled his troops like any good skipper worth his salt and pinged balls over the top of the home defence with the nonchalance of a seasoned midfielder. Beckenbauer, eat your heart out.

"I just love to play. I love being in the thick of things, getting my head on the ball. It's a great feeling when you head the ball clear. Things are going really well right now. Hopefully it will continue like this."

Watch: Mats Hummels opened his Bundesliga account for 2017/18 on Matchday 7

The same thought must be going through the mind of Germany head coach Joachim Löw. Hummels has been the one constant in a back line that has appeared under countless guises since Die Mannschaft lifted the FIFA World Cup in July 2014, and will provide the foundation for their title defence next summer - back three, four or other.

"Mats did a very good job of organising the defence," Löw said of his irreplaceable No.5. "We had a few teething problems, but he was a pillar of stability. He's fantastic."

High praise indeed for a player who, like Beckenbauer before him, has already won four Bundesliga titles and the World Cup. In this kind of form, you wouldn't bet against 28-year-old Hummels adding to his collection in 2018.

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