Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels: "We have a really good chance of winning the Champions League"
Mats Hummels believes Bayern Munich are in with a genuine shout of winning this season's UEFA Champions League.
Although the Bundesliga leaders finished second in UCL Group B, they claimed a notable scalp against Paris-Saint Germain prior to the winter break and begin the new year in fine form domestically.
In a wide-ranging interview with Bayern's official website, the 29-year-old Germany international defender reviewed the season so far, touched on his 2018 goals for club and country and revealed his career highs and lows.
Mats Hummels on...
... the first half of the 2017/18 campaign
"We can look back on an outstanding first half, even if it didn't look like it'd go that way at one point - but we turned it around brilliantly. The change in coach played it's part. Now we're in a perfect position in the Bundesliga, we progressed in the Champions League after taking 15 out of a possible 18 points, and we're in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. Things are looking very good, but I still think there's room for improvement."
Watch: Hummels was on target against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 7
... Bayern's 11-point advantage at top of the Bundesliga
"We're top with 41 points from a possible 51. The other teams all went through their rough patches. We did, too, but we still picked up wins and even won by just the one goal in recent games. That's why we have this cushion."
... Bayern's chances in the Champions League
"We have a really good chance. I'm always aiming for the semi-finals - it's in the small details from there. I think Besiktas is a difficult draw, but we're still favourites. If we advance, luck with the draw and form on the day will play their part, but we're in the form you need to talk about the semi-finals."
... Germany's World Cup draw
"I think we're in a really difficult group. None of the teams we'll face are tournament favourites, but none of them are easy opposition, either, and they all have individual quality. South Korea, for example, have Heung-Min Son, Mexico have Chicharito, and Sweden have Emil Forsberg and perhaps Zlatan Ibrahimovic, provided he's fit. You mustn't underestimate the group. We'll have to be fully focused from the start, otherwise we could find ourselves in a trick situation."
... his wishes for 2018
"On a sporting level, I hope we pick up where we left off, and that we'll continue to improve. Personally, I hope I can keep performing to a high level. The most important factor is my health. That's what all footballers wish each other. The rest is of secondary importance if you're not fit."
... his best match to date
"There have been a few, but the one that really stands out is the 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic because of my last-minute winner. The games where you dominant in defence and set up or score a goal are the most memorable."
... the match he would most like to forget
"Fortunately, there haven't been many of those recently. There have been occasions where I haven't quite been on my game mentally, though, such as in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 [a 2-1 defeat to Italy]. I had a tough time of it up with [Antonio] Cassano, but not so much with [Mario] Balotelli. Cassano's unorthodox play caused real problems for me. It's not how I want to play on the big stage."