Summary

  • Hummels says Bayern are aiming to sweep the board this season.
  • German defender looks back on positive return to Munich.
  • Confidence high going into Hamburg and Schalke league and cup clashes.

With a five-point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga, a 5-1 lead over Arsenal FC from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie and a DFB Cup quarter-final against FC Schalke 04 to look forward to, the 2016/17 season appears to be going according to plan for FC Bayern Munich.

To be in such a strong position approaching March is one of the reasons why Mats Hummels agreed to trade the black and yellow of Borussia Dortmund for the red and white of Bayern in the summer.

Back where his career began, Hummels spoke to bundesliga.com to discuss how far he has come and how far he hopes to go as Bayern prepare to face Hamburger SV in their next Bundesliga fixture this weekend.

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bundesliga.com: Mats Hummels, you joined Bayern from Dortmund in the summer. Have your expectations been met?

Mats Hummels: I think so. For me personally, everything's gone well. I found my feet quickly, which was certainly helped by knowing some of the team and the coaches already. Many of my friends and family still live in Munich.

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's Matchday 21 draw away to Hertha Berlin:

bundesliga.com: How do you assess the season so far?

Hummels: The results have been in keeping with what we wanted to achieve. We're top of the Bundesliga and have a good chance in all the three competitions we're in. Of course there’s always room to improve. We always want to get better and be even more dominant.

bundesliga.com: You didn’t move abroad or have to learn a new language, but changing clubs is still not necessarily simple…

Hummels: Well, I already knew some people here, which gives you a positive feeling right from the start and made things easier. I didn't arrive as a young player looking to build on little experience. But the whole package was ideal, which has been the main reason for this good start.

bundesliga.com: You came to Munich as the captain of a well-known club. A captain is expected to be a top earner with the power to speak on certain situations. Was it difficult to have a slightly different role at Bayern?

Hummels: I've never been one to express my opinions loudly on the training ground. Of course it’s sometimes necessary to make yourself heard. As with other teams, we also talk a lot together, and I give my opinion when I feel it’s necessary. We do this in smaller groups, though. We have an excellent captain in Philipp Lahm, who's vastly experienced and fulfils the role very well.

bundesliga.com: Do you ever have to bite your tongue?

Hummels: Perhaps there has been the odd situation where I might have said something like a captain. In Munich, however, there are so many experienced players and a coach with great international experience. When I think of something, most of the time somebody else has already thought of it too! (laughs). This is a comfortable situation for me.

Hummels admits he has had to get used to a few new things since returning to Bayern. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Simon Hofmann

bundesliga.com: Have you changed your game at Bayern?

Hummels: I may not play a long ball as often as before, because that’s not necessary given the playing style of our strikers. On the whole, though, a centre-back’s duties rarely change.

bundesliga.com: Some suggest that Bayern are not as dominant as in previous years, but results would suggest otherwise…

Hummels: It’s difficult for me to draw comparisons because I wasn’t here before last summer. It may be possible that Bayern aren't as dominant as before. In general, however, I get the impression that across Europe a lot of the top teams are less dominant this season. Perhaps more and more teams are simply very well organised. This is also true in the Bundesliga. Sometimes there are surprise results, too, which are great for the fans.

"Watching football helps me relax. I’ve been watching as much as possible recently." - Mats Hummels

bundesliga.com: What do you make of Carlo Ancelotti? In recent years you had a lively coach in the shape of Jürgen Klopp. Ancelotti seems to be the opposite…

Hummels: This is a question of personality. Carlo Ancelotti has had a lot of experience in professional football - more than 20 years. He seems to exude peace and calm. This doesn't mean that he fails to intervene if he sees the need, but he does this in his own way.

bundesliga.com: Apparently you enjoy football both as a professional and as a fan, watching games at home as often as possible?

Hummels: That's right! There are occasional days when I can rest and regenerate at the same time the football's on. Watching it helps me relax. I've been watching as much as possible recently: Bundesliga 2, the Bundesliga, the evening game. I even watch the second tier game on Monday when it’s on.

bundesliga.com: You once said you feel like you are 33 years old…

Hummels: I said that after the sixth day of the winter training camp! (laughs) Everyone feels exhausted then. We worked hard. Everyone was feeling older.

Hummels admits it has been hard work training under Ancelotti, but rewarding at the same time. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

bundesliga.com: What age do you plan to play until? Former Bayern star Ze Roberto is still playing well into his 40s…

Hummels: That's not something for me! (laughs) But I don't have a strict career plan. I still have a few years to go and we can see how it goes.

bundesliga.com: And back to the present, how do you see this season going?

Hummels: We can only tally up our points at the end of the season. At the moment we're doing well in all competitions and can still win all the titles available to us. This is certainly our goal, but we're not the only ones.

Mats Hummels was speaking to Oliver Trust

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