There is no one quite like Bayern Munich and Germany centre-back Mats Hummels. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
There is no one quite like Bayern Munich and Germany centre-back Mats Hummels. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Bayern's Mats Hummels: a quarterback in disguise

Serene under pressure, addressing the ball perfectly and remaining focused throughout: Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels boasts attributes that would serve him well in this week's Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, and they are the traits that will drive his ambition when facing former team Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker.

Few players have reached 250 Bundesliga games - as Hummels did against Hoffenheim on Tuesday - while displaying such supreme levels of consistency over the years as the two-time Bundesliga champion. But just how good is the 28-year-old Bergisch Gladbach native - now back at champions Bayern after eight and a half seasons with rivals Dortmund?

Watch: The best of Der Klassiker

Sometimes considered the 'quarterback' of the Bavarian giants for his ability to flight the perfect pass from deep to onrushing teammates, the 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning defender has millions of admirers the world over, including many within the game.

"The way he goes into tackles and wins them and the way he's always in the right place is hugely impressive," said Germany coach Joachim Löw of his acclaimed centre-back. "Added to that, he’s always a threat at set pieces."

With 19 goals in 225 top-flight games for Dortmund between 2008 and 2016, one for Bayern and four more at international level, Löw's words ring true.

"Mats could play for any club in Europe," former Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp - now in charge at Liverpool - once said of Hummels. "He's intelligent when it comes to winning important challenges and closing down space. In fact, I know of no other player in Europe who can do that as well as he does."

Watch: Mats Hummels' goal-saving challenge against Frankfurt

Indeed, when compared with the best in Europe, Hummels' numbers shine. Sent off just once in his entire Bundesliga career, his exemplary disciplinary record puts Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid to shame (21 red cards at club level). Add to that his superb passing range and number of assists (already three this term in all competitions), and Hummels is in a league of his own. 

Hummels' calm demeanour when carrying the ball out from the back at opportune moments has even drawn comparisons with Bayern and Germany football legend Franz Beckenbauer - a five-time Bundesliga champion. He has also developed invaluable leadership qualities, becoming a dominant voice in the dressing-room for club and country.

Watch: Hummels scored his first Bundesliga goal in a Bayern shirt on Matchday 12

"We've got several leaders in the [Germany] team, but Mats has developed amazingly well and is definitely considered one of those [influential] players now," Schalke captain and Germany international defender Benedikt Höwedes told

"He's so professional in every situation and he always says what he thinks," Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller added, shedding more light on Hummels’ no-holds-barred approach to firing up his teammates.

Bayern's defensive record is by far the best among Europe's big five leagues so far this term, the reigning Bundesliga champions having conceded just 14 goals in 27 top-flight outings. Hummels has featured in 24 of those, but it is his next assignment - a pressure-cooker encounter with old flame Dortmund - that will see Bayern's Mr. Reliable come into his own.

To the many world-class golfers who will invariably wilt under the weight of expectation at Amen Corner this weekend, a word of advice: watch Der Klassiker - and Mats Hummels - to see how the big boys handle pressure.  

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