A quarter-back of a central defender, Mats Hummels has enjoyed a glittering career to date with Bayern Munich and Germany. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
A quarter-back of a central defender, Mats Hummels has enjoyed a glittering career to date with Bayern Munich and Germany. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Mats Hummels: 10 things on the Bayern Munich and Germany World Cup-winning centre-back


A five-time Bundesliga winner, a 2014 FIFA World Cup winner, a 2013 UEFA Champions League finalist and a perfect interviewee, Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels is one of German football's golden boys.

While Hummels' life story and curriculum vitae are as familiar as the sight of one of his famed outside-of-the-boot passes, bundesliga.com has collated 10 lesser-known facts about the centre-back-cum-fashion-model.

1) Mummy's boy

Had Hummels not been a footballer, it's safe to say he would have been a football writer or broadcaster. The defender's mother, Ulla Holthoff, has been a sports journalist for over four decades and, in 1990, became the first woman to commentate a live football match on German TV when working for national broadcaster ZDF. She has since presented the lead sports show on Bavarian television, but recalled how she used to take a young Mats to work with her: "For some shows he'd sit in the TV wagon at the back and was allowed to press the button for the graphics to appear on the screen," she said. "When he's in a stadium nowadays, it's guaranteed there'll be at least one journalist telling him: 'I know you, you used to be so small!'"

Watch: Hummels is a cool customer, but can he deal with our quickfire questions in 60 seconds?

- © imago / Martin Hoffmann

2) Brotherly love

While Mats hasn't yet made it into the media (although his eloquent post-match interviews indicate that a TV career is a post-football certainty), then his brother, Jonas, has. Like Mats, Jonas began his football career in the Bayern academy, but joined third-tier Unterhaching in 2008. Also a centre-back, Hummels junior was made the club's youngest ever captain in 2012 by current Bayer Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich, but a succession of knee ligament injuries prompted a premature retirement four years later at the age of 25. Admitting that he "would never have been as good" as Mats, Jonas now works for German TV channel DAZN as a Spanish football expert, regularly acting as co-commentator or pundit on the station's live broadcasts.

- © imago / Baering

5) Klopp the babysitter

While Mats might have hazy memories of Klopp from when his father Hermann was in charge at Mainz in 1994/95 – "I recognised him, but I was too young to have any real memories," he once said – the current Liverpool boss no doubt still recalls babysitting his coach's son alongside then-goalkeeper Stephan Kuhnert; babysitting apparently involved little more than watching a six-year-old Hummels kick the ball relentlessly off the garage door.

Little wonder that just over 10 years later, when the pair were reunited at Dortmund – with Klopp still watching over Mats, just this time as his coach – Hummels told the Daily Mail the relationship was "almost like family ... One day we would be there, screaming at each other, but the next day it was all fine. He understood me, I understood him." They remain close (as you would expect after two Bundesliga titles, a DFB Cup and a run to the UEFA Champions League final), with Klopp inviting Hummels to his 50th birthday party in June 2016; the World Cup winner had to decline as it clashed with his own wedding anniversary, "otherwise I would have been at Kloppo's 50th, of course," he insisted.

7) A Selecao fan

If you ever see Hummels celebrating with by making an 'S' shape with his hand – as he did in his early days at Borussia Dortmund – then it's a nod to his Munich school team, who used to call themselves the 'Selecao' after the Brazil national team.

- © imago / Moritz Müller

8) Old big ears

Having come so close to winning the Champions League in 2013 – when Dortmund were beaten 2-1 in the final by Bayern Munich – Hummels is desperate to lift the European Cup before his career finishes. "If we were guaranteed to win the Champions League, then I'd swap quite a lot to get my hands on it," he told Goal after Bayern's semi-final exit to eventual champions Real Madrid in 2018.

Playing with Arjen Robben, who scored the winning goal at Wembley, only serves as a reminder of how close Hummels came to winning the big prize: "They always show that moment in the stadium before the game," the Dutchman told Bild. "Whenever we're warming up, Mats comes over to me and we say that we need to create a new moment for the big screens. I've promised Mats!"

10) Brain training

Often praised for his thoughtful, detailed post-match interviews, Hummels' off-field brain training perhaps serves as an explanation: the defender tries to use the oodles of free time footballers have to learn Spanish; he enjoys watching Fargo and Modern Family (although can no longer watch the latter having seen "every episode three times," according to the Mail); and spends time reading, citing in one BBC interview the basketball book "11 rings" by Phil Jackson, lent to him by former coach Thomas Tuchel.

Watch: How did Hummels get on when he tried his hand at basketball?

- © imago / Sven Simon

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