Mats Hummels did not have one of his stronger outings for Bayern Munich by any stretch of the imagination as his side fell to Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in der Klassiker at the Westfalenstadion. He lasted a total of 65 minutes, making several uncharacteristic mistakes, before Niko Kovac made the decision to take him off for Niklas Sule. Dortmund equalized a minute after Hummels was replaced, and Paco Alcacer scored Dortmund’s third goal only minutes after that.
Speaking to the press, Hummels revealed after the game that he had been suffering from a head cold, but felt well enough to start as Kovac had hoped (AZ and SportBild). He told Sky after the game,
I got sick today. It was hard to give a lot with a bad cold. My head was... I took somewhat longer for everything.
The 29-year old was frustrated with himself for playing through the illness:
I’m annoyed that I did it, (especially) that I didn’t say at halftime at the latest that it didn’t make sense. Because everything was a little dull and hazy in my head. Then it’s hard to do it in a game on such a high level. I normally live from the fact that I think fast; that wasn’t the case today. Really bad.
Hummels explained that he was the one who made the suggestion to the Bayern bench to come off midway through the second half because of the nature of the mistakes he was making:
I made two mistakes that I haven’t been capable of since 2010. So I said: it doesn’t make any sense. Not that I do something like that and we concede a goal.
Asked about his decision to play Hummels despite his illness, Kovac made it clear that the Bayern doctors had given him some medicine and cleared him to play:
But our doctors gave him some medicine and the word was that everything was fine. I asked him, “Are you sure you can play?” And he said yes. Otherwise we wouldn’t have sent him back out there.
Both Oliver Kahn and Lothar Matthäus were both critical of the decision to play Hummels when was revealed after the match that he was sick.
Kahn dismissed Hummels’s post-match excuse:
I wonder what’s going through the players’ minds. You don’t have to present yourself afterword and say you were sick. No one’s interested. The one or the other isn’t right in the head.
Matthäus felt Kovac should not have started Hummels at all: “You have to have eleven players who are warriors, who are in physical form.