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Hummels: I’ve identified patterns in Ronaldo’s game

Bayern Munich’s top center-back has done his homework ahead of his latest duel with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Germany's defender Mats Hummels (R) celebrates scoring in front of Portugal's forward and captain Cristiano Ronaldo during the Group G football match between Germany and Portugal at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 16, 2014.
Mats Hummels celebrates scoring against Portugal at the 2014 World Cup, June 16, 2014.
Photo by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Mats Hummels has done his homework. When Bayern Munich lines up against Real Madrid for the first time this season, he will be prepared for what is sure to come his way: goal-scoring phenom Cristiano Ronaldo. In an interview with Sport Bild, Hummels revealed he has carefully studied Real Madrid and Ronaldo in particular. Hummels told reporters,

I watch many games of the big teams and take a general interest in international soccer. You notice a few things there. With Ronaldo, I think I’ve identified a few patterns; there are certain striking things. I will try to utilize this knowledge to my advantage. But I won’t disclose it publicly.

Hummels has relatively extensive experience playing against Ronaldo in his career: in nine games against the Portuguese international, Hummels has played for the winning side five times, having drawn once and lost three times. Hummels thus has also witnessed how Ronaldo has evolved over the years:

In recent years Ronaldo has changed his playing style. He is not as dominant as he was in earlier days, but rather utterly focused on finishing and goals. In this regard, he is the best striker in the world, because he can score in any way, any second of the game.

Ronaldo’s supporting cast at Real Madrid naturally plays a major part in his scoring success. In Real Madrid’s case, their defense really is the best offense:

Real Madrid’s full-backs deliver outstanding crosses: Marcelo, Daniel Carvajal, and also the central midfielders Toni Kroos or Loka Modric on set-pieces. You have to prevent these inside passes. That makes it so hard to defend Ronaldo. He doesn’t shoot after eight touches, but rather on the first one or two at the latest.

We will see in a few hours how Hummels and Bayern’s defense cope with Ronaldo and the rest of Real Madrid’s offense.

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