Bayern Munich advanced to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal with a 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin in extra time, but it probably would have finished 2-1 in regular time had Mats Hummels not made a critical error. In the play that led to the goal, Hummels shockingly headed a ball he should have cleared into the path of Berlin’s Davie Selkie, who took one touch around Ulreich and slotted home the equalizing goal to make it 2-2.
Hummels’s mistake ultimately forced extra time, and it was one of the few defensive errors that Bayern had made throughout the match. Speaking afterward, Hummels explained how the costly error came about (Kicker):
We let very little get by us, moved the ball well and played with concentration. We advanced into the opponent’s penalty area with incredible ball control. If that thing hadn’t happened to me, we would have left the pitch earlier and more decisively. The 2:2 was a big mistake. We mustn’t beat around the bush. I wanted to head it back to the goal. Then the command came from David [Alaba] that a man was coming. Then three thoughts collided and I somehow picked the middle option, and in soccer that’s usually the wrong way. I’m glad that we advanced anyway.
The 30-year old veteran center back also took to social media to apologize for his mistake and applaud the fighting spirit that his side showed throughout the 120 minutes:
Very happy and relieved that despite my mistake we advanced and are in the quarterfinals of the DFB. Good job boys.
Niko Kovac also commented on Hummels’s blunder. While the coach was understanding of the mistake, he also stressed that his side has to cut out the mistakes that they’ve been making (via TZ):
That happens. Mats saw Sven there out of the corner of his eye. He wants to play the ball back, but the communication didn’t work. We almost cost ourselves a good game that way. We have to put a stop to our mistakes. We make too many sloppy mistakes. You can cherry-pick some of them. If we didn’t always concede two or three goals, we’d also win our games more easily.
Niklas Süle and Serge Gnabry also commented on the error, but acknowledged how solid Hummels had been for the majority of the match. Süle said, “Mistakes happen in soccer. We help one another and are a close-knit band.” Gnabry assessed it from his perspective in the offense:
We had the game in our hand; then conceding such a goal is of course not good. The goal was really unnecessary. It came out of nowhere. Mats moved things forward quite a lot.
This isn’t the first time Hummels has made a costly error this season. By the same token, it’s refreshing to see that his teammates are behind him. Fortunately, Bayern put the error behind them and pressed forward for the win. Kovac also spent much of the match on the edge of his technical area vociferously shouting instructions to his players. He’ll certainly put them through the paces on the training ground as Bayern prepares for the next challenge ahead. The team must eliminate the mistakes and stay fully focused for an entire match.
On to the next one, boys! Together, we go again! Mia San Mia