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BFW Roundtable: Thoughts on Mats Hummels’s transfer to Borussia Dortmund

It’s a done deal. Hummels is going back to Dortmund. Let’s hear how some of BFW’s staffers feel about this.

Bayern Munich's German defender Mats Hummels waves to the fans after the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, southern Germany, on April, 6, 2019. (Photo by Guenter SCHIFFMANN / AFP) / RESTRICTIONS: DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO
FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN MUNICH-DORTMUND Bayern Munich’s German defender Mats Hummels waves to the fans after the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, southern Germany, on April, 6, 2019. (Photo by Guenter SCHIFFMANN / AFP) / RESTRICTIONS: DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO
(Photo credit: GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s official. Mats Hummels will be leaving Bayern Munich this summer to return to Borussia Dortmund on a 3 year contract for a fee of 38 million euros plus add-ons and bonuses. Further details have not yet been disclosed by either club per their agreement and Hummels will still have to complete his medical in Dortmund to finalize the move. After 3 successful seasons with Bayern, the center back will return to the club where he played from 2008-2016.

So, how is BFW collectively feeling about this news?

Tom Adams:

For me, it’s just the timing of this transfer that makes it a little bit confusing. After not getting as much time as he would’ve liked under Niko Kovac during the hinrunde, Hummels’s fortunes really changed for the better during the rückrunde and he was such a pivotal presence in Bayern’s back line en route to the domestic double. There had been reports throughout the season that he may have had his squabbles with Kovac, but with how strong he played during the second half of the season, it seemed as if the two had let by-gones be by-gones and they both seemed to be on the same page with one another.

This transfer, to me, perhaps would’ve made more sense during the winter transfer window when Hummels was really out of favor behind Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng or perhaps even next winter’s transfer window if he lost out on time in the beginning of next season to Sule, Lucas Hernandez, and/or Benjamin Pavard. It just seems that maybe this move had been pre-meditated behind the scenes before the second half of the season, because otherwise, why would you want to leave after being one of the main men in defense for Bayern’s 7th consecutive Bundesliga title?

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga
LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 02: David Alaba of Bayern Muenchen speaks with Mats Hummels of Bayern Muenchen and head coach Niko Kovac of Bayern Muenchen during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern Muenchen at BayArena on February 2, 2019 in Leverkusen, Germany.
Hummels, Kovac, and Alaba during a match against Bayer Leverkusen.
(Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

For one, Dortmund are buying Hummels back for a bit more than they sold him to Bayern for back in 2016 (35 million euros), which can seem a bit risky for a player who’s already 30 years old. Dortmund do need the defensive reinforcements, but Hummels could potentially be one injury away from missing a considerable amount of time, so the calculated risk is certainly there for Dortmund. Personally for Hummels, it could also be more of an issue of wanting a new challenge before he enters the last phase of his career. He’s won a bevvy of silverware with Bayern, but with defensive transfers already coming in (Hernandez, Pavard), maybe he feels that his time would be better served trying to help Dortmund push for the title.

Mike (NoVaBurgher):

At 38 million euros, I’m not gonna lose too much sleep over losing a defender on the wrong side of 30 coming off a less than stellar year. For stretches of time, he was our most stable center defender last year, particularly in the Ruckrunde, but at the end of the day he’s expendable. The big question now is, who does Bayern replace him with? The board certainly got more money than they probably thought they were getting so does this spur them on to go after a player like De Ligt? Whoever their target is, THAT transfer will ultimately shape how the fans perceive this sale of the former youth academy product. All that being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish Mats Hummels well on his return trip to Dortmund. He always handled himself with class on and off the pitch and he did play a role in winning some silverware even if the big trophy ultimately eluded him.

Marcus Iredahl:

Mats Hummels will become Bayern’s second largest sell after Douglas Costa’s departure to Juventus. At first glance, €38 million for a 30-year-old center-back is a decent transfer sum. Especially considering that this season, Hummels has been quite inconsistent, especially in the beginning stages of the campaign.

However, his form in 2019 was very good. He contributed massively to Bayern’s solid defense in the later stages of the campaign and created a solid partnership with Niklas Süle.

That being said, he is clearly not the same player who partnered up with Jerome Boateng in Germany’s World Cup-winning campaign in 2014. Bayern has already bought two new young center-backs for a large amount of money. Considering Benjamin Pavard’s and Lucas Hernandez’s talent, it now seems that Bayern will focus on developing their talent in a newly reconstructed Bayern side. Even though I do believe Hummels has a few good years left in him, I don’t think he will improve his overall standard.

Hence that is why I see this as a good bit of business, for both club and player. Considering Hummels will decrease his salary at Dortmund, I believe that this is a move he wanted as I think he suspected his playing time next year at Bayern would be limited. Also, if Bayern sells Jerome Boateng and replaces both him and Hummels with let’s say Matthijs De Ligt, this would be in my opinion a great piece of business.

Lastly, I am thankful for what Hummels has done for the club, but I am also very happy that he went to a German side. His transfer for Dortmund makes the league and Bayern’s domestic competition better, something I view as extremely positive.

Good business for Bayern at the end of the day?
Getty Images for FC Bayern

Chuck Smith:

This one is tough to crack. In some respects, getting (potentially) €38 million for a 30-year-old center-back could be considered good business in the board room. On the field, however, is where I really think Hummels will be missed.

Hummels was excellent in the second half of last season and proved that he still maintained exceptional quality. His hand, however, was forced in pushing for this move to BVB. By signing VfB Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard and Atlético Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, Bayern effectively over-crowded that back-line that already had Niklas Sule and Jerome Bateng in tow.

As of now, I am not completely sold on either Hernandez or Pavard. Each are great talents — I would never dispute that — but I do have questions about each player. Hernandez has a balky knee and Pavard was wildly inconsistent last season for VfB Stuttgart. Personally, I’d have preferred retaining Hummels, making a serious play for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, and looking for cheaper, lower-priced back-ups for the outside back positions, while also allowing Lars Lukas Mai and Chris Richards to develop for another season and eventually be in line to take over rosters spots in the near future. Right now, I just see Bayern as having five very good candidates for a future at center-back and ALL are 23 or younger (Sule, Hernandez, Pavard, Mai, Richards). Depth is great, but having too much talent almost never works in terms of keeping everyone happy.

Too many defenders at Bayern?
Getty Images for FC Bayern

Danke fur alles und viel glück, Mats!

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