It came as a bit of a shock when Mats Hummels made the decision to move back to Borussia Dortmund during last summer’s transfer window after spending three well-decorated seasons with Bayern Munich. The towering center-back had previously spent a tenure from 2008 to 2016 at Dortmund after initially being loaned out to them by Bayern in 2008 and then transferred back to Bayern in the summer of 2016.
In a recent interview with 11Freunde (via AZ), Hummels explained why he ultimately made the decision to go back to Dortmund last summer, which was a decision that seemed to have come without much warning from a Bayern perspective. The atmosphere at the Signal Iduna Park was one of the things he said really missed and looked forward to experiencing upon his return:
I was interested in these moments in the stadium. We had some games this season that I endlessly enjoyed, like against Inter, against Barcelona, Paris, also ‘Gladbach in the Bundesliga. I came back for these moments, ones where I go home after a game and am just euphoric. Above all, there is less euphoria produced when you win so often. If we at Borussia Dortmund now win seven championships in a row, even here the title celebration won’t be as noisy as the first.
At Bayern, he said, the pressure to win titles was constant. Because the expectation was always so high, he continued, sometimes it slightly dampened the euphoria of winning, at least in his opinion:
Also from a sporting perspective, it is very exciting to be constantly under pressure, that second place isn’t good enough. I find that (pressure) right, and that (pressure) also led to us at Bayern becoming champions even when we were 10 points behind.
There were, of course, periods of last season where Hummels would’ve felt that Niko Kovac had a center back pairing preference of Jerome Boateng and Niklas Sule, which may have played a part in his decision making process. Still, though, it seems as if his heart was always set on returning to Dortmund after collecting a decent amount of silverware with Bayern.