In an honest interview with Sport Bild, Borussia Dortmund veteran and former Bayern Munich defender Mats Hummels admitted that he experienced a dip in form after returning from Germany’s Euro 2021 campaign.
Although a highly-regarded player of his country, Hummels wasn’t nominated in any of the three international breaks since the appointment of Die Mannschaft coach Hansi Flick. The 33-year-old began by explaining how a recurrence of fitness issues kept him from reaching his best level.
“My problem was: I had to get fit with patellar tendon pain, it was always a matter of balancing between enough training and enough rest,” said Hummels, referring to the knee problems he encountered before the start of Euros. “I didn’t start playing after the 2021 European Championship in top shape. That was already a difficult balancing act over a long period of the first half of the season.”
Hummels inched closer towards regaining his previous physical fitness as Hinrunde passed by but he didn’t always play up to his usual standards at Dortmund. His poor performance in the 2-3 defeat in Der Klassiker even prompted a reaction from Flick, who assessed that the experienced center-back needed to fix “one or two little problems” in order to break out of his slump.
“I share the recently expressed opinion of Hansi Flick 100 percent, we are in a regular and good exchange,” Hummels affirmed. “To discuss a World Cup participation in 2022, I expect first and foremost from myself that I play much better.”
The 2014 World Cup winner remains eager to prove that he belongs to the national team. During the winter break, he even put in extra gym work to get back in shape. “I was able to do a lot on vacation for basic fitness, but also for leg strength,” Hummels revealed. “That’s important for my power, which I lacked in many situations.”
The Dortmund defender believes that he is “finally fit again” and now, it’s his job to up his game. “Physically, there are no more excuses, now it’s up to me!”