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Germany Watch: Former Bayern Munich star Mats Hummels defends Nico Schlotterbeck after Manchester City collapse

Hummels believes Schlotterbeck is not to blame for Haaland’s goal.

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund: Group G - UEFA Champions League Photo by Joe Prior/ Visionhaus via Getty Images

It is rarely ever the case that German teams — bar Bayern Munich — perform well in the Champions League. The likes of Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig often disappoint in the European stage and the onus falls upon Bayern to “show up” in Europe to prove that Germany does have quality footballers and teams that can perform at the highest levels.

Borussia Dortmund faced Manchester City in mid-week at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The stage was set for an exciting match as it marked the meeting of Erling Haaland with his former team.

At the 78th minute, Nico Schlotterbeck was substituted onto the pitch. Immediately after this, at the 80th minute, John Stones made it 1-1 for City, firing the ball towards the near post. If this was not bad enough, at the 84th minute, Schlotterbeck may have individually caused the second goal for City, as Haaland fired away, making it 2-1. Receiving a cross from Joao Cancelo, Haaland made his attempt directly from behind Schlotterbeck. As a result, Schlotterbeck was targeted on social media and was at the receiving end of malice.

What worsened matters for Schlotterbeck was one of his statements pre-game, where he said that as far defending in the City fixture was concerned, Haaland was the least of their worries, and it is more crucial to defend the entire team. He was also quoted saying, “I know how to stop Erling Haaland.” Therefore the general consensus began to be along the lines of “Nico Schlotterbeck was only six minutes on the pitch when Erling Haaland overcame him and scored the goal.”

This is where Bayern alumnus Mats Hummels came in. After the game, Hummels made it clear how the decisive scene should be viewed, citing the situation to be “not defendable”, per DAZN (as transcribed by Sport1). “If I read that he got into the duel late, then that person can leave from sports journalism. You couldn’t defend that anymore,” Hummels said.

Schlotterbeck has faced Haaland before with SC Freiburg and has even won against him. “I realized in the game how good I can be,” he said, after the 2-1 victory in August 2021. “I’ve known since this season: I can defend against any striker.”

Confidence, misinterpreted for a case of overconfidence, is often the case in sports and athletes do find themselves in hot water when they don’t live up to their words but what is undeniable is, no athlete deserves social media abuse.

PSA: No social media abuse, please. Athletes are humans too.

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