Player of the year 2017: Mats Hummels

Justin Separator January 11, 2018

This year we’re starting with the Player of the Year. Some names have been mentioned in the editorial office this time. Starting with Joshua Kimmich, who played an outstanding second half of the year and thus into the hearts of the fans. Robert Lewandowski would also be a logical option. In 47 competitive matches for FC Bayern, the pole scored 43 goals – another impressive figure.

But with an impressive majority, Mats Hummels finally won the race, who took another step forward in the calendar year 2017 and thus became the mainstay of the team. The central defender convinced not only on, but also off the pitch. He took responsibility and always led the way.

Be it battered like in Madrid or in top form – he always brought his performance on the pitch and thus became a constant in a Bayern-year in which there were ups and downs for the team. Without Hummels there would have been more lows.

Arrived at last?

His way at and to FC Bayern was no easy one. In 2008 he was loaned to Dortmund because the competition in Munich was too strong on his position. Breno’s signing and Jürgen Klinsmann’s decision that Hummels would not play a role in his plans led to Dortmund being able to sign the talent. Only then did the star of a central defender emerge, who was to set new standards for his position. Hermann Gerland, on the other hand, is presumably stuck a Klinsmann poster on his dartboard during this time. It was he who spoke out clearly in favour of Hummels at the time.

A return seemed to be impossible for a long time, but 2016 did indeed happen what can only be described as a great blessing as a fan of Bayern today: Hummels is wearing the jersey of the record champion again. The world cup winner has been a blessing for the whole club ever since.

On the pitch, he not only shines with a duel rate of around 70%, but also with vertical passes that can take a complete team apart. He always has his head up high to plan the next move. He doesn’t have the highest top speed, but he has always been one of the most intelligent players. His positional play is almost absurdly good and his speed of action is also outstanding. When the ball is played between FC Bayern’s defensive and midfield lines, it usually doesn’t take long before you see Hummels running into the field of vision to thwart the opponent’s attack before it can even be called an attack.

With an impressive success rate, Hummels then moves out of his position. He perfected this game with fire and it became a kind of trademark move. Just like his well timed sliding tackles, his outside of the foot pass and his long, razor-sharp balls to the top. The number of central defenders who play more passes into the attack third is more than moderate in Europe.

Not quite so high is the success rate with his scoring chances. This season he had 1.5 shots per game. Last season’s figure was 1.3, which alone shows the enormous danger that Hummels brings to set pieces. This was a quality that the Bavarian team lacked before. However, it would still be desirable for one or two more balls to land in the opponent’s goal.

All in all it is a relief to watch Mats Hummel and in the last few years he has often had smaller phases in which he lost his consistency, which is hard to imagine at the moment.

He is world cup winner, multiple German champion and seasoned leader in all the teams in which he competes. And yet the feeling remains that Hummels has only finally arrived this year. In Munich, but also in his career. Next to the pitch he shines with the same ease as on the pitch. His interview quota should be no less than that of his duels. Objectively and pleasantly, Hummels analyses the games directly after the final whistle. He thereby confirms his status as a leading player week after week.

Hummels has a good laugh at FC Bayern. From an individual point of view, it was an almost perfect year for him.
(Image: Christof Stache / AFP / Getty Images)

Hummels is Mr. Indispensable

When it comes to players of FC Bayern, on whom success depends, Manuel Neuer, Thiago and Robert Lewandowski are often mentioned. At the latest after the injuries of Jérôme Boateng it became clear that he also belongs to this list.

With the signing of Mats Hummels, this dependency was greatly reduced, if not completely resolved. His duel strength gives the game the necessary stability and his unique ball handling for a central defender ensures creativity. Hummels has played himself into the circle of the most important Bayern players.

Especially when Thiago was missing beside Boateng, Hummels was often the only playmaker – and what a great one! The 29-year-old advanced to the creative centre in the first and second third. There is hardly a defender in Europe who has so many vertical passes in his game and yet shines with such an impressive rate.

Mats Hummels has become indispensable for FC Bayern – as a player, but also as a human being. In 2017 there was therefore only one logical winner of the Miasanrot Award for the best player. It is already his third award in just one and a half years. In the summer he already won in the categories “Newcomer of the season 2016/17” and “Action of the year”. And who knows? If Hummels continues to confirm his performance, he may be the first to defend the title for the best player in summer.

In any case we say: congratulations, Mats Hummels and we look forward to a successful future!

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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