Mats Hummels: BVB Legend

Mats Hummels: BVB Legend

Borussia Dortmund waved goodbye to two of its greatest legends this summer.

Not only did Marco Reus leave the club following the expiry of his contract after the Champions League final at Wembley, but so did Mats Hummels.

The pair were a part of Jürgen Klopp’s iconic side which reached the 2013 London final.

After a combined 25 years of service between them, ‘die Schwarzgelben’ must now prepare for life without them.

Hummels may now be 35, but even throughout his final campaign in black and yellow, the German showed his class.

The defender’s time at Signal Iduna Park may have ended with a trophy-less season, but what legacy does he leave behind? 

Mats Hummels

A legacy that transcends eras

A product of the Bayern Munich academy, Hummels first joined Dortmund on an 18-month loan in January 2008.

Despite having injury issues during his second season in North Rhine-Westphalia, the club still opted to make his switch permanent in February 2009.

The 20-year-old was establishing himself as a reliable man at the back for Klopp.

Forming a formidable defensive pairing with Neven Subotic, the Bergisch Gladbach native notched five goals from defence the following season.

‘die Borussen’ were making steady progress with Klopp and followed a fifth place finish with an unlikely title win in 2010-11.

BVB lifted the Meisterschale with the best defensive record in the Bundesliga.

Finishing seven points clear of Bayer Leverkusen, Hummels contributed greatly to that defence which conceded just 22 goals all season.

The following campaign saw the centre-back play all but one game in the Bundesliga and every minute in the DFB-Pokal on the way to a first ever league-cup double.

Hummels even netted in the cup final against Bayern.

At this point, Mats Hummels was one of the best defenders in world football.

As Dortmund reached the Champions League final in 2013, he played almost every match, missing just two games: one due to flu and the other due to an ankle injury.

At 24 years old at the time, Hummels wasn’t even in his prime years.

He would spend three more seasons at Signal Iduna Park, winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with Germany during that time. 

In 2016, he then completed his return to the Allianz Arena in a deal worth €35m in 2016, much to Thomas Tuchel’s dismay.

Mats Hummels, Bayern Munich


After three years back in Bavaria, Hummels came back to play for the Yellow Wall in 2019.

While at Bayern, he lifted three more Bundesliga titles and another Pokal.

Lucien Favre’s BVB had pushed the ‘Rekordmeister’ to the wire in 2019.

Was a 30-year-old Hummels enough to turn the tide?

Having been fighting for minutes with several other elite defenders in Munich, his game time skyrocketed in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In his first year back, he made 10 more Bundesliga appearances than he had for Bayern in the previous campaign.

In the 2020-21 season, Hummels played 33 times in the league, scoring five goals.

Meanwhile, he played a crucial role in ‘die Borussen’ winning the Pokal under interim boss Edin Terzic.

Despite entering the twilight years of his career, the 78-time Germany international remained an important figure for Borussia Dortmund.

Hummels often assumed captaincy in the 2022-23 season, leading the Black and Yellows’ title charge.

And in the season just gone, a 34/35-year-old Hummels enjoyed his finest football for some time.

He played every single minute as the club defied the odds to reach the Champions League final.

Most will remember those two masterclasses he delivered in the semi-finals against PSG; his goal decided the second leg in Paris.

While Hummels was in such form, he was still omitted from the Germany squad for their home European Championships and was still let go by Sebastian Kehl and co.


Replacing such an institution at such a big club is always a tall order.

Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle remain at the club.

Meanwhile, Soumaila Coulibaly will return from what initially seemed a promising loan spell in Belgium with Royal Antwerp.

Reports suggest that the club currently feel it’s too early to trust Schlotterbeck as the defensive leader, filling the void left by Hummels.

With that, Sven Mislintat and Kehl are reportedly looking to the transfer market to replace the club legend.

The name most heavily linked has been Stuttgart’s Waldemar Anton.

The Germany international enjoyed a sensational campaign in Badem-Württemberg, as Sebastian Hoeness’ side finished second in the Bundesliga.

Anton, Stuttgart’s skipper, played all but one game last season in the Bundesliga, missing only one match due to suspension.

At 27 years old, he is in his prime years and the €22m release clause BVB will pay appears to be a steal.

An official announcement is expected to be made after Euro 2024.

Time to go?

Mats Hummels is a fine defender, even at 35 years old.

Losing someone with his experience and his quality on the back of the campaign he just had seems rather difficult to understand.

However, it’s no secret that he is a rather loud, vocal character.

That can be grasped just by looking at his social media channels alone.

Reports near the end of the season seemed to suggest that Hummels looked to unite the changing room against Edin Terzic.

The pair also allegedly clashed prior to the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Some of Hummels’ words about his former coach were not what such a team leader should be saying publicly.

For all of his qualities, it’s clear that the German is a powerful figure in the dressing room.

In a time of change for the club, with Reus and Terzic also departing, things could again become toxic if Nuri Sahin can’t get the team performing soon.

That is an additional pressure that the board won’t want to pin on the new, young boss.

So with all of the change at the club, this probably is the right time to say thank you and goodbye.

Danke, Mats

These off the pitch tensions to end his time at Dortmund shouldn’t taint what is an incredible legacy on the pitch, however.

Mats Hummels leaves Borussia Dortmund, having pulled on the shirt 508 times.

Across those appearances, he scored 38 times and registered 23 assists.

Mats Hummels, Borussia Dortmund

To go with three DFL-Supercups, he lifted both the DFB-Pokal and the Bundesliga twice in black and yellow.

Whether it be with Neven Subotic, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Manuel Akanji or Schlotterbeck, Hummels anchored some great defences over the years.


A phenomenal defender both in his prime and in his latter years, he has certainly established himself as one of the best defenders of his generation and one of the best modern German defenders.

The Yellow Wall will certainly feel very privileged to have watched and supported him for so long.

There are countless top young defenders across the world but there will never be another Mats Hummels.

Most Appearances For Borussia Dortmund 

1.  Michael Zorc (572)

2. Mats Hummels (508)

3. Roman Weidenfeller (453)

4. Marco Reus (429)

5. Stefan Reuter (421)

6. Lars Ricken (407)

7. Dede (398)

8. Dieter Kurrat (382)

(=). Lukasz Piszczek (382)

10. Lothar Huber (372)