Mats Hummels feels almost at home. The warm welcome of well-known team coach, the usual way on the training ground to the former locker with the number 15 and the many familiar faces in the squad – the entry at Borussia Dortmund is easy for the world champion of 2014. “Looks almost like it used to,” commented the former Munich already on the first day of training his return to the old workplace.
Despite well-known additions such as Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Nico Schulz (1899 Hoffenheim) and Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Mönchengladbach), who join the team later, Hummels is the biggest new attraction in the squad. Each of his steps was followed on Friday by the first media-public unit of numerous cameras. “For me, Mats is the best German central defender,” enthused sports director Michael Zorc.
The approximately 38-million-euro commitment of the 30-year-old should give the defense more stability and provide the team spirit that had been missing in the crucial phase of last season. Zorc makes no secret of his high standards: “Of course we expect him to take on a leading role in sports. We brought him back for that. “
The transfer of Hummels, who had twice won the championship with BVB (2011/2012) and had moved to Bayern in the summer of 2016, increases the already tough competition for the regular places in the Dortmund defense. With Manuel Akanji, Abdou Diallo, Dan-Axel-Zagadou, Julian Weigl, Leonardo Balerdi and Ömer Toprak, there are six more professionals available to play in central defense. “Of course we have one or the other player nominally too much there,” Zorc announced, “we will discuss and clarify this in an individual case.”
So much staff for only a few positions holds conflict potential. For example, Diallo expressed his concerns in the French sports paper L'Equipe (Friday) and hinted at the intention to change. “We have to see if the vision is the same. I'm waiting to see, to hear what people have to say to me, what they think of me, “he said.
A lasting change to the left defense, where he had to help out often, the 23-year-old Frenchman does not want to accept: “A few games on the wing are okay. But over several seasons, this is not my project. “Speculation about an interest in Paris St. Germain seems to suit Diallo just fine. “A young player in Europe who tells you that PSG's project is not interesting is not credible,” he said eloquently.
Not only for cost reasons, but also out of concern for the team-internal mood Zorc strives for a reduction of the 36 professionals comprehensive XXL squad. However, the sports director did not want to reveal which and how many players are on his sales list: “Assume that one or the other transfer will take place on the delivery side in the coming weeks.”
The good values of many players in the performance diagnostics strengthen his belief in a season on equal terms with the series champion FC Bayern. Zorc is not worried that the team could be overwhelmed with the championship goal, which was issued for the first time: “That is not a goal for you to impose on the team from above. That comes from the team. That's in harmony. “
(tagToTranslate) Mats Hummels (t) Michael Zorc (t) Julian Brandt (t) Nico Schulz (t) Thorgan Hazard (t) Borussia-Dortmund (t) Bayern Munich