Is Mats Hummels still an elite defender?

Mats Hummels will be back at Borussia Dortmund next season after the club agreed a transfer with Bayern Munich, but questions have been asked over the size of the fee.

Dortmund are reported to have parted with €38million to bring back Hummels, who at 32 is likely heading into the latter years of his career at the highest level.

It is clear there is no real resale value involved in the deal for Dortmund, but if he can help break Bayern's dominance of the Bundesliga the club will feel he is worth every penny.

Hummels' club career could also be extended by the fact he will not be playing international football, having this year been dropped from the Germany squad by Joachim Low.

With the help of Opta numbers, Omnisport assesses the success of Hummels' career to date to examine whether the transfer represents good value for money.

 

PERFECT IN POSSESSION?

The signing of Hummels, the club's former captain, should help Dortmund keep the ball. In 2018-19, Opta numbers show he had the best passing accuracy of his whole Bundesliga career at 89.4 per cent, with anything near 90 per cent considered elite for a defender.

Hummels' passing accuracy improved by a significant amount in his three seasons in Munich, each of them showing a figure higher than anything he recorded in black and yellow. In fact, in five of his eight seasons with Dortmund, he had a passing accuracy rate below 80 per cent.

The trend is the same when European performances are assessed. In the Champions League last term, Hummels had a pass success rate of 87.6 per cent, whereas his last Champions League campaign with Dortmund in 2014-15 saw him record just 79.7 per cent.

Data suggests Hummels has improved in possession radically at Bayern and he will be expected to demonstrate this development back at Dortmund, where he could make his next debut for the club in August's DFB-Supercup, which is of course against Bayern.

FLAWLESS IN 2018-19

During the 2018-19 season with Bayern, Hummels did not make a single error that led to a goal, providing such solid displays he was named the best centre-back in the league by Kicker. 

However, the 2012-13 campaign with Dortmund was the only season during which Hummels made more than one error leading to a goal (two), suggesting he has merely maintained a high level of performance.

The Opta numbers for this area of Hummels' game suggest Low may have been too hasty in jettisoning the defender from Germany duty, although his club form at Dortmund could yet force him back into the international picture.


DUEL SUCCESS STILL HIGH

The perception that Hummels may be on the wane is not backed up by his duel success rate, either.

Last term, Hummels won 66.8 per cent of his duels in the Bundesliga and 67.7 per cent of Champions League duels, a return similar to the numbers he recorded at Dortmund.

His duel success has been impressive both at Dortmund and Bayern. Throughout his career on average he has won 66 per cent of his duels.

Should he maintain those numbers in the 2019-20 season and beyond, Dortmund will no doubt be thrilled with their latest recruit, who also adds much-needed experience to a young squad.

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