Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels has hit back at criticism from the German media as the World Cup winner struggles for form and says Bayern Munich’s success is not helping his club’s cause.
Hummels found himself on the bench for second-placed Dortmund on Sunday in their 4-1 win at home to VfB Stuttgart, coming on for the last 10 minutes, after his mistakes led to Borussia conceding goals in their previous two games.
The 26-year-old has a contract until 2017 and has again been linked with a multi-million euros move to Manchester United at the end of the season.
Hummels says the German media are bored with watching leaders Bayern runaway with this season’s Bundesliga title, which means they turned their attention to nearest rivals Dortmund – and him personally.
“Because it’s hard to perhaps find anything negative to say about Bayern, perhaps they are looking at the next biggest team and personalities in football,” Hummels told German daily Bild.
“Inevitably, you land at Borussia Dortmund and people like Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or me.”
TV pundits have been quick to criticize Hummels, who has failed to capture the superb form he showed in Brazil which helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup. He admitted returning from Brazil overweight last season and has failed to impress this campaign, particularly in the last fortnight. He scored an own-goal in Dortmund’s shock 3-1 league defeat at Hamburg 10 days ago, then gave away a penalty in their 1-0 Europa League defeat at Russia’s FK Krasnodar last Thursday.
“I definitely feel under-valued and honestly see my performances as being better than you read in most of the media,” Hummels complained to magazine Kicker.
“I don’t know anyone who is more self-critical than me.
“I watch all our games again at home and I know when I have made a mistake and when I haven’t.
“I have always addressed any mistakes I have made and will keep doing so.
“It’s nothing I duck away from.”
Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel insists Hummels was not dropped for the Stuttgart game, but simply started the defender on the bench to rest him, as he has done for other Dortmund stars throughout the season.
Borussia’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said Hummels is not always easy to deal with, something the defender has no problem with.
“I’m a bit more direct, sometimes cynical and sarcastic, that’s why I find it perfectly fine that Hans-Joachim Watzke doesn’t consider me to be low-maintenance,” said Hummels.
Hummels also scoffed at suggestions there is a problem between him and Tuchel.
“We have no problems with each other, we discuss things openly and we will continue to do so,” he added.
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