Because of the winter break The Yellow Wall panel decided to merge December and January into one Player of The Month Award. After December petered out in a 2-1 loss to Cologne, BVB picked up their form again after the turn of the year.
Although the beautiful own goal against Ingolstadt did not land him bonus points in our votes, Borussia Dortmund’s captain wins the highly prestigious award for the first time. Finally, Hummels could bring some consistency to his form towards the end of the year and didn’t miss step at the beginning of 2016 either.
While Hummels missed Dortmund’s exciting 2-1 win in VfL Wolfsburg due to an infect, he really cranked it up in the home match against Eintracht Frankfurt with a goal and one of his many pre-assists that pierced Frankfurt’s back-line and laid the groundwork for BVB’s comeback.
The Captain admitted in the post match interview that he felt his confidence had dipped for the very first time in his career after he has fallen under criticism. Our very own Constantin Eckner wrote a piece on Hummels’ patchy stint after the 2014 World Cup win – lasting just until that Frankfurt match one had the feeling.
By now it seems, the 27-year-old has left his struggles in the past and is back to his best. In Dortmund’s Rückrunden-opener against Borussia Mönchengladbach he showed a commanding performance, making Thomas Tuchel swoon and shower his captain with praise: “Today we had a top captain on the field. As a coach you can only wish for a Mats Hummels in that form. He put down a marker today, showing mentality and charisma.”
Mats Hummels’ game goes always hand in hand with a certain risk, as his forward anticipations can leave his back line horribly exposed, if he misses a step. Just as his precise vertical passes can easily backfire if they don’t find a team-mate as Leon Goretzka infamously showed in BVB’s 3-2 derby win. But if the center half is on form, immaculate decision-making and flawless timing make the key ingredients that not only terminate opposition’s attacks, but can turn them into dangerous counter-attacks for Borussia Dortmund. Just ask Gladbach.
With that natural authority on the field, Hummels has turned into a natural leader, There is not a flicker of doubt in his movement, when the World Champion graces the pitch. It has taken some time for the centre-back to find his role as a team captain after succeeding Sebastian Kehl, but by now he lifts his team with the actions on his field.
Even against Ingolstadt, where he had some luck on his side, he played a very tidy match overall. His celebration when Aubameyang netted the second says everything about his commitment to this team.
It was very important for Borussia Dortmund that Hummels managed to find his form. We at the Yellow Wall hope that he will preserve it for the rest of the season and eventually extends his contract, which runs out in 2017. Mats Hummels is on the best way to become a club legend himself, being already eight years on the roster.
First place: Mats Hummels Dortmund’s skipper was very good against Frankfurt and played perhaps his best game of the season against Gladbach. While he was mostly lucky against Ingolstadt, I won’t hold that against him. With no offensive player setting himself apart in this stretch, Hummels gets my No. 1 vote for the consistency he failed to show for the most part since the 2014 World Cup.
Second place: Henrikh Mkhitaryan Mkhitaryan lacked that little bit of consistency to top my vote once again, but he was still very good. His volley assist vs. Wolfsburg is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen a Dortmund player do this season.
Third place: Ilkay Gündgoan Gündogan was the best player on the pitch against Gladbach, which wasn’t easy, considering Hummels, Mkhitaryan and Reus also played very well. His performance against Cologne and the fact that he missed two games in the period we’re voting on means he’s only third for me, though.
(Christian Pulisic) Henrikh Mkhitaryan Eight goals and assists in six starts, and he was the bright spark when he came on against PAOK too. Playing from both the left and the right, the Armenian found top form again after a slight mid- Hinrunde dip. What would we do without him?
(Christian Pulisic) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang He didn’t just win African player of the year, but he deserved it and looked damn snazzy in the process. In terms of finishing, he was literally hit and miss. Games against Augsburg (when he did eventually score) and Gladbach (went he didn’t) showed he isn’t flawless but, when we need a goal (Ingolstadt) he can be relied on.
(Christian Pulisic) Mats Hummels The defence was an almost permanent blemish during a near perfect Hinrunde, and Mats Hummels’ form showed. Coming under intense criticism by the time December came around, the captain responded with his best performances under Thomas Tuchel. Long may it continue.
First Place: Moritz Leitner Of course, the tanned flibbertigibbet turned serious professional might not be the obvious choice. Yet, after being on the verge of joining RCD Español, the 23-year-old impressed in a few friendlies and in the last 35 minutes of the Ingolstadt match. Suddenly, Leitner is considered a reliable option in central midfield. (But please change picture and contact address on your website.)
Second Place: İlkay Gündoğan İlkay, you should already have extended your goddamn contract! Do it now!
Third Place: Mats Hummels An out-spoken, self-confident, and open-minded contrarian, Mats Hummels is probably the most interesting person in the squad. And if, in addition to that, he shows up on matchday, he is the complete package. Dortmund’s skipper displayed some great performances in recent weeks, most notably against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Hopefully, we will see more of these kinds of displays, rather than an almost-scoring-an-own-goal version of him.
First place: Mats Hummels Stop screwing around and extend your contract, Mats! We all know Borussia Dortmund is your home.
Second place: Henrikh Mkhitaryan Miki is the assist-king in Europe and picked up 5/17 in December and January alone. Plus 2 goals equals a lot of fun. Mkhitaryan only just revealed that his German is already quite good – would be shame to waste that effort with a move to a different club. Extend your goddamn contract Miki.
Third Place: İlkay Gündoğan The match against Ingolstadt delightfully showed how screwed Borussia Dortmund are without Ilkay Gündogan on the field. He has found back to his best after the long injury stint. Stop dilly-dallying and secure BVB’s future by signing the dotted line. #Illy2020
— Florian (@FloTo09) 31. Januar 2016
— Daniel G. (@guba1a) 31. Januar 2016
— Ibrahim Tambal (@RatedIKing) 1. Februar 2016
@Yellowwallpod Moritz Leitner.
— Ali (@PuIisic) 31. Januar 2016
— Guinneßmeister (@FussballRobin) 31. Januar 2016
— Laurin (@LaurinHDo) 31. Januar 2016