DFB.de spoke to Mats Hummels about the game ahead against Chemnitzer FC in the first round of the DFB Pokal and BVB’s recent Europa League endeavors.
DFB.de: Mats Hummels, after making it to the Europa League play-offs on Thursday, the next knock-out match awaits against Chemnitzer FC on Sunday. What kind of match do you expect?
Mats Hummels: I expect a similar match like against Wolfsberg. An opponent, that sits deep and throws everything into the game. Chemnitz are playing in 3. Liga for a while now. I think it’s going to be match, which we have to dominate with possession to crush any flickering hopes the opponent might have. They certainly have the quality to be a threat, which is why we have to be thorough from the start – if we achieve that, we’ll be spared from an upset.
DFB.de: Like BVB was spared from Wolfsberger AC? How do you rate the comprehensive 5-0 home win?
Hummels: Very positive. We knew that we could only beat ourselves. We avoided that, even though we left room for improvement in the first half.
DFB.de: In how far?
Hummels: We diminished our confidence by cheap giveaways in build-up play. It took a while until we found it. But in the end Wolfsberg didn’t have a single shot on target. We could have already scored in the first half and should have received a penalty, but we’ve done it fantastically in the second half. Wolfsberger AC didn’t have many touches in our half then.
DFB.de: What did Thomas Tuchel change during the half time?
Hummels: We changed our positioning a bit. We weren’t as tactically disciplined in the first half and we had to many players in spaces, where we couldn’t gain any space, because they were surrounded by eight to nine Wolfsberg players. In the second half we broke through their lines and were able to play the ball into the back of their defense countless time. We got into the penalty area and shot a few beautiful goals.
DFB.de: Of which the last three were scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Will this give him confidence after last season’s mishaps?
Hummels: I’ve been a great fan of him as a person and as footballer right from the start. I was always surprised that his first season was viewed in such a bad light. Everyone had his struggles in the last season. We all have the hope, that he can show his talents more often this year. He is a player, that brings a lot to the table and has everything to act on the highest level.
DFB.de: Your coach said, that there are positive things to take away from the early start of the season. Do you see it the same way?
Hummels: Yes, I’m having fun. I prefer matches, when the stakes are high; When everyone knows, that he can’t afford to make any mistakes, when there is the atmosphere and you feel, that it’s going right down to business. Also I don’t like to play 45 minutes during friendlies, which is why the early start was convenient for me.
DFB.de: Did the record attendance of 65.190 give a taste for more Europa League?
Hummels: Yes. It has to be highlighted, how special it is to play in front of a nearly sold-out stadium in an Europa League qualification match. Our fans can be proud of themselves, we players certainly know to appreciate that.