'I'd have died of laughter myself'
Many challenges and decisions await Mats Hummels in 2018, both at FC Bayern and in the Germany national team. The world champion talks about his expectations for the next few months in the second part of the interview with fcbayern.com. He also reveals which match he would like to forget and what he thought about his coffee cup mishap that went viral on social media.
Mats Hummels interviewed, part 2
You have a big cushion in the Bundesliga and you're in the DFB Cup and the Champions League races. What are your chances in the Champions League in your opinion?
Hummels: We have a really good chance now. The semi-finals are always my benchmark, several details are decisive from that point. I think Besiktas are a difficult draw, but we're still favourites. If we advance, luck with the draw and form on the day will be factors too, but we're in the form you need to talk about the semi-finals.
The World Cup will be staged next summer. Have you thought a lot about the tournament?
Not too much so far, except when the groups were drawn and the training base was specified. You're full of anticipation in moments like these of course.
How do you assess the World Cup group stage draw after a few days?
I was a little surprised some people spoke of luck. I disagree. I think we're in a really difficult group. Of course none of our opponents are absolute favourites for the World Cup title, we couldn't have drawn many of them anyway. But we're not going to face a single team that's weak. We have three matches in which we'll have to work hard, and all our opponents have lots of individual quality. South Korea for example have Heung Min Son, Mexico have Chicharito and a few others, and Sweden have Emil Forsberg and perhaps Zlatan Ibrahimovic, provided he's fit. So you absolutely mustn't underestimate the group. We'll have to be fully focused from the first match onwards, otherwise it might be very tricky all of a sudden.
You're very active on social media. Your dropping the coffee cup in 2017 was a memorable moment. Were you confronted with it a lot afterwards?
Very much so, it's mentioned again and again. I think it's incredibly funny, I'd have died of laughter myself had it happened to anybody else. It was a really funny video, and the fans have made funny things out of it, for example the version where I fly to the moon.
Does this self-mockery help you cope with the serious football business?
I don't know if you need it but I definitely have it. I'm definitely able to laugh at myself.
What's on your website confirms it: 'My ambition in every match is that I don't make mistakes. It's never worked.'
That's the ideal case, yes. I also say before every season I want to take 102 points. Of course it's never going to happen. But at this level you should have the ambition that you don't accept it when you make mistakes. At least bigger mistakes annoy me. I'm angry with myself then.
Speaking of that, what match would you call your best one so far?
That's tough, no idea. There were quite a few good matches indeed. The last one that really sticks out in my mind was the international against the Czech Republic because of the last-minute match-winner. These matches where you're alert in defence and stifle many attacks and set up or score a goal in attack, they stick out.
Which match would you like to forget quickly?
Fortunately there weren't so many recently. There were some of them in the past, when I was out of it mentally. I'd include the semi-finals of the Euro 2012. Not so much because I didn't prevent the cross that lead to the goal but the whole game. I had enormous problems with Cassano. Interestingly, not with Balotelli. He scored twice but the one-on-ones against him were okay. But I had big problems with Cassano due to his unorthodox play. It was match that annoys me as I want to turn in a different display on such a big stage.
2017 was not only eventful in terms of sports, you also set up the ThoMats challenge. What's the score?
I think I'm 4-3 in the lead. It's a lot of fun. But we can only do it if the situation allows it. The sport always has priority. But it's really cool as a small distraction for us and the fans.
Click here for the first part of the interview.