Hummels returns for Dortmund reboot after Bayern and Germany rejection
Berlin (AFP) –
Veteran defender Mats Hummels will hope to reboot his career at former club Borussia Dortmund next season after finding himself surplus to requirements with both Bayern Munich and Germany.
Hummels, 30, was dropped from the national team set-up earlier this year and has now become the latest senior player to fall victim to Bayern's major rejuvenation programme ahead of next season.
A World Cup winner in 2014, Hummels won his sixth Bundesliga title in May, but will now make what will widely be seen as a step down with his 38 million euro ($43.6m) move from back to former side Dortmund.
Despite impressive performances for both club and country, Hummels' career has been blown off course in the last six months by the winds of change sweeping through German football.
Alongside fellow Bayern team mates Thomas Mueller and Jerome Boateng, Hummels was one of three senior players dumped by Joachim Loew in March as the national team coach looked to breathe new life into his struggling squad.
Like Mueller and Boateng, Hummels voiced his dismay at Loew's decision, before throwing himself into Bayern's league and cup campaigns.
Yet despite playing a crucial role in Bayern's double win last month, Hummels has now fallen prey to the same rejuvenation drive in Munich.
Having bid an emotional farewell to club icons Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery last month, Bayern are now looking to complete the transition to a younger generation as they launch what president Uli Hoeness has called "the biggest investment programme in our history".
- Title assault in Dortmund -
Bayern broke their transfer record with an 80 million euro move for French World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez earlier this year, and have also shelled out 35 million euros for his French team mate Benjamin Pavard.
The new arrivals make for even less elbow room in the Bayern defence, where the once unassailable duo of Hummels and Boateng have already faced new competition from 23-year-old Niklas Suele this year.
Hoeness has already advised Boateng to "find a new club", while Hummels now appears to have jumped before he was pushed.
The 30-year-old returns to Dortmund, where he spent eight successful years from 2008 to 2016 before joining Bayern for 35 million euros.
A product of Bayern's own academy, Hummels rose to prominence at Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga title in 2011 and a year later.
Hummels reached the 2013 Champions League final as an integral player in Jurgen Klopp's swashbuckling young side.
His return has prompted mixed reactions among Dortmund fans.
Some are happy to welcome back a lost son, while others still bear ill will over his departure in 2016, referring to Hummels as a "snake" on social media.
Hummels will hope to emulate Mario Goetze, who has won back the hearts of the famous Yellow Wall since rejoining Dortmund from Bayern in 2016.
The experienced centre-back may also prove to be an invaluable addition to Dortmund's ranks, bringing much-needed experience to a wobbly back line.
Nervy defensive performances cost Dortmund valuable points in last season's title race.
With Hummels around to assist the likes of young centre-backs Manuel Akanji and Abdou Diallo, Dortmund are determined to launch a full-scale attack on the title race again this year.
"We want to win the league! We owe it to German football to have that aim," CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Bild last month.
A seventh Bundesliga winner's medal, and a third in the black and yellow of Dortmund, would also be a perfect response from Hummels after his rejection by Bayern and Germany.
? 2019 AFP