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Dortmund need win to save their season

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Dortmund stars defend Mats Hummels

Borussia Dortmund players have jumped to Mats Hummels’ defence after he was demoted to the bench for Germany’s recent World Cup qualifiers.

Germany kept back-to-back clean sheets in Mats Hummels' absence.
Germany kept back-to-back clean sheets in Mats Hummels' absence.

Low praises Mertesacker

Hummels, 24, had been left out of Germany coach Joachim Low’s starting line-up during the 3-0 victory over Austria and the 3-0 win against Faroe Islands over the recent international break, with Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng preferred.

The Dortmund centre-back was named “loser of the week” by several German papers, including football weekly kicker and popular tabloid Bild, which quoted Hummels as saying: “Right now, I will not make any statements, nor will I give any interviews.”

Fellow Dortmund players Ilkay Gundogan and Roman Weidenfeller, however, defended him against the recent criticism.

“It’s not an easy situation for him,” Gundogan, currently sidelined with a back injury, told Ruhr Nachrichten. “However, for me, Mats is one of the best centre-backs in the world. He has helped shape our game in recent years and is a very important figure for me.

“A player goes through times like this sometimes. I have experienced this myself. Mats is intelligent and strong enough to draw the right conclusions. I am not worried about him.”

Dortmund goalkeeper Weidenfeller added that Hummels will get the full support of his team-mates, but told Reviersport: “He is experienced enough to handle the situation.”

BVB coach Jurgen Klopp had defended Hummels earlier this week, saying that “there are days when the midfield does not defend” and, in those situations, “it was of no use to talk about the defenders for one second”.

Meanwhile, Jakub Blazczykowski and Robert Lewandowski both picked up knocks during the recent international break.

The Poland internationals both returned to club duty with minor knee injuries and could miss Saturday’s game against Hamburg.

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