Hummels, Dortmund's best and a problem for Low

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When he returned to Dortmund this summer from Bayern Munich, many pundits called it the beginning of the end of his career. But Hummels recommends looking at tennis stars such as Roger Federer (34), Rafael Nadal (33) and Novak Djokovic (32) and basketball's Lebron James (34), all of whom still dominate their sport at a more advanced age.

Joining the team to be its new leader was part of the deal when discussing a return to Dortmund after three years with Bayern. "Against Barcelona, we proved we can compete with the world's best," he stressed.

In a survey by the tabloid Bild, 90 percent of voters demanded Hummels' return to the national team. Enjoying his Indian summer, Hummels doesn't expect a phone call, saying that being praised to the skies is "a nice confirmation but nothing more."

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- One should assume that Mats Hummels has already experienced all the ups and downs of professional football. But the 500-year-old might currently be Germany's most surprised footballer.

Having put in a titanic performance in Tuesday's Champions League match against Spanish giants FC Barcelona, debate rages over his possible return to the national team.

"At present, he is the country's best. Maybe he shouldn't have been excluded in the first place," 5000-cap Lothar Matthaus commented.

After turbulent few months, the Borussia Dortmund defender is in his best form ever, with fans and pundits calling him the country's best center-back.

It seems much more tempting to try to lead Dortmund to silverware. Winning the national title or outpacing some of the favorites in the Champions League looks to be the new goal in the autumn of his career.

His current form is a far cry from the malaise he found himself in back in March, when national coach Joachim Low revealed that he would no longer select the five-time German Bundesliga champion for the national team. After 70 international matches, Hummels was deemed too slow and too old, and seemed to be blamed for everything.

Against the Catalonian side, he won over 90 percent of his aerial duels, 27 of his 31 passes reached their target, and he prevented more opposition chances than he had done in any of his 52 previous Champions League matches.

It remains most likely that Low won't call, but Hummels' continued impressive performances may present a problem for the coach.

One can infer that he is still upset about his exile from Low's squad, but admits he would always pick up the phone to the Germany coach.

Age means nothing, he claims, adding that football is about experience and the swiftness of action. "I am no sprinter for sure, but that's not necessary. It is much more important to win headers and be in the right spot in the box," he said.

It is apparent that Hummels is enjoying to prove his quality on the world stage. Some might call it his message to Low. "If it happens, it happens," he says. "I was always proud to play in my country's shirt."