Mats Hummels, featured in an interview in the video above, is about to play the most important game of his international career as he and the rest of the German national team take on team Argentina for the 2014 World Cup.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. It’s His First World Cup
Hummels joined the German under-21 national team in 2009, and debut on Germany’s senior national team on May 13, 2010 in a friendly against Malta. He was in Germany’s starting line up for their UEFA Euro 2012 Championship game against Portugal and helped them secure a 1-0 victory. During this year’s World Cup, Hummels scored the second goal in Germany’s 4-0 win against Portugal and scored the winning goal in Germany’s 1-0 victory against France.
2. His Current Club is Borussia Dortmund
Hummels plays as a central defender for Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, which is part of the Bundesliga, the top tier of Germany’s football system. He joined Borussia Dortmund on loan in 2008, but was fully signed to the club in February 2009. Before joining Borussia Dortmond, Hummels played for Bayern Munich from 2007 to 2009 and spent a year in the reserves at Bayern Munich II from 2006 to 2007. He worked his way through Bayern Munich’s youth program from 1995 to 2006. He signed his first professional contract on Dec. 19, 2006.
3. He Comes From an Athletic Family
Mats Hummels’ father, Hermann, was a professional soccer player and worked as a youth coordinator for Bayern Munich’s youth program until March 2012. Mats Hummels’ younger brother, Jonas, plays as a central defender for SpVgg Unterhaching, located in the southern outskirts of Munich. Borussia Dortmond is located in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, roughly one hour north of Hummels’ hometown of Bergisch Gladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia.
4. He’s a Contender for FIFA’s Golden Ball Award
Hummels, along with three of his teammates, was nominated to receive FIFA’s Golden Ball for the 2014 World Cup. The Golden Ball is awarded to the tournament’s best player. If Hummels or any of his teammates win this year, they will be the second German player to win the Golden Ball in tournament history. The first German to ever win the Golden Ball was Oliver Kahn at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
5. He Has a Girlfriend
Hummels’ girlfriend, Cathy Fischer, was named Germany’s WAG of the Year in 2013. The two have been dating since 2007 and moved in together shortly after their relationship began. Hummels and Fischer did a joint photo shoot for the German edition of GQ in 2011.
Fischer’s Instagram features some gorgeous shots of her supporting her boyfriend in Brazil. Here are a few you need to see: