Football Features

Dortmund’s lucky charm Mats Hummels ends Mbappe’s PSG Champions League dream

By Squawka News

Dortmund's lucky charm Mats Hummels ends Mbappe's PSG Champions League dream

Published: 22:10, 7 May 2024

Mats Hummels scored the defining goal as Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the Champions League final, beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 on Tuesday to complete a 2-0 aggregate victory. 

It’s the first time Dortmund have reached the Champions League final in over a decade, last doing so in 2013, and the symmetry between the two is incredibly satisfying. Die Schwarzgelben can look forward to another trip to Wembley, the venue where they played their last Champions League final, and may well go up against arch-rivals Bayern Munich, who beat them in that showpiece 11 years ago. Revenge could be on the cards.

But it’s the man who fired them there that raised the most eyebrows, with this the first time Hummels has scored a Champions League knockout goal for Dortmund since… Yes, 2013. Lucky charm.

The veteran centre-back became the third-oldest player to score in a Champions League semi-final behind only Ryan Giggs and Edin Dzeko. And the German richly deserved his moment after another phenomenal defensive display to go with his first-leg masterclass.

Leading 1-0 thanks to Niclas Füllkrug’s strike at Signal Iduna Park last week, Dortmund knew they’d be in for a long night of defensive work in Paris. But Hummels led by example as every single player in ‘gelb und schwarz’ stood up to be counted.

The 35-year-old made no fewer than 10 clearances, three interceptions, three recoveries, four tackles and two blocks to frustrate PSG time and again, often popping up in just the right place to stop a Parisian attacker getting an easy effort at goal. Next to him, Hummels’ much younger partner in crime Nico Schlotterbeck posted similar numbers as Dortmund refused to budge in the face of immense pressure — even if they needed a little help from the woodwork on four occasions.

Dortmund’s reward for their dogged persistence was a 50th-minute header by Hummels from a Julian Brandt corner that put the game even beyond the attacking might of Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele. Given the mood Hummels and Co were in, there was no coming back from there.

Edin Terzic’s men and every single Dortmund fan will now nervously await the outcome of Wednesday’s semi-final, where they’ll find out whether they’ll get a Wembley rematch against Bayern or instead take on record 14-time champions Real Madrid.

Mbappe and PSG’s wait for a Champions League title continues: The internet reacts

They’ve dominated French football for over a decade but still, PSG’s wait for continental glory continues, despite eye-watering sums being pumped into their European quest.

This is the second time in four years the Parisians have exited at the semi-final stage following their final defeat to Bayern Munich in 2020 and those three campaigns remain the only times they’ve gone beyond the quarter-finals since QSI’s takeover in 2011.

Of course, Tuesday’s heartbreak also means arguably the greatest player on the planet right now, Kylian Mbappe, is still awaiting his first-ever Champions League title.

Now 25, no player has scored more goals in this season’s Champions League than Mbappe (8), who did his level best across the two legs with eight shots over the entire tie, but without a goal to show for it. But with his future at PSG seemingly over, Mbappe — a World Cup winner with France — still awaits the crowning continental moment he so greatly craves.

It’ll come as no surprise that social media pulled no punches in reacting to Mbappe’s agony.