Michael Ballack: Mats Hummels' strong performances should have seen him picked for the German National Team

Former German international Michael Ballack believes that Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels deserved to be called up for Germany's Euro 2024 contingent based on his performances.

Mats Hummels has been one of the club's most consistent and important players throughout the the 2023/24 season to date. This of course has been most evident particularly in the Champions League, where the veteran defender has shown his class in almost every performance, even scoring the goal that has propelled Dortmund to their first Champions League final since 2013.

This final, set to take place in Wembly, could prove to be the crowning jewel in what has been a glittering career for Hummels, but there was yet one more experience the defender was looking to have in the near future, that being going to the Euro 2024 with the German national team on home soil. Unfortunately for Hummels, this dream looks to have been dashed, with Germany Head coach Julian Nagelsmann opting for other defensive options in the squad he's named for the tournament.

Nagelsmann's decision to omit Hummels from the squad has been met with mixed reactions, and it's no surprise that this is the case. Hummels has been stellar and offers invaluable experience at such a tournament, having won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 as one of the undisputed starters. In an interview with MagentaTV, former Germany international Michael Ballack echoed this sentiment, stating that based on performances, Hummels should have been included in the squad:

"Julian Nagelsmann's approach is clear and understandable. But in such a tournament there are unpredictabilities and uncertainties...Mats Hummels belongs in the squad in terms of performance."

Michael Ballack

Ballack did however note that Hummels would possibly be a player that would add "salt in the wounds" if the tournament were to go badly, as would Bayern Munich's Leon Goretzka:

"But he is a player who would put his finger in the wound if it goes badly. And which might also be demanded by the public. Leon Goretzka would also be such a guy. The two could also have been taken in positions 12 and 13. But Nagelsmann's idea of squad composition does not provide for this."

Michael Ballack

Nagelsmann mentioned in an interview that he had very "emotional" conversations with both Hummels and Goretzka about leaving them out of the squad, and stated that while they were not chosen, it doesn't make them "bad people":

"Both [Hummels and Goretzka] were extremely disappointed. To tell players that they are not at the home European Championship - these are not nice conversations. It hurts me to reject a player...[but] the best team is not necessarily the 22 best players. This does not mean that those who are at home are bad people."

Julian Nagelsmann

Both Ballack's and Nagelsmann's assessments of the situation are curious, to say the least. Hummels has been nothing short of a leader in propelling Dortmund forward in Europe's top club-knockout competition, which underlines his leadership credentials and why he would've been very valuable to this Germany national team this summer. Even if not as a starter, Hummels would certainly be a better option than the likes of Robin Koch or Waldemar Anton, both of which have been strong for their respective clubs, but neither of which have operated on a level anywhere near to the pressure that such a tournament brings.

From an outside perspective, the decision to leave Hummels behind is one that makes you raise your eyebrow, but perhaps there are underlying reasons the general public is not privy to that in some way justify these decisions. Germany starts off their tournament facing Scotland on June 14, and it will only be once the tournament is well underway that we will see if Nagelsmann ends up vindicated in his decision-making.