Most German clubs are afraid of playing against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich — and it needs to stop, says Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels says.
Bavarian giants Bayern kick off the new season on August 14 at home to Hamburg and are bidding to become the first team to win four straight league titles, having won last season’s Bundesliga with four games left.
But Hummels said most German teams make the Bavarians’ life easier by showing them too much respect — both on and off the pitch.
“In Germany, too many clubs behave with an element of fear against Bayern, both verbally and on the pitch,” the Germany defender and World Cup winner told magazine Kicker.
“They would do well to cut that out. You often get the feeling that many other teams have already written off their matches against Bayern before the game even starts.”
Hummels says too many teams simply opt for damage limitation against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern.
The point was proved when Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter said “Many thanks for the experience!” in the direction of the Munich bench after his side’s 6-0 defeat last season.
Dortmund finished seventh in the league after a disastrous start to the season which left them bottom in February, leading to coach Jurgen Klopp’s resignation at the end of the campaign.
Having won the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga titles with Dortmund under Klopp, Hummels will play under new Borussia coach Thomas Tuchel when their season opens at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on August 15.
Dortmund face a two-leg play-off against Austrian side Wolfsburg to qualify for the Europa League next season, but Hummels says their focus is on the Bundesliga.
“The fact we want to — and need to — reach the (Europa League) group stages is beyond question,” he said.
“But for us players, it’s clear that what counts is places one to three (in the league), with fourth place as a bare minimum. That’s what we’re working for.”