Borussia Dortmund kicked off their preparation for the 22/23 campaign this week. With Edin Terzic returning as head coach and Sebastien Haller, Karim Adeyemi, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle and Salih Özcan being added to a team that lost Erling Haaland, Axel Witsel and Dan-Axel Zagadou, there’s a new buzz around the Westfalenstadion.
“I’m hopeful that we can be successful this year,” Mats Hummels told the club’s own reporter after the first training session of the pre-season, adding: “We’ll an awesome team and we can be happy with the transfer so far, although we haven’t seen much of the new guys yet. Either way, it’s fun to be back on the pitch.”
Alexander Meyer, who joined the Black and Yellows as a second goalkeeper from 2. Bundesliga side Jahn Regensburg, was the only new arrival spotted at the training facilities in Dortmund on Wednesday. The aforementioned signings are enjoying an extended vacation along with other BVB internationals and will start their preparations on July 9th.
Meanwhile, Hummels, who was not called up by DFB coach Hansi Flick for the UEFA Nations League in June, had plenty of time to get back in shape after suffering a muscle injury in April.
“Because I was out injured for the last five weeks of the previous season, I could also get an early mental break. So I had five weeks to train without having to plan for games, and afterwards I had another six week for training. I’ve hardly ever been as fit going into a pre-season as I am now,” the centre-back explained about his recovery process.
The 33-year-old is now the oldest squad member of the team since Marcel Schmelzer and Marwin Hitz left the club. Hummels will have to compete for playing time with Schlotterbeck and Süle going forward but the veteran sees his role unchanged.
“Just like in years before, I have to lead the way in training and during games by performing well. I’ve got big ambitions for this season because I’m unhappy with my previous campaign. Nobody must be happy with that. I want to get back to the level I played at during the first two years since my return to Dortmund.”
The anticipation ahead of the season is palpable with 1300 fans in attendance at Adi-Preißler-Allee to watch only a handful of senior team players. Hummels: “Public training sessions are far more fun than training or playing without fans in attendance. I’m hopeful that we get to experience a few more before we have to play every three days again, when it will be a bit more tricky to have those. It’s also nice to see that people are excited about us again. Two years ago it felt rather lonely.”
(Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)