When Union Berlin host Borussia Dortmund at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei this weekend, it will not only see a meeting of David vs Goliath, but also a reunion of two legends of BVB’s past glories. Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic, stalwarts of Jürgen Klopp’s 2012 Bundesliga and Pokal double winners, will face off on matchday 3 of this season.
Born just six days apart in December 1988, Hummels and Subotic formed the cornerstone of the great BVB side assembled by Klopp, which rose to usurp Bayern Munich as Germany’s top dogs at the start of the current decade.
Both have been on quite a journey since their central defensive partnership was broken up in 2016. Hummels moved to Bayern, won three more Bundesliga titles, whereas Subotic went on loan to Köln before moving to St. Etienne in France. It is a far cry from their days as 19-year-old novices thrown together by Jürgen Klopp before forming one of the finest defensive partnerships the Bundesliga has seen.
This weekend however, they are on different sides with wholly differing aspirations for the season. Hummels is seeking to help guide the Schwarzgelben to the title for the first time since 2012 following his surprise return in the summer. whereas Subotic is looking to add his experience to Union’s battle to remain in the top flight in their first season at the top table.
Subotic, now 30, has come up against his former side before whilst at Köln (although not against Hummels). “That was one of the most emotional moments of my career,” he explained of standing alone in front of the Südtribune. “I was speechless, it took my breath away. To experience this level of appreciation is unique.”
But now he faces the club where he spent nine years with his new employers looking to cause a shock in their second home game.
“Our chances aren’t high, but they exist,” the defender admits. “As a Union player now it’s about creating an upset. It is just a football match, and I simply want to win.”
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc also took time during Thursday’s press conference to find some words for his former centre back. “We’re all looking forward to seeing Neven again,” said Zorc. “He’s a great guy and I wish him all the best at Union, but we still want to win on Saturday evening.”
Once brothers in arms at the Signal Iduna Park, this weekend sees the two more like brothers at arms as Bundesliga matchday 3 pits the old friends against each other.
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