Central defense was a worry for the Germans as they landed at Euro 2012. The concern was mostly about Per Mertesacker, the highly experienced 27-year-old who missed three months of Arsenal’s season after a February ankle injury.
He was slow to recover afterward, which left the German central defense in the hands of Bayern Munich’s Holger Badstuber, 22, and Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, 23, neither of whom had could match Mertesacker’s international chops at center back. (The Arsenal man has 81 caps for Germany, twice the number for the other two combined.)
Badstuber has been fine so far at Euro 2012, but Hummels has been an absolute revelation, surely justifying Joachim Low’s choice to hold Mertesacker in reserve.
Some might even say Hummels (pictured above, on the left), the co-backbone of Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga champion defense, has been the top tournament’s top player so far. I find that a compelling argument, especially after marveling at the young center backs’s standout performance right away in Germany 1-0 win over Portugal.
According to The Guardian’s combined ratings (as submitted by readers), Hummels has, in fact, been best of the Euro beasts so far. The top five players according to Guardian readers:
- Mats Hummels (Germany) 7.93 average reader rating
- Andrés Iniesta (Spain) 7.67
- Daniel Agger (Denmark) 7.50
- Manuel Neuer (Germany) 7.47
- T – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) 7.40
- T – Mario Mandzukic (Croatia) 7.40
ProSoccerTalk is doing its best to keep you up to date on what’s going on in Poland and Ukraine. Check out the site’s Euro 2012 page and look at the site’s previews, predictions, and coverage of all the events defining UEFA’s championship.