?Bayern Munich have enjoyed domestic superiority for almost a decade since Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing demise at Dortmund.
And despite Covid-19 swooping in all pandemic-y, it’s fair to say the Bayern faithful – whose side are currently on course for an eighth consecutive Meisterschale – are less panicked over the potential of a null and void campaign than those who are constantly waking up in a cold sweat on the red side of the Mersey.
Nevertheless, since the turn of the century, Die Roten have boasted some of Europe’s finest outfits, possessing some of the greatest modern talents.
So here at 90min, we’ve decided to conjure up an all-star Bayern side made up of 11 different nationalities, which let me tell ya, is bloody hard considering every generational German has strutted their stuff on the Olympiastadion/Allianz turf at some point in their career.
*And please note: we’re focussing on 21st-century players. There’s a reason the greatest defender of all-time, Franz Beckenbauer, doesn’t make the cut.
Manuel Neuer (GK)
A goalkeeping revolutionary.
There was a time when Neuer was untouchable in the shot-stopping world, his cat-like reflexes but more significantly his ball-playing ability altered the craft he mastered for good.
An iconic and imposing figure amid Bayern’s reign of domestic terror, Neuer has won 13 major honours at the club – racking up 374 appearances and an endless list of individual triumphs.
Hasan Salihamidži? (RB)
The Bosnian was the ultimate utility man during his nine-year career in Munich. He certainly wasn’t the most talented, but he could play a number of roles to a good enough standard – one being at right-back.
A fan-favourite who notched an impressive 365 appearances in Bayern colours, Salihamidži? is now the Sporting Director at the club – a post he’s occupied since July 2017.
Samuel Kuffour (CB)
Although much of his success at the club came in the 1990s, Kuffour continued to play a vital role at the heart of the Bayern backline up until 2005.
The Ghanaian icon ended his long career as one of Africa’s most decorated footballers – collecting 11 major honours at Die Roten in what was an incredibly successful period for the club.
Daniel van Buyten (CB)
Van Buyten was much more than a mere centre-back you’d want to avoid on FIFA 14 due to his 29 pace.
Between 2006 and 2010 the Belgian was a mainstay in two Bundesliga triumphs before the emergence of Jerome Boateng saw Van Buyten’s minutes dwindle up until he called it quits on a career in 2014.
But hey, how many can say they’ve actually hit a ball so hard that it burst during their professional career? Very few, right.
Well, Van Buyten did with a thunderbastard of a free-kick against Koln in 2011. Bosh.
David Alaba (LB)
Following Champions League success with Jupp Heyneckes in 2013, Alaba went on to become the best left-back in the world under Pep Guardiola – with the Spaniard’s innovative idea of inverted full-backs setting the Austrian up for unrivalled success.
He’s still one of the most versatile and complete footballers around and after literally winning it all at Die Roten, the 27-year-old – yes, he’s still that young – looks like he could soon be on his way out of the club.
It just wouldn’t look right, however, for one of Bayern’s modern-day greats to don the colours of another European superpower while he’s still got the latter half of his peak to enjoy.
Ze Roberto (DM)
Known for being a part of Bayer Leverkusen’s notorious capitulation in the 2001/02 campaign, Ze Roberto went on to claim the domestic double three times at Bayern between 2002 and 2006.
A versatile player who could play down the left and would play in a more creative role later on his career, the Brazilian thrived as a defensive midfielder alongside Mark van Bommel during his second spell at the club.
His ability to read the game and sniff out opposition counter-attacks were second to none, while he ended his 20-year career as one of the underrated Seleção stars of his generation.
Owen Hargreaves (CM)
The Owen Hargreaves breed is an extremely rare one. He’s the only Englishman to don the Bayern shirt…ever.
He took some time to adjust to life in Munich following his move from Canada as a teen, but he soon became a pivotal part of Ottmar Hitzfield’s side – winning the Champions League in 2001 and making over 200 appearances for Die Roten.
While a mightily talented midfielder, injuries infamously blighted his career and he left Bayern following a leg break in 2006 – just months after an impressive World Cup campaign with England.
The diminutive Spaniard just oozes class and is simply a joy to watch when he’s on it.
The ultimate technician, Thiago has endured an up and down career at Die Roten since his 2013 move from Barcelona but nevertheless, the deep-lying playmaker has found his best form under the tutelage of Hansi Flick in recent months.
And with a couple of his prime years ahead of him, Thiago undoubtedly has the chance to cement himself as one of Bayern’s finest foreign exports.
Arjen Robben (RW)
Hairline aside, Robben was one hell of a player.
The Dutchman was a key cog in Bayern’s 2013 Champions League-winning campaign, where he scored a late improvised winner in the final, and established himself as one of the best wingers in the world following a mixed spell at Real Madrid.
Even though the whole world knew what he was trying to achieve when he picked the ball up down the right-hand side, the imperious Robben was just that special he’d execute his trademark move without fail on almost every occasion.
Robert Lewandowski (ST)
The Pole’s tremendous ability to lead the Die Roten line had almost gone unnoticed before his outright ludicrous goalscoring form this season.
Since his move to Munich in 2014, Lewandowski has established himself as a great modern-day forward, a player who possesses the efficiency and ruthlessness to be a prolific goalscorer as well as fine technical qualities and hold-up play to be an effective creator – a ‘nine and a half’ sort of striker.
The definition of a smooth criminal.
Franck Ribery (LW)
The Frenchman was the second half of of the iconic ‘Robbery’ duet that occupied the Allianz Arena flanks for so many years.
During his pomp, Ribery was one of the most elegant around. His weaving runs and bursts of acceleration down the left flank were almost unstoppable, while his exceptional technique and vision allowed him to become an effective playmaker as he made 124 Bundesliga assists in Bayern colours.
Described by Zinedine Zidane as someone who simply ‘loves life’, Ribery was the ultimate crowd-pleaser on the pitch.