Bayern Munich is one of the most dominant clubs in World football and over the years seen some of the best players in the game playing for them. Some took the steps to stardom at Bayern Munich and build their great careers as players for this club, others were signed to just be that final piece of the perfect puzzle.
Looking at their goalkeepers since Sepp Mayer had the gloves being at the club for 18 years and his consistency was phenomenal. The 1974 World Cup winner had a standing few can imagine, and he was really a symbol of a team that had greatness, being the steady goalkeeper that showed his qualities when needed and always was reliable. 536 league appearances and 95 caps for his country. After 18 years and stepping down in 1980, Bayern Munich struggled to find a replacement, with both Walter Junghans and Manfred Muller playing alternatively.
After Sepp Mayer left a number of players were given the chance in goal with Manfred Muller, Walter Junghans, Jean Pierre Pfaff and Raimond Aumann all being tested, but it wasn’t before Oliver Kahn was signed from Karlsruher SK in 1994 that Bayern Munich again had found a World class goalkeeper that could step up and again win in Europe.
To find a replacement for Kahn was difficult with Michael Rensing and Hans-Jorg Butt tested, but it wasn’t before Manuel Neuer joined in 2011 from Schalke 04 that they again had a clear first choice who has since cemented the position as his own and being a maestro in the national team, winning the World Cup as Mayer and playing up to the standards that we all know is needed to win the top trophies of the game.
- Unique Goalkeepers
- Sepp Mayer (1962-1980), 473 blg, 95 caps
- Oliver Kahn (1994-2008), 429 blg, 86 caps
- Manuel Neuer (2011 ->), 246 blg, 92 caps
Franz Beckenbauer was as we all know playing in midfield in his early years and did so until he was moved “down” into a “libero” position. A free role in the team that often did see him going forward and upset every aspect of the positioning in the oppositions teams. His ball distribution was phenomenal and alongside a player like Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck he had a unique partnership that flourished both in the national team and at Bayern Munich. The two won the World Cup in 1974 and of course being in those European Cup winners teams of the 70’s. Beckenbauer played for Bayern Munich from 1964 to 1977 adding up 476 league games before moving to New York Cosmos and later also representing HSV of Hamburg. Schwarzenbeck played all his football with Bayern Munich in a career lasting from 1966 to 1981, playing 416 league games for his club.
In that great team of the early 70’s you also found Paul Breitner, a player of great skills and power, in his early years cementing the left back position both at club and country. A European Cup winner and World Cup winner as well. Breitner joined Real Madrid and Eintracht Braunchsweig before making a return to Bayern Munich in 1978. In his second spell at Bayern Munich and the national team he was know an experienced midfielder and another example of players who can operate and be excellent in more than one position.
During the 80’s West Germany had a good decade, winning the Euro’s in 1980, and ending runners-up in the World Cup in 1982 and 1986, being defeated by Italy and Argentina in those finals. Bayern Munich continued to develop good teams and still dominant in the domestic competitions but no longer the force they used to be in Europe. Klaus Augenthaler became a key player at Bayern and the symbol of a new “leading character” in the back, and another “one club man” captaining the team to great domestic thriumps as well as being a member of the West-German national team. Augenthaler did win the World Cup in 1990 and was also in part of the squad in 1986, but did not play in the final.
The next man that comes to mind is Markus Babbel. Part of the team that won the 1996 Euro’s and also having a grand career at Bayern Munich, spending two periods at the club before joining Liverpool and later winning the Bundesliga with Stuttgart. Winning the Bundesliga on three occasions and also winning the UEFA Cup and ending runners-up in the CL with Bayern.
In present time Philipp Lahm must be seen as one very important, spending 15 years with the club from 2002 to 2017 and again another stylish player who could operate in midfield and at the back. A World Cup winner, Bundesliga winner eight times with Bayern Munich and also winning the CL with this club. Representing Germany 113 times, a real “icon”.
In the team of today you have a number of great defenders in Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, French World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard and Javi Martinez. Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and Joshua Kimmich are other names that add quality to the squad, but in this list of “icons” they are not yet seen in the same level as those other mentioned.
- Unique Defenders
- Franz Beckenbauer, (1964-1967), 427 blg, 103 caps
- Paul Breitner, (1970-1974) (1978-1983), 255 blg, 48 caps
- Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, (1966-1981), 416 blg, 44 caps
- Klaus Augenthaler, (1976-1991), 404 blg, 27 caps
- Markus Babbel, (1991-1992) (1994-2000), 182 blg, 51 caps
- Philip Lahm, (2002-2017), 332 blg, 113 caps
- Christian Ziege (1990-1997), 185 blg, 72 caps
The first player that comes to mind is Bastian Schweinsteiger, one that in present time has been phenomenal and captained both Bayern Munich and “Die Mannschaft” to great titles. A player that spent most of his career with Bayern representing the club from 2002 to 2015 and alongside Philip Lahm really showing what consistency and club loyalty can give also in the game of today. Bastian Schweinsteiger added up 342 league games and scoring 45 goals, winning the Bundesliga title eight times. One of the greatest players in the history of this club.
During the 70’s with that great team of fantastic contribution you didn’t really have the iconic midfielder, but more hard working warriors. Jupp Kapellmann, Franz Roth and Bernd Durnberger were all loyal servants for Bayern Munich, but they seldom or never got recognized at full international level. Rainer Zobel and Swede Conny Torstensson also played their part, but none of them conquered the World.
Lothar Matthaus was a super signing from Borussia Monchengladbach when joining in 1984 and over the next four years climbing on to the World stage. After four years he joined Inter in Italy, but gladly returned to Bayern Munich for a 2nd spell in 1992. Captaining Bayern and the national team, winning the World Cup and being rated as one of the best player of all time, with 150 German caps to his name, playing 18 years in the national team.
Alongside Lothar Matthaus you had Wolfgang Dremmler, a player that didn’t get the biggest headlines but alongside Paul Breitner and Lothar Matthaus he was a key player both in the national team and for Bayern Munich, playing in the 1982 World Cup finals and winning Bundesliga four times.
In more recent years not to forget Thomas Helmer. A player that could operate both in midfield and defense, and one who played for Bayern Munich from 1992 to 1999. Helmer also played in that 1996 Euro’s and won the Championship with Germany.
Another player that made the most out of his Bayern Munich career was Mehmet Scholl. A key player in many great winning teams. Scholl played 334 league games for this club in the period from 1992 to 2007, spending 15 years at the club. Scholl had injury struggles during his career and never represented Germany in a World Cup, but still managed to play 36 times for his country.
Hasan Salihamidzic is another real Bayern Munich great, representing the club from 1998 to 2007. A player that was there during all his years, but probably didn’t get as much praise as he should have. Representing the club in 234 league games and doing the hard work. The Bosnian also played 42 times for his country. Winner of the Bundesliga six times, the CL as well.
Olaf Thon also had a number of years at Bayern Munich, and at the time a certainty in the German national team. He served Bayern from 1988 to 1994, playing 148 games in the Bundesliga before returning to Schalke 04, were he played before and after his days at Bayern.
We would also like to add Thomas Strunz to the list of iconic players as he is. Another of those 1996 German heroes and also a winner of titles in the Bundesliga and in Europe with Bayern Munich. Played for the club in to periods, first from 1989 to 1992, leaving for Stuttgart and then coming back in 1995 and playing until 2000.
There are so many players to chose from, with Dietmar Hamann and Mark Van Bommel amongst them, and of course the group of players that appear in midfield today. Leon Goretska and Thiago are of course great quality but still a bit left to be seen as special as the once we have listed below.
One player and the last in our list of unique midfielders is Owen Hargreaves. A player that won the Bundesliga four times with Bayern and also has lifted the Premier League trophy with Manchester United. He spent seven years in the first team at Bayern Munich, before making his switch to English football, strangely overlooked by the same nation as a youngster. Hargreaves grew up in Canada and by that probably overlooked. A skilled midfielder who had a bit of injury troubles during his days as a player. He played 42 times for England and was part of the 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads.
- Unique Midfielders
- Bastian Schweinsteiger, (2002-2015), 342 blg, 121 caps
- Franz Roth, (1966-1978), 322 blg, 4 caps
- Lothar Matthaus, (1984-1988) (1992-2000), 302 blg, 150 caps
- Hasan Salihamidzic, (1998-2007), 234 blg, 42 caps
- Thomas Strunz, (1989-1992) (1995-2000), 156 blg, 41 caps
- Wolfgang Dremmler, (1979-1986), 172 blg, 27 caps
- Thomas Helmer, (1992-1999), 191 blg, 68 caps
- Olaf Thon, (1988-1994), 148 blg, 52 caps
- Owen Hargreaves, (2000-2007), 145 blg, 42 caps
Forwards / Wingers
Gerd Muller is the first name that comes to mind when you speak about Bayern Munich forwards. His presence at this club will never be forgotten and his goalscoring abilities was something out of somewhere you have never seen. His tally of goals stopped at 398 in 453 league appearances for this club. His tally in the national team was even more impressive, 68 goals in 62 games, what a record. The way he could sniff a goal and score from inside the penalty box was just fantastic. He had his life at Bayern Munich from 1964 to 1979 before moving to NASL and playing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers. A World Cup winner in 1974 and of course a key player in all those fantastic European Cup wins in the 70’s at Bayern.
Karl Heinz Rummenigge is the next player on the list of unique goalscorers and forwards at this club. Today a president at the club and back in his days as a player often playing alongside his brother Michael, who also had a good career at Bayern Munich. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge played 310 league games and scored 162 goals over 10 seasons before leaving in 1984 to join Inter Milan and later finishing his career in Switzerland with Servette Geneve. His presence in the national team was even more lightening as he played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals and was a key player in that 1980 Euro winning side.
Two other brothers, Uli and Dieter Hoeness both had their great days in the Bayern Munich shirt. Uli as a young and great forward partnering Gerd Muller up front both at club and national team level. He was a key player in the 1974 World Cup winning team. He had to retire early and was in his late 20’s when playing for the last time for Bayern Munich, adding up 239 league games, scoring 68 goals. His international career was also shortened lasting only four years, playing 35 times for West Germany. Dieter arrived at Bayern Munich from Stuttgart the year Uli stopped playing, being at the club until retirement in 1987. Dieter was a prolific goalscorer, but really not seen as an international, only playing six times, but for the critics he scored four goals in those games, not at all bad. He did get a late call up as a 33 year old for the 1986 World Cup’s and took home a silver medal, for Bayern Munich, Dieter scored 102 goals in 224 Bundesliga games.
Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery are two recent players to mention as they both contributed to a fantastic run of results over the last decade or so, playing a big part in this clubs history. Ribery and Robben also had a glorious career at international level and represented a number of other clubs before ending up at Bayern Munich. Ribery played in France for clubs such as Metz and Marseille, while Robben had a past at PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Today the club have some fantastic players and of course Robert Lewandowski comes to mind. A total of 162 goals so far in Bundesliga, all achieved in 190 games, phenomenal. Lewandowski also score goals at internatioal level with Poland, hitting 61 in 112 appearances. The 31 year old will probably continue to score goals for Bayern Munich for a number of seasons. Serge Gnabry is a young player to watch and of course established in both the club team at Bayern in the national team. He had to move back to Germany to get a restart after being snubbed by Arsenal. Scoring goals on a high level and for Germany he has hit 13 in as many games.
Thomas Muller must not be forgotten, one of the finest forwarding footballers produced. A player that has been there all the time and not really given enough credit for his work. What a player, World Cup winner and of course loads of Bundesliga titles in his pocket. Still not more than 30 years of age, and a tally of 118 goals in 351 games for his Bayern.
One player that might have gone under the radar as a unique and special one, could be Claudio Pizarro. He had two spells at Bayern Munich, and was a real hero among Bayern fans, playing a total of 224 games and scoring 87 goals. He is a cult hero at Werder Bremen, a club he played for in four different periods. He also had a spell in England with Chelsea and of course a giant for his home nation Peru.
- Unique forwards / wingers
- Gerd Muller, (2002-2015), 453 blg, 62 caps
- Thomas Muller, (2008 ->), 351 blg, 100 caps
- Uli Hoeness, (1970-1979), 239 blg, 35 caps
- Dieter Hoeness, (1979-1987), 224 blg, 6 caps
- Franck Ribery (2007–2019), 273 blg, 81 caps
- Arjen Robben (2009-2019), 201 blg, 96 caps
- Robert Lewandowski (2014 ->), 190 blg, 112 caps
- Serge Gnabry (2017->), 61blg, 13 caps
- Karl Heinz Rummenigge (1974-1984), 310 blg, 95 caps
- Dieter Brenninger (1962-1971) 276 blg, 1 cap
- Giovane Elber (1997-2003) 169 blg, 15 caps
- Carsten Jancker (1996-2002) 143 blg, 33 caps
- Jurgen Klinsmann (1995-1997) 65 blg, 108 caps
- Roy Makaay (2003-2007) 129 blg, 43 caps
- Claudio Pizarro (2001-2007)(2012-2015), 224 blg, 85 caps