As we enter a new decade, The Hard Tackle takes a look at the best players to have represented Bayern Munich over the past ten years.
The last decade has been a very topsy turvy ride for Bayern Munich overall. While the Bavarians have had domestic dominance with their multiple Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles, the treble-winning season under Jupp Heynckes will be an iconic and most defining moment for the club in this decade.
There have been some exceptional talents representing Bayern in this decade, but most of the players from that remarkable season in 2013 feature in our Bayern Munich Tam of the Decade. We at The Hard Tackle analyse this side for Bundesliga’s record champions, Bayern Munich.
GK: Manuel Neuer
One of the best goalkeepers in the past decade and of all time, Manuel Neuer was the indisputable choice in this position for Bayern Munich. Neuer has redefined the skill of goalkeeping with his sweeping abilities and ball playing skills in addition to the brilliant shot stopping prowess.
The Germany international played a very instrumental role in Bayern’s treble season and was a mainstay in the Bayern goal throughout the decade and is, therefore, a straightforward pick.
RB: Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm is an automatic choice when you are speaking about Bayern in this decade. Lahm captained the side for most of the decade and created the winning mentality around the team which helped the Bavarians bag several Bundesliga titles along with the much-celebrated treble.
His consistency and leadership abilities were second to none and with Pep Guardiola approving of his intelligence, Lahm is an absolute legend in his own rights.
CB: Mats Hummels
His partnership with Boateng was much lauded by the fans as he brought that sense of calmness and stability to the backline which Bayern needed. Hummels was a very solid and consistent performer for the Bavarians over his stay at the club.
While Boateng was steeply in his decline, Hummels held the lines with Bayern maintaining their supremacy in Germany. Although he has joined Borussia Dortmund again, he deserves a place in this team only because of his sheer consistency.
CB: Jerome Boateng
Over the years Jerome Boateng has seen the highest of highs and even the lows. People have sung his praise and even criticised him, but he has stayed and till date, he has managed to remain one of the mainstays in the Bayern defence.
The German international played a monumental role in their treble-winning season and has been consistent ever since. He has been on a decline in recent times and has also had his fair share of injuries, but in the decade gone by, Boateng holds a special place in every Bayern Munich fans’ heart.
LB: David Alaba
Apart from a season on loan with Hoffenheim, David Alaba saw the rise in his career with Bayern in the decade. From being a talented prospect to becoming one of the best left-backs in the world, the Austrian international has come a long way.
His partnership with Franck Ribery was special as the duo had an excellent understanding which created a lot of trouble for the opposition defenders. Alaba has now become an integral part of Bayern’s first-team and will play a major role if the Bavarians plan to dominate Europe yet again.
CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
A very crucial member of Jupp Heynckes’s treble-winning side and a loyal servant of the club. Schweinsteiger was the silent warrior for the Bavarians in the 2010s. The central midfielder added a whole new dimension to Bayern’s style of play and was always there in their dire straits.
Even in his last year at Bayern, Schweinsteiger had a superb campaign, maintaining the cohesion of the team with aplomb while being a leader in his own rights. There were players like Xabi Alonso and Javi Martinez bringing a different set of skills to this side, but based on longevity and consistency, Schweinsteiger makes the cut.
CM: Thiago Alcantara
When Pep Guardiola joined Bayern Munich, the first player he wanted to bring from Barcelona was Thiago and the Spaniard came to Bavaria indeed. The youngster from Spain soon became the epicentre and creative nucleus of the Bayern Munich midfield, in turn playing a huge role in maintaining Die Roten’s domestic dominance.
One may question his performances on big European nights, but Thiago has been a pillar in the middle of the park for Bayern and apart from his creativity, he has this ability to control the tempo of the game along with sound defensive numbers over the decade, which is why he makes our team.
CAM: Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller is considered the face of Bayern Munich in this decade. The supporters have a very deep connection with him, considering he has that local blood and represents the ideology of the club as a whole. He has been there with the Bavarian outfit in his highs and in his lows. With 417 outings in the decade, Muller made the most appearances for the club, scoring 266 goals.
He may have been a little subdued in terms of scoring, but his assists ratio and ability to lead a pack resonates on the pitch. While you only look at Muller’s declining goalscoring form no one bats an eye about his overall impact in Bayern’s gameplay. The German international racked up 130 assists in the decade, with only Lionel Messi ahead of him in terms of assists in the last 10 years.
RW: Arjen Robben
Arguably the best player of the decade for the Bavarians, Arjen Robben spent the entire 2010s at Bayern. The Dutchman had his fair share of injuries, but other than that, when in form, he was simply sensational. The most iconic and glorious moment for Bayern has to be the 2013 Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, where he scored the winning goal.
Robben had staggering numbers in this decade, registering 120 goals in 258 appearances along with 62 assists. His iconic cut-ins were so predictable, yet the defenders could not do a thing about it. Robben was a generational talent and his legacy will now live for ages at the Allianz Arena.
LW: Franck Ribery
It will be criminal to leave out Franck Ribery and break the iconic ‘Robbery’ duo. While Ribery joined Bayern before Robben, the duo shared a great bond between them in the decade and propelled Bayern to a different level on the European stage.
A great complement for each other over the years, the duo had the uncanny resemblance of missing out matches with incessant injuries, which restricted the Frenchman to only 291 appearances, wherein he mustered 79 goals along and 90 assists.
His determination and will power even in his last season proved a lot about his love for the game and for Bayern. Keeping his goals and assists aside, Ribery’s contribution to Bayern’s progress as a club was monumental and his 4.1 dribbles per 90 minutes prove how important the current Fiorentina winger was for the Bavarians.
CF: Robert Lewandowski
Over the years, Bayern Munich have had several top strikers, but there has not been a single one like the Polish international. One may argue about Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez’s impact in the treble season, but Lewandowski’s remarkable goalscoring record ever since joining Bayern from Dortmund in 2014 has been astronomical.
The 31-year-old has featured 232 time for the Bavarians and has scored 192 goals. During his time at the club, he has developed into a better individual and has stepped up to bail out Bayern from tough situations. Lewandowski is only getting better with age and as he enters his thirties, the Polish international will look to lead Bayern to European supremacy again soon.
Bayern Munich Team of the Decade: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba; Thiago Alcantara, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery; Robert Lewandowski.