Best Bayern Munich Players of All Time
As the most successful German team of all-time, Die Bayern has had its fair share of world-class players over the years, some of which have become the legends of the game itself. There are Ballon d’Ors winners aplenty among Bayern Munich’s players so we thought it would be a good idea to see who are the best Bayern Munich players of all time.
Bayern’s most recent Champions League trophy which came at the end of an unprecedented Treble winning season, the 2nd time it has happened in the club’s history, makes us think that who could be the greatest players of Bayern Munich history and could they be even better than the players who won 2 Trebles?! well let’s find out below
Greatest players of Bayern Munich history
With 30 Bundesliga titles, 20 DFB Pokal trophies and 6 Champions League titles, there has to be some world class players amongst best Bayern Munich players of all time. so we have ranked them below:
10. Robert Lewandowski
Recently Thomas Muller jokingly called Robert Lewandowski, “LewandGoalski” and we think that nickname suits him perfectly since he is a bona fide goal-scoring machine. Don’t get it wrong, Lewa is far more than just a goal-scorer, since he can assist them as well as he scores them and he is pretty good at taking on players too, but the rate in which he scores and the absolute hunger he shows for it can only be surpassed by the legends of the game like Gerd Muller or Messi and Ronaldo.
Lewandowski’s career at Bayern Munich started far later than some of the guys on this list, since he started his career in his home country Poland and then moved to Bundesliga, only not to Bayern but rather their biggest rivals, Dortmund. After winning a couple of Bundesliga titles and other trophies he joined Bayern on a free in 2014 and has been winning trophies and scoring left and right ever since.
You Might Also Like: Best Strikers in Premier League History
With Bayern he has won 6 Bundesliga titles and 3 DFB Pokals and just recently he completed the European Treble, Bayern Munich’s 2nd Treble, by beating PSG in the Champions League final, where he almost single handedly took his team to the final by scoring 15 goals. He previously lost the final of the competition in 2012-13 season with Dortmund to another Treble winning Bayern team.
Lewa has scored 251 goals in 294 appearances with Bayern Munich, a number he is certain to improve in the years to come, and he has become 2nd in Bayern Munich’s all-time highest goal scorers, just behind the legendary Gerd Muller. Lewa is a player that craves success and wants to be a legend and he has proven it by becoming one of the best Bayern Munich players of all time in a shorter time than any player on our list and who knows, he may even surpass some of the players on this list in the years to come!
9. Manuel Neuer
The first of 3 goalkeepers on our list of best Bayern Munich players of all time is their current captain, Manuel Neuer. The man who is basically responsible for a new style of goalkeeping as he became the first goalkeeper in the modern era who adopted the role of sweeper keeper. Neuer started his career at Schalke 04 and after winning 1 DFB Pokal there moved to Bayern in 2011-12, where he established himself as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation and possibly ever.
Since joining Bayern Munich, Neuer has won 23 trophies (8 Bundesliga, 2 Champions League and 4 DFB Pokals) and like his teammate Thomas Muller, his two Champions League titles were at the end of 2 Treble winning seasons, a feat that only these two have done amongst Bayern Munich greatest players ever. He has also won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, making some of his most important saves in the final and ensuring Germany’s win by keeping a clean sheet.
Neuer is known for his ability to come out of his goal and sweep the long balls that oppositions play behind his defenders. He is extremely good with both his feet and has a certain arrogance with the ball at his feet. In fact, on occasions he has assisted several goals by playing long balls from the back. In goal however it’s a different story altogether as you’d be hard-pressed to find any goalkeeper with Neuer’s level of reflexes.
Neuer is able to save even the most dangerous one-on-one situations which has helped Bayern on many important occasions, with the most recent being in the final of 2019-20 Champions League season. For all his qualities as a goalkeeper as well as his leadership, both on and off the pitch, he will forever be amongst the Bayern Munich best ever players.
You Might Also Like: Most Clean Sheets in Premier League History
8. Thomas Muller
The most decorated German player of all time needs no introduction as he is well-known and well-loved amongst football fans today but let’s see how Thomas Muller made us all respect him and enjoy his career at the top of footballing world. Muller is a product of Bayern Munich’s own youth academy and he made his way to the first team back when Louis van Gaal became Bayern’s manager in 2009-10 season. Bayern and him were on the cusp of a Treble but they lost the Champions League title to Inter Milan.
Heartbreak would not last long though as Muller went on to become one of 13 players who achieved the European Treble twice. He has also won 9 Bundesliga titles and 6 DFB Pokals. He excelled at international level too, as he became the World Cup Golden Boot winner at the age of 21. As we mentioned before he is the most decorated German player, having won 27 titles, surpassing Bastian Schweinsteiger’s 26.
Despite his goofy demeanor, Muller is actually one of the smartest players of his generation, known for his exceptional positioning and movement on the pitch. Some like to call the position he plays “Raumdeuter” as he is able to use the space he is given to its deadliest effect. Although he is a natural goal-scorer, he is even a better goal creator, as he often has a high number of assists every season. In 2019-20 season he registered an incredible 21 assists-tally which is a record, shared by Lionel Messi, in the Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Even though he hasn’t won as many individual trophies as some of the people on this list, there is no denying that Thomas Muller is one of the greatest players of Bayern Munich history. He represents the winning mentality that Bayern Munich is known for. He is a player who always leads by example, working hard to get every ball, create scoring opportunities and achieve his ultimate goal, which is winning in Bayern’s shirt.
7. Oliver Kahn
Usually great strikers terrorize opposition defenses and goalkeepers but with Oli Kahn the reverse was true, as there were only a handful of strikers who dared to face him one-on-one. Kahn was pure rage made flesh. At times it was as if he was so angry that someone took a shot at his goal that he had to go and save it, which he usually ended up doing. He became impatient when his goal was under threat and usually berated his back-line for letting it happen.
Kahn was a native of Karlsruhe and went on to feature for Karlsruher SC for several years before joining Bayern where, over the years, he was nicknamed “der Titan” for all of his charisma and command on the pitch. His quality helped Bayern achieve unsurmountable success, as he himself became one of the most decorated German players of all time as well as one of Bayern Munich greatest players ever. Kahn won 8 Bundesliga titles,6 DFB Pokals, 1 Champions League and 1 UEFA Cup with Bayern, winning every trophy that a German could at the club level.
You Might Also Like: Best Premier League Comebacks Ever
But perhaps the peak of his career was at the 2002 World Cup where Germany despite not being favorites to reach the final did so, mostly because of Kahn’s incredible performances as the goalkeeper and the captain of the team. Kahn only conceded 1 goal in their way to the final and despite Kahn’s error in the final which led to a goal for Brazil and Germany losing the final, he was awarded the Golden Ball of the tournament, an award given to the best player of the tournament.
To this day he remains the only goalkeeper ever to have won the Golden Ball of any World Cup tournament and that is one of the many reasons he is one of Bayern Munich best ever players.
6. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
The first Ballon d’Or on our list is the legendary striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who played for a decade in Bayern’s colors before moving abroad to Italy to join Inter Milan and later to Servette in Switzerland by the end of his career. Although his best years were certainly with Bayern, where he managed to win 2 Ballon d’Or trophies, becoming one of best Bayern Munich players of all time.
Before all that though, he played for the amateur side Borussia Lippstadt where he played as a teenager and then joined Bayern at the age of 19. He was known for his great technique as he could dribble past many opponents easily. It was later in his career where he, under the guidance of Bayern coach Pal Csernai, became a great goal scorer and won the Bundesliga top goal-scorer award 3 times.
Rummenigge was part of the great 70s Bayern Munich team and he won 2 back to back Champions League titles in 1975 and 1976 but since it was at the start of his Bayern career he only played a small part in it. The real height of his powers came at the start of 1980s where he won 2 consecutive Bundesliga titles and 2 DFB Pokal trophies. He also managed to win the 1980 Euro. He didn’t have luck with the World Cup though as he lost two finals in 1982 and 1986.
Rummenigge represented Bayern Munich in 422 matches and scored 217 goals, which makes him the 3rd best goal scorer in Bayern Munich’s history. For his achievements with Bayern and Germany he was awarded with 2 consecutive Ballon d’Or trophies in 1980 and 1981, forever cementing his place as one of Bayern Munich best players of all time.
You Might Also Like: Inter Top Scorers of All time
5. Philip Lahm
Philip Lahm is one of the greatest right backs of all time, as we have discussed it here before and he has achieved everything in football by being a Bayern Munich player. He had to work hard to achieve that status, even harder than some considering his small stature, and he did so by starting his professional career at Stuttgart after being loaned from Bayern Munich’s youth team to gain more experience.
After a two-year successful loan spell at Stuttgart, Lahm came back to Bayern and started his journey towards greatness. The Magic Dwarf as Lahm was often called, played on both flanks as a fullback and later on his career he also played as defensive midfielder. He was so good that he excelled at every position he played in, especially the right back, where he tended to mostly cut inside and play through passes.
Lahm had a great work-rate which was part of the reason that he became one of best Bayern Munich players of all time. he was like a machine, moving up and down the pitch, either to attack or to stop the opposition. He represented Bayern in 517 competitive matches and scored 17 goals, achieving numerus honors while doing so.
With Bayern, Lahm won 8 Budnesliga titles, 6 DFB Pokals and 1 Champions League which was one of Bayern’s Trebles. He was also very successful with Germany’s national team as he won the 2014 World Cup as a captain and forever etched his name in football history. Lahm also captained Bayern for many years and through a lot of success that they achieved and because of it all he has become one of the best Bayern players of all time.
4. Sepp Maier
The word ‘Legend’ gets tossed around in football a lot, but when it’s used to describe players like Sepp Maier, it’s totally deserved. Since he is one of the best Bayern Munich players of all time as well as one of the Legends of Germany’s national team.
A native of Bavaria, Maier spent his whole career at Bayern, starting from the youth levels and making his way up to the first team. He soon made his way into the West Germany’s national team too, appearing as an unused substitute in the 1966 World Cup. But as the 70s came around, the world witnessed German domination in the footballing stage, as both Bayern and the West Germany won everything there ever was.
You Might Also Like: Best Right Backs Ever in the World
Maier won 4 DFP Pokal trophies as well as 4 Bundesliga titles, but his crowning achievements with Bayern was 3 consecutive Champions League titles (called European Cup back then) between 1972 and 1974 becoming one of the greatest players of Bayern Munich history. He also won the Euro 1972 and the 1974 World Cup with the West Germany national team. Maier was an unbreachable wall in both Bayern Munich, helping the Golden Generation of both teams achieve unsurmountable success and for this he will always be remembered as one of the legends of the game.
3. Lothar Matthaus
One of the greatest central midfielders of all time, Lothar Matthaus played for many teams during his career but he spent more than half his career at Bayern Munich as a pillar in their midfield line, first as a central midfielder and later in a more defensive role as a sweeper, helping Bayern win many trophies and establishing himself as one of the best Bayern players of all time. Interestingly his career didn’t start at Bayern but rather at one of their rival clubs, Borussia Monchengladbach.
He started his career at ‘Gladbach in 1979 and stayed with them until 1984, although he didn’t win any major honors with ‘Gladbach, he did manage to be a part of Germany’s 1980 Euro squad which won the competition. In 1984 he joined Bayern, in what was his first stint at the club, and he managed to win 3 Bundesliga titles and a DFB Pokal. Bayern also managed to reach the Champions League final in 1987 but despite leading 1-0 for the majority of the game, they conceded 2 late goals and lost the final to Porto.
Matthaus’ next chapter were at Inter, where he did manage to win a Serie A and a UEFA Cup, but the peak of his career at the 1990 World Cup, where he captained Germany to World Cup glory and for his part in that achievement received the Ballon d’Or later that year. Matthaus would come back to Bayern 2 years later, and this time he would stay for 8 years, where he won 4 more Bundesliga titles as well as 2 DFB Pokals and a UEFA Cup.
Matthaus who was a prominent goal scorer in his early days as a player, became a more defensive player in his later years. His role as a sweeper helped create a strong shield in front of Bayern’s defense which was integral in their success of those years. As a Ballon d’Or winner, a legend of German football and the game in general, Matthaus will forever be one of the best Bayern Munich players of all time.
You Might Also Like: Players with Most Yellow Cards in the Premier League History
2. Gerhard Muller
Earlier on this list we talked about Lewandowski and how he is a goal machine. Well there is no one in the history of football more deserving of the title than the Legendary Gerd Muller as he was born to do only one thing and that was to score goals. West Germany and Bayern had many legendary players during the 70s, some of whom are on this list but the immense success of those teams could never be achieved if it wasn’t for Muller’s goals.
Muller started his career at his hometown of Nordlingen but he soon moved to Bayern, where he stayed for 14 seasons. He managed to score more than 30 goals a season in all competitions for 12 years of those. We previously highlighted his success as a goal-scorer here and how he is one of the players with most individual trophies to his name, with 2 European Golden Boots and a Ballon d’Or award in 1970.
Gerd Muller won every trophy there ever was with Bayern and West Germany. With Bayern he won 4 Bundesliga titles and 4 DFB Pokal trophies, as well as 3 consecutive European Cups (Champions League) from 1974 to 1976 and a European Cup Winners Cup. He scored an eye watering amount of 565 goals in 607 matches for Bayern, which earned him 7 Bundesliga top scorer award. And with the national team he won the 1972 Euro and the 1974 World Cup, scoring 68 goals in 62 matches.
Gerd Muller’s status as the greatest goal scorer ever could only be contested by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and even then it could be argued that Muller was the better finisher, with better goal ratio per game. He is undoubtedly one of the best Bayern Munich players of all time if not the best and he comes only second in or list.
You Might Also Like: Football Players with Most Individual Trophies
1. Franz Beckenbauer
Who else but the great Franz Beckenbauer could be on top of our list of Bayern Munich best players of all time. aptly nicknamed Der Kaiser or the Emperor because of his commanding presence and elegance on the pitch, Beckenbauer is also the greatest German player of all time and unlike many players on this list, his influence on Germany and Bayern Munich didn’t end with his playing career, as he managed to led both teams into great success as manager also.
But his playing days started in Bayern Munich youth system, where he slowly made his way to the first team and spent most of his best days as a player there. he started his career as a midfielder but later would transition to a role that is now known as the Sweeper or a libero. He is largely credited to having invented the role of sweeper in football. His calm demeanor and command of the ball made him a great shield in front of the defense.
As a player he won 4 Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich as well as 4 DFB Pokals. He was also the captain of the greatest generation of Bayern Munich players, which also included players like Maier, Gerd Muller and Rummenigge, and they managed to win an unprecedented 3 consecutive European Cup (Champions League) titles from 1974 to 1976. He also captained Germany first to European Glory in 1972 Euro and then 2 years later to World Cup success in 1974, writing his name forever amongst the greatest footballer ever.
After becoming one of the best Bayern Munich player of all time he then went on to management where he became one of only 3 people who have won the World Cup as both players and managers. He also led Bayern to a Bundesliga and a UEFA Cup title a few years later. Beckenbauer won 2 Ballon d’Or trophies during his career as a player by leading Bayern and Germany to every trophy that was available and he also managed to impact the game of football immensely. There will simply be no player like him ever again, for Bayern Munich or Germany.