The Bundesliga is one of the strongest leagues in Europe which shows just how good Bayern Munich have been to earn the all-time record for league titles in Germany. In fact, their success in the 21st century has been nothing short of staggering with Bayern winning 15 of 21 completed seasons so far. Bayern’s success comes from producing fantastic talent, buying the best players from their division rivals and international superstars who rarely fail to deliver. But who can claim their spot to be in the best squad of the best side in the Bundesliga this century? Who look at an XI of the best Bayern Munich players since 2000.
Best Bayern Munich players this century
GK – Manuel Neuer
Having been the best keeper in the world for over a decade, Manuel Neuer never fails to amaze with his consistent performances. When he joined from Schalke in 2011, he had already shown what he could do with excellent reactions and distribution so he seemed very much like a natural fit at the Allianz Arena.
Since then, his excellent ball skills and top draw saves have forced other keepers to up their games to match his level across the footballing world giving birth to the role of the “sweeper keeper”. Rated by the IFFHS as Goalkeeper of the Decade for the 2010s, it’s no wonder why Neuer is the first name on the Bayern teamsheet year after year.
RB – Philipp Lahm
Seen by many German football fans as “Captain Fantastic”, Philipp Lahm enjoyed a stellar career with nothing left untouched. Able to play as a full-back, defender, or midfielder, Lahm seemed to be all over the pitch.
With solid pace, excellent technical skills and a wicked shot, Lahm could change the game at either end of the pitch without batting an eyelid. Having donned the armband for multiple Bundesliga titles, a Champions League title, and even a World Cup win, it’s fair to say he is the ultimate team captain and certainly one of the best Bayern Munich players this century.
LB – David Alaba
Whilst he might be very attacking for a defender, there is no arguing about the results David Alaba gets when he is on the pitch. One of the fastest players in the game, the Austrian international has run attackers ragged leading counter-attacks and playing menacing roles in the final third.
The 7x Austrian Footballer of the Year never misses a bit and can be proven to be a reliable team player that can make an impact anywhere on the pitch, he remains one of the best left backs in the world.
CB – Jerome Boateng
How Man City must regret letting Jerome Boateng leave. The German powerhouse came into his own with Bayern developing an excellent football mind. His distribution and composure in his own half is almost flawless with very few attackers able to outfox him.
Add to that a powerful presence that doubles up as a threatening aerial attack and you have the makings of a dynamic centre-back. A reliable part of the back four all year round.
CB – Lucio
Very few players could outlast Lucio for stamina or strength, with the Brazilian unquestionably one of the best players that Bayern Munich have imported.
A naturally imposing figure, Lucio was very much an influential figure that helped Bayern stave off any sort of attack during his 5-year spell in Munich. The Brazilian was excellent in the air winning almost all his aerial duels every week cutting out attacks before they could begin.
CM – Toni Kroos
If you need to define a perfect box-to-box midfielder – look no further than Toni Kroos. Very much the metronomic heartbeat of the squad, Kroos made the team tick shifting defensive plays into an attacking manoeuvre in a blink of an eye.
His passing accuracy was only beaten by the types of balls he can play splitting defences open at a whim for attackers to latch onto. Also an excellent set-piece taker, Kroos toyed with German defences for 7 years before taking his talents to Spain with Real Madrid but he remains one of the best players to feature for Bayern Munich this century.
CM – Javi Martinez
It’s hard to believe that Javi Martinez has spent almost a decade in Germany. The Spanish international does what he needs to without any drama – protect the back four and help build attacks.
Capable of playing as a defender as well, Martinez has often proven his worth with excellent composure, passing, and timing on tackles. It has made him one of Bayern’s most consistent performers and a fan favourite even if he chooses substances over style.
RW – Franck Ribery
Say what you want about his off-field antics, Franck Ribery proved himself to be a nightmare for defences to handle on the pitch. Silky skills, quick feet, and bundles of pace made him an attacking threat from all areas of the final third even if his small frame made you think twice.
With 86 goals in over 200 appearances for Bayern, the 3x French Footballer of the Year was one of the real reasons why Bayern has been so dominant throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Having finished third in the Ballon d’Or standings in 2012, Ribery is certainly one of the best Bayern Munich players this century, as was his partner on the other wing.
LW – Arjen Robben
Does anyone have a better left foot than Arjen Robben? Having tortured teams in both Holland and England, Arjen Robben’s arrival to Bayern in 2009 spelt trouble for teams across Germany. The Dutchman’s excellent ball control was only rivalled by his ability to score from almost anywhere with his left foot.
In the area, near the halfway line or even from the touchline, Robben could curl a ball into the corner of the net almost effortlessly. With 99 goals in just over 200 appearances, the Dutchman terrorized defences for almost a decade for Bayern aiding one of the most lethal attacks in European football.
CAM – Thomas Muller
A product of Bayern’s youth system, Thomas Muller has established himself as a Bayern player until the bitter end. Debuting for his hometown side in 2008, Muller has entered into a third decade as one of the stars of the Bayern team.
Whether it is his surging runs into the area, composure in the final third, or coolness from the penalty spot, there isn’t much Muller can’t do. He has scored 212 goals in 568 games across all competitions ensuring helping Bayern to major honours time and time again.
ST – Robert Lewandowski
Who else could play up front in an XI of the best Bayern Munich players this century? Robert Lewandowski has proven himself to be the ultimate scoring machine and is maybe the best Polish player of all time. It doesn’t matter how you try to stop him, the Pole will still more than likely find the net.
Good in the air, excellent skills, and almost unflappable, Lewandowski has proven himself to be the most consistent striker in world football. He has scored 40 goals a season in 5 out of his 6 seasons with Bayern since joining in 2014 with a total of 55 goals in 47 games during the 2019/20 season proving himself to still be at the top of his game. Can anyone stop the Polish master?
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