The summer transfer window officially opens in less than 24-hours, and Bayern München will recommence the annual process of refreshing the squad to stay at their astronomically high level. With contract extensions and free transfers completed, some of the work is already done, but Bayern would not be the team they are without a summer signing or two.
Before looking forward to the rest of the true beginning of football summer, let's take a look back at prior summer to see how the team transformed into what it is today. With transactions limited in the football universe, transactions of the past can define the direction of a club. Peeking into the past can give an idea of how moves can work out – or not work out – and how Bayern adjust to their ever changing roster.
The summer of 2011 was when Bayern started to build towards the team that has dominated Europe over the past two years. The club opened the check book to import top German talent, keeping to a true identity as a German club, but also found the right deals to fill their needs. The players who departed the club were either icons seeking to continue the prime of their careers or youth products that did not fit in to new manager Jupp Heynckes's plans.
The departures have not been missed, and majority of the arrivals have received contract extensions. There is a good reason for both of those trends.
David Alaba (Loan Return, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
Bayern opened the check book to purchase two German internationals, and yet one of their most significant arrivals was a player returning from loan.
Alaba had just concluded a six month loan to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, playing every minute of every game of Hoffenheim's Rückrunde, mostly in central midfield. He played there once he returned to Bayern, but Lahm's return to right back carved a new career path for Alaba. He became the primary left back option overnight, on a track that would eventually make him one of the world's best left backs.
While rumblings of a return to midfield persist, his immediate future remains in defense at Bayern, filling a much needed void across from Philipp Lahm. His contributions has earned him a contract extension until 2018 as well as his own share of individual hardware.
Jérôme Boateng (€13.5 million, Manchester City)
Boateng was one of the tugs of war Bayern were pulled into with some of their transfer targets. The club had an agreement on a four year contract for the defender to transfer to Bayern, but Bayern and Manchester City were €7.5 million apart on the transfer fee (the citizens were looking for €20 million).
Eventually the German giants bought the injured Boateng for €1 million more than Manchester City paid to pluck him from Hamburger SV the year prior. Boateng has been a bargain compared to the production that he has put into Bayern the past three seasons, even if parts of his game are lagging a bit. At 25, his ceiling is high enough for him to develop into one of the world's greatest defenders, and Bayern has since showed a commitment to him with a three-year contract extension.
Manuel Neuer (€27.5 million, FC Schalke 04)
Even though his transfer came at a time when Bayern's goalkeeper situation was in turmoil, Neuer's transfer was long in the works. Bayern had to pry Germany's No. 1 from the clutches of Schalke, and it eventually took a record-setting bid to do so. It was a transfer that some of the Bayern ultras protested, but one that now looks like one of the best investments Bayern has ever made.
Neuer won more trophies with Bayern this season than he did his entire time at Schalke. He has transformed from one of the world's elite to the best goalkeeper in the world. Is instincts are that of a firefly, and his acrobatics make Cirque du Soleil look like a carnival circus. He is still just 28 years of age, and his contract extension until 2019 reflects his value on the world stage.
Nils Petersen (€2.8 million, Energie Cottbus)
At the time of his purchase, Petersen was the top scorer of the 2. Bundesliga on 25 goals, but Energie Cottbus came up 10 points off promotion nonetheless. They were able to hold on to Petersen through the winter transfer window and tried to extend his contract past 2012, but Bayern came calling with the largest transfer fee they have ever received for a player.
Petersen was the perfect gamble for Nerlinger to take at the time, purchasing a 22-year-old striker that had played on Germany's youth teams. He essentially took Miroslav Klose's place on the roster, scoring four goals in 15 appearances. Still, he was the third option with now view of the surface, something that would eventually lead to his departure.
Márcio Raffael Ferreira de Souza (€5.5 million, FC Genoa)
Rafinha was a player Bayern allegedly wanted in 2009, but Louis van Gaal, the Bayern manager at the time, did not want two small fullbacks simultaneously on the pitch. When Schalke sued FC Genoa for not paying their transfer fee in time, Rafinha wanted to move back to the Bundesliga, not wanting Genoa to wait until his contract expired. Bayern seized the opportunity to buy the 25-year-old at perhaps a discounted price.
To start the season, he was the first-choice right back, but he eventually fell out of favor in a big way. Heynckes elected to switch Philipp Lahm back to right back, allowing Alaba to take total control of the left back spot. He barely saw the field in Bayern's treble season, but Pep Guardiola eventually resurrected his career in a big enough way that he popped up on Luis Felipe Scolari's radar for the Brazil national team. His escape from the doghouse awarded him a contract extension until 2017, which might have prompted Benno Schmitz and Vladimir Rankovic to seek professional contracts elsewhere.
Takashi Usami (Loan, Gamba Osaka)
Usami was a move unlike any other Bayern had done before. He was a 19-year-old that scored 7 goals in 26 appearances with Gamba Osaka, and was on his way to a similar season when Christian Nerlinger came calling. Bayern received him on a loan with an option to buy him, hoping he would make a similar impact that Shinji Kagawa made at Borussia Dortmund.
Usami made just five appearances as a right winger, making two starts when the season was already out of Bayern's hands. He made a bigger impact with the reserves, scoring seven goals in 18 starts. It was a chance that did not pay off for Bayern, but insignificant since they did not pay much for him.
Hamit Altintop (Free Transfer, Real Madrid)
Altintop was perhaps the one who suffered the most from the emergence of Thomas Müller. Even though Arjen Robben missed the entire Hindrunde with a muscle strain, Altintop managed just nine starts in his final Bundesliga season, although he was a top choice in the Champions League. It was only natural for him to jump at the opportunity to play for Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.
Even though he has not necessarily first choice at recent sides, he has still managed to remain desirable to Champions League clubs. He transferred to Galatasaray a year later, collecting six assists in 29 appearances in the Süper Lig. He is coming off of a year lost to injury this season as he tries to keep his club the best in Turkey.
Mehmet Ekici (€5 million, SV Werder Bremen)
Coming off of a successful loan spell at 1. FC Nürnberg, Ekici returned with just one year left on his contract. Wanting certainty in his career direction rather than a second loan spell, he and his agent entertained approaches from SV Werder Bremen and Hamburger SV while on loan. Bayern eventually had to relinquish their youth product, collecting €5 million in compensation.
Ekici has yet to make the impact many were anticipating after being deemed the "new Özil." He has struggled with pelvic, adductor and foot injuries over the past three years, only managing 43 appearances. He has not even managed to match what he produced in his single season at Nürnberg during his time in Bremen. His contract runs out after this season, and though his future may not be in Bremen, he is still young enough at 24 to have a successful footballing career.
Miroslav Klose (Free Transfer, SS Lazio)
Once the lone striker in the focal point of Bayern's attack, Klose's place in the squad was diminishing quickly. With continued fitness troubles and Mario Gómez and Ivica Olic in the side, he was starting to get buried in the squad. Bayern offered him a one-year contract extension, but the 33-year-old Klose decided to take a chance to prove that he still had it.
His move to Lazio resurrected his career, although his fitness issues have persisted. He has still managed to stay in the German national team picture, the only striker Joachim Löw has taken to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. He is in the final year of his contract with Lazio, so his 2014/15 campaign might be his last.
Thomas Kraft (Free Transfer, Hertha Berliner SC)
Kraft's departure was the casualty of a mismanaged goalkeeper situation, one that caused Bayern to part ways with van Gaal before his contract expired. Van Gaal committed to Kraft during the second half of the 2010/11 season, a decision that the front office did not agree with. Once van Gaal was released from his duties, Kraft was once again benched in favor of Hans Jürg Butt. Butt's one year extension, in conjunction with Neuer's arrival to Bayern, eventually pushed Kraft out the door.
Kraft has since had a mediocre career, playing as the primary goalkeeper for Hertha BSC. He gave up 67 goals in his first season, including four in the relegation playoff to Fortuna Düsseldorf, and he and his club were relegated. He has since reemerged as an average Bundesliga goalkeeper, Berlin having its best season since finishing 4th in 2008/09. At 25, he has developed into a serviceable player, but thanks to Neuer, Bayern has not missed him all that much.
Andreas Ottl (Free Transfer, Hertha Berliner SC)
Kraft was not the only player Hertha BSC manager Michael Preetz wanted to bring from Bayern. Already with Luiz Gustavo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Bayern had no intent to bring Ottl, then 25, back into the fold. Ottl then signed a one-year contract to move up north, playing 29 matches but left off the team sheet for the relegation playoff.
He signed a two-year deal with FC Augsburg a year later to stay in the Bundesliga. He was on the team sheet frequently to start the 2012/13 season, but a system change from Jos Luhukay forced Ottl the bench. He missed all of last season with a ligament tear in his ankle, and said in an interview with Bild recently that he is going to look outside of Germany for his next club to sign with.
Arturo Vidal was the one player that truly got away, but the circumstances of his move to Juventus were, shall we say, irregular. He said on several occasions that he wanted to transfer to Bayern, including having a conversation with Jupp Heynckes on the topic. Juventus then swooped in and convinced Vidal to move to Turin instead, signing him to a five year deal. Juventus has won the Serie A title every year since, although have not worked their way around the Champions League obstacle.
Before Rafinha came to Bayern, they were long linked to Fábio Coentrão, then with SL Benfica. Eventually Coentrão chose to go to Real Madrid, who paid €30 million for his services. He has since struggled to find consistent minutes in the side, elbowing with Marcelo for the left fullback spot.
Professional Contracts to Youth Players
After the goalkeeper controversy under van Gaal, Bayern gave a two-year contract to Riedmüller, who transferred to the reserves from SV Heimstetten in 2008. He was the fourth-choice goalkeeper behind Neuer, Butt, and Rouven Sattelmeier. Fortunately for Bayern, Neuer played every match except for two, which Butt undertook