Bayern's history is riddled with many brilliant factoids; today we look at five players who helped produce some of these by just being very very young.
1) Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg:
This Danish star was only 17 years and 251 days old on the day that he made his debut. Jupp Heynckes introduced the tough tackling midfielder with about twenty minutes to go in a match against Nürnberg in the 2012-13 season. The debut was only the start of much bigger things for the Danish teenager. Pep Guardiola came into the club and tried using Hojbjerg as a wing back. The role suited him perfectly due to his work rate and his flexibility. Guardiola fielded him in the German Cup Final of 2014 where Hojbjerg's performance caught the eye of coaches and reporters alike including Markus Weinzierl.
Currently, as a result, he is on loan to Bavarian neighbors FC Augsburg where he has already made four appearances. Considering Guardiola risked starting the player in what was a potentially make or break match for him in 2014, Hojbjerg should be back at Bayern (and preferably on the field and not on the bench) once his loan spell ends.
2) David Alaba:
Louis Van Gaal did not have an easy beginning period at Bayern. However, as Bayern found their footing in all competitions, Van Gaal handed debuts to some promising youngsters. In a memorable derby against Greuther Fürth in the DFB Pokal, after Bayern had already booked their place in the next round, he gave Alaba his debut; Alaba was 17 years, 7 months and 8 days old.
Eventually, Alaba found himself starting matches in the Bundesliga; however, his mentality was really put to the test when he made an error against Eintracht Frankfurt. Van Gaal did not abandon his faith in the player though and kept him in the back line although the Austrian preferred playing in midfield. Eventually, he became the club's first choice left back, usurping Diego Contento in the process. Today, he is used in varying positions in defense and in midfield.
He is only 22 years old and hopefully has many memorable years to give to the side.
3) Toni Kroos:
The only player in this list who does not star for Bayern Munich any more, the current Real Madrid midfielder made his debut at the age of 17 years, 8 months and 2 days. Bayern enjoyed a fruitful season under Otmar Hitzfeld in 2007-08. When Bayern was 3-0 up against Cottbus on September 26, 2007, Hitzfeld subbed off the legendary Brazilian Ze Roberto for Kroos. Toni set up Miroslav Klose for two quick goals as Bayern went on to win 5-0.
Kroos had his ups and downs at Bayern after announcing himself during his loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen. He was a wonderful midfielder though and a joy to watch. He returned to Bayern upon the insistence of Van Gaal but just could not find his feet in the team. Van Gaal gave him enough chances to shine but Kroos scored just one goal in the entire 2010-11 season. After Heynckes came, he was pushed forward and excelled in the central playmaker role. He also learned to play in defensive midfield when Bastian Schweinsteiger broke his collar bone in the 2011-12 season, even starting the Champions League final in that role.
His long balls are missed as are some of his wonderful passes. He won everything he could at Bayern Munich before moving to his new club. He is currently enjoying a successful season there.
4) Gianluca Gaudino:
Gaudino, the son of former Germany international Maurizio Gaudino, made his Bundesliga debut at the opening match of the season when he was slightly older than Kroos. Gaudino played an excellent match overall, completing ninety percent of his passes. Guardiola decided not to send the teenager out on loan. His technique on the ball is on par with La Masia graduates.
Gaudino knows the basics of midfield very well and seems to have a bright future ahead of him.
5) Bastian Schweinsteiger:
A much loved figure at Bayern, this legend made his debut a few days after his 18th birthday. Under Hitzfeld, he was introduced in the 76th minute of a rather peculiar match in the UEFA Champions League replacing Mehmet Scholl. Bayern took a quick two goal lead but was pegged back; the match finished 3-3.
Schweinsteiger has had a long ride with Bayern. Initially he was a spark in a somewhat dull side before he then frustrated fans as he failed to fulfill his potential as a winger. It was Louis Van Gaal who moved him to central defensive midfield where he earned the nickname "Fußballgott". Since then, he has been wonderfully consistent; he has become a leader in the process too. He has gone on to win every title at club level but not before suffering some heartache.
*Samuel Kuffour: Our favorite Ghanaian, Kuffour might have made his debut for Bayern at a younger age than Schweinsteiger but I could not find any official records stating so.
Who is your favorite debutant? Did I leave anyone younger than Bastian Schweinsteiger out? Let us know in the comments!