Coming off a domestic double and another appearance in the UEFA Champions League semifinal, Bayern Munich's squad was still oozing with talent. Just like any club in Europe, the Rekordmeister had its holes in the squad, but Pep Guardiola was prepared to make the tactical changes to make those holes smaller.
Everything seemed set before the start of the season, but then Javi Martínez suffered a debilitating knee injury in the DFL-Supercup. That injury put newly acquired technical director Michael Reschke to work, tasked to acquire defensive and midfield replacements to reload the squad. Bayern acquired two players in the last two weeks of the transfer window for the first time in a decade, spending €38 million in transfer fees.
Even with the last minute adjustments, Bayern came away with a net profit in the transfer window for the first time since 2008. Their profit was partially due to record transfer sales, but also more good business practices that allowed them to get the most out of each Euro they spent.
Xabier Alonso Olano (€10 million, Real Madrid)
Of all the transfers from recent seasons, this one has the biggest counterfactual attached to it: if Martínez had not gotten injured, would Alonso had made his way to Munich? The answer to this counterfactual may have been "yes" regardless, but nonetheless Alonso came as a replacement and turned out to be a very central figure in his first season. This transfer was also not a type of move Bayern have really made in the past; when all is said and done, Bayern may have invested in the perfect bridge between the tenured star midfielders and the next generation.
Medhi Amine El Mouttaqi Benatia (€28 million, AS Roma)
While also a "knee-jerk" response to Martínez's knee injury, Benatia was a player Bayern did their due diligence before acquiring. Their diligence included convincing Benatia to move from Roma, a change of heart that reportedly irked officials at the Italian club. Outside of Martínez (who many still consider a midfielder), Bayern have never shelled out a transfer fee this high for a defender before, but the skill he showed when he was healthy have so far proven he was worth the opportunity cost.
Juan Bernat Velasco (€10 million, Valencia)
Not a very publicized transfer at the time, Bernat's move to Bayern once again proved their ability to pluck 21-year-olds with great potential. Originally cast as a backup, Bernat played more minutes than anyone else in 2014/15. Ironic, how Bayern were desperately trying to find a solution at left back four or five years ago, and now they have two of the premier talents in Europe.
Sinan Kurt (€1.2 million, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
The transfer may have been controversial (one sporting director Max Eberl will not cease to whine about), but Kurt wound up where he wanted to go, getting a professional contract at the tender age of 17. He is Bayern's latest attempt to possess the next German wing talent, although the Mitchell Weiser situation does not provide a great track record of success. Still incredibly young, this transfer will take years to ascertain the true value of it.
Robert Lewandowski (Free Transfer, Borussia Dortmund)
Although he is currently one of Bayern's highest paid players, Lewandowski's transfer is the best piece of business Bayern have done in the past 10 years. A striker of his quality moving on a free transfer is unheard of in modern football, and certainly a piece of business Bayern will receive plaudits for over the next few years. One cannot ignore Bayern's turnover rate when it comes to strikers in recent years. That said, Lewandowski showed late in the season he is the real deal.
José Manuel Reina Páez (€3 million, Liverpool)
There are two sides to this transfer: 1) Bayern have never spent that much money for a back-up goalkeeper, and 2) with just two keepers, Bayern really needed a third. Pepe Reina wanted to go back to Napoli, where he spent a season on loan, but the Italian club could not afford the wages he had on his Liverpool contract. Perhaps the only reason Bayern took on Reina was their success in other aspects of the transfer window, making a high priced back-up goalkeeper an acceptable investment.
Sebastian Rode (Free Transfer, Eintracht Frankfurt)
Despite not being as big in the German national team picture as many in Germany hoped he would be, he was nonetheless a player many – including Revier clubs Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 – were keen on prying away from Frankfurt. He came in as a squad player, but his versatility and drive made him a Guardiola favorite very quickly. Entering his prime footballing years, Rode still has the potential to be an imposing box-to-box force, another wise piece of business for the Rekordmeister.
Diego Contento (€1 million, Girondins de Bordeaux)
A long-time member of Bayern, Contento faced a dead-end in Munich after the transfer of Juan Bernat. Wanting to still profit off his potential, Bayern sold half of his rights to Bordeaux, a club that employed former Bayern left-back Willy Sagnol as its manager. Getting regular first-team minute for the first time in his career, Contento contributed a lot to Bordeaux, but the regular looks unearthed the reason he never was going to get a chance at Bayern.
Julian Green (Loan, Hamburger SV)
With no path to first-team football at Bayern, the club eventually decided late in the transfer window to find Green a destination to get regular minutes. Then HSV manager Mirko Slomka was willing to give Green that chance, providing Bayern with a dream scenario for their young star. It wasn't long after that Hamburg relieved Slomka of his duties, and reserve coach Josef Zinnbauer took his place. That managerial change started what would be a nightmare of a loan situation for every party involved.
Toni Kroos (€30 million, Real Madrid)
The contract talks between Bayern and Kroos will remain behind closed doors, but one can safely assume Kroos wanted more (not just money, but club standing) than Bayern were willing to offer him. Wanting to improve his world-class status, Kroos jumped at the chance to move to Real Madrid. The €30 million Bayern received in the transfer may not seem like a lot for a player of Kroos's caliber, but with a year left on the midfielder's contract, it was high enough for Bayern to consider moving on from their stud academy product.
Mario Mandžukić (€22 million, Atlético Madrid)
Once Lewandowski was officially on his way to Munich, the relationship between Mandžukić and Guardiola (and by extension, Bayern) soured pretty quickly. Guardiola left Mandžukić out of the squad several times, supposedly due to motivational issues in training. These are issues Mandžukić reportedly had at Atlético Madrid as well, and now the 28-year-old Croatian is headed to Juventus, his fourth club in five seasons.
Lukas Raeder (Free Transfer, Vitoria Setúbal)
He did have a good run as the emergency goalkeeper in the absence of Manuel Neuer late in the season, but it was not enough to convince Bayern to extend his contract beyond the two years they committed to him. His brief tenure was mostly spent in the reserves, and the purpose of his presence was clearly as a young insurance policy for Neuer and Tom Starke. He thus decided to continue his career in Portugal, and hopes one day a Bundesliga club will take a chance on him.
Alessandro Schöpf (€400,000, 1. FC Nürnberg)
The professional contract he signed with Bayern came around the same time as Green and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but his raw skills were not as pronounced as his two comrades. Destined to play another season with the reserves, Bayern instead decided to sell him to then-relegated Nürnberg, writing in a €1 million buyback clause. Unlike the Emre Can deal, Schöpf is an attacking midfield talent Bayern can afford to lose, especially with all the midfield talent they now have at the club.
Daniel van Buyten (Retired)
After eight wonderful years in Bayern's central defense, van Buyten decided to hang up his cleats after helping Belgium reach the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Even at his age, he could still bring it on the field, but a 38-year-old out of contract defenders probably does not get the same phone calls as he would have in the past. His Bayern career ended with four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokal titles, and a UEFA Champions League title in his trophy case.
Patrick Weihrauch (Free Transfer, Bayern München II)
Weihrauch signed a two-year deal right out of the U19 level, but he did not develop enough to make enough of a first-team presence. With not very many satisfying offers on the table, Weihrauch signed another two-year deal with the club, this time with the reserves. He has since gone on trial with SV Sandhausen, and will likely work towards getting a professional contract from a second- or third-tier side.
As part of their back-up goalkeeper search, Bayern supposedly had Keylor Navas high on their wish list. The Levante and Costa Rica goalkeeper instead decided to stay in Spain, signing a contract until 2020. Navas still did not get as much playing time as he probably hoped, making just 11 starts while watching Iker Casillas get the rest of the goalkeeper minutes.
Speaking of replacements and Real Madrid, Sami Khedira was supposedly on Bayern's radar as well once Martínez was lost due to injury. Khedira then went on to have fitness issues himself, and completely lost his place in Real Madrid's team once Lucas Silva came in the January transfer window. He is now on his way to Juventus along with Mandžukić after his contract with Real Madrid ran out.
The other name that floated around the transfer mill was Hakan Çalhanoglu, a player sporting director Matthias Sammer was entranced by during the youngster's time at Karlsruhe. Çalhanoglu opted instead for playing time at Bayer Leverkusen, something Roger Schmidt provided him right away.
Youth Players with Professional Contracts
Rarely do teenage midfielders have a monumental impact on Bayern's first team as Gaudino did at the beginning of the 2014/15 season. Guardiola was stretched for midfield options before Alonso eventually made his way to Bayern, which meant Gaudino had to start the first two matches for the Rekordmeister. He held his own before going back to the U19s for further development, and it became only a matter of time before Bayern was eventually going to give him a professional contract.