As we come to the end of the one of the most successful decades in the history of Bayern Munich, it’s time to look back and remember the players that helped shape an era. The 2010’s were a decade of insane highs and a few crushing lows, but overall they will be remembered as a golden era for the club — on par with or even surpassing the legendary 1970’s team led by Der Kaiser.
Taking the template of the team that won the Treble in 2013, we arranged the formation in a 4-2-3-1 and began filling in the gaps. Here is Bayern Munich’s team of the decade:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer stakes his claim to the keeper’s spot with consummate ease. The German shot-stopper has been a mainstay in the Bayern goal throughout the decade and has been widely acknowledged as the best goalkeeper in the world during that time.
His unique brand of keeping focuses on sweeping and distribution in addition to traditional shot-stopping, and it’s exactly what allowed Bayern to reach a higher level of play than its opponents. At 33 years of age, Neuer isn’t done yet — expect to see him continue into 2020 and beyond.
Center-backs: Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels
At their peak, both Boateng and Hummels were top-5 center backs, and both of them deserve their spot on this list. Boa had a key role in winning the Treble in 2013 and in all the seasons afterward, while Hummels joined in 2016 and proved himself invaluable in the biggest games — his exemplary performances against Real Madrid and Liverpool speak for themselves.
While these two probably deserved more time together, injuries and the disruptive arrival of Niklas Süle cut their era short. Still, at their best, they were THE pairing of the decade, and at least they tasted glory together with a few Bundesliga wins and a World Cup with Germany.
Left-back: David Alaba
Coming into the team from the youth system, David Alaba was one of the best left backs of the decade and certainly one of the players that propelled Bayern to the very top. In an era where fullbacks are becoming increasingly important to a team’s tactical setup, Alaba’s versatility, physicality, technical skill, and general game intelligence put him a cut above the rest.
Right-back: Philipp Lahm
Bayern’s venerable captain for most of the decade, Philipp Lahm was a model of consistency up until the day he retired. He led the team to multiple Bundesliga titles and the coveted Treble, all while cementing himself as the best right-back in the world.
For reference, Pep Guardiola, who has coached the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi, declared Lahm one of the most intelligent players he had ever met.
Midfield: Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger
This midfield pairing is chosen for one reason only — the Treble. Under Jupp Heynckes, Martinez and Schweinsteiger were core of a solid defensive foundation that Bayern has struggled to recreate since.
It’s a shame that injuries and tactical decisions forced this duo apart in the latter stages of the decade. Basti eventually moved to Manchester United (and later MLS) to continue his career. However, their contribution will not be forgotten in a hurry, even if the 2020’s end up being as successful as the 2010’s for Bayern.
Left wing: Franck Ribery
Who else did you expect? At his best, Franck Ribery was arguably the best player in the world. The Frenchman’s skill on the ball was unmatched — even today, he confounds defenders despite losing the incredible pace of his youth.
Ribery was the star that catapulted Bayern to dizzying heights at the peak of world football, allowing the team to rub shoulders with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. It’s a shame he was injured so often.
Right wing: Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben’s decade stands as one of the great redemption arcs of world football. The Dutchman’s missed penalty cost Bayern dearly in the painful final that we shall never talk about, and next season he found himself on the bench. However, an injury to Toni Kroos allowed Robben back into the lineup before the UCL knockouts, and he was incredible.
Who can forget the time he ran rings around a hapless Barcelona, or when he scored the winning goal in the UCL final? Robben and Ribery retired as two of the greatest legends Bayern has ever seen, and replacing their performances in the coming decade will be tough.
Second Striker: Thomas Müller
As the last remaining Bavarian and one of the few youth system players left on the team, Thomas Müller is a criminally underrated player whose contribution often goes overlooked. As the self-defined Raumdeuter, Müller turned simple positioning into a lethal weapon for Bayern Munich, scoring goals and grabbing assists seemingly out of nowhere.
He was one of Bayern’s most productive players of the decade, and failure to understand his uniqueness cost Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac their jobs.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski
While Mario Mandzukic may have won the Treble, Robert Lewandowski is probably the best striker this club has seen with the exception of Der Bomber himself. The Polish international has shattered records since his arrival in 2014, with the legendary 9 minutes against Wolfsburg standing as his single greatest achievement. All that’s missing from Lewandowski’s trophy cabinet is a Champions League — he’ll hope to rectify that in the coming decade.
Coach: Jupp Heynckes
A team isn’t complete without a coach, and Bayern Munich’s coach of the decade should definitely be Jupp Heynckes. While Pep Guardiola made the Bavarians play some scintillating football, Heynckes’ Bayern side is remembered as one of the most dominant teams of the decade on account of its consummate balance in both tactics and personnel.