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Bavarian Financial Works: Is Bayern Munich’s wage structure broken?

It seems all the fuss is about transfer fees, but what about the salaries players get?


Bayern Munich’s board and sporting director seem to look at every interview as an opportunity to make excuses for the recent contract situations and transfers, with the infamous ‘€100-150 million lost due to COVID’ statement becoming a meme amongst the Bayern fanbase.

Of course there is truth to this. The club, like most in Germany, relies on gate revenues to stay profitable rather than having lucrative television deals to cover their player costs. However, it must be noted that even in this period, Bayern have extended multiple contracts of important figures amongst the team, which has seen the wage structure inflate. This is also clearly present in the contracts presented to new signings Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch, both of whom will be earning well north of €150,000 per week at the Allianz Arena. Since 2019, multiple transfers have seen players enter the team right at the very top of the wage structure, and this has caused other players in similar roles to demand similar wages, eventually resulting in what we have today. So, how does the wage structure stack up today, and how does it stack up against Europe’s elite?

The Ivory Tower: Top earners


The very top of the wage structure contains the following players:-

Robert Lewandowski - €23m (€442k/week)
Manuel Neuer - €20m (€385k/week)
Thomas Müller - €20m (€385k/week)
Leroy Sané - €20m (€385k/week)
Joshua Kimmich - €18m (€346k/week)
Lucas Hernández - €18m (€346k/week)
Leon Goretzka - €18m (€346k/week)
Kingsley Coman - €17m (€327k/week)

These eight players cost €154 million put together per year in their salaries. For reference, Manchester City’s top eight earners put together cost €96.2 million, Manchester United’s top eight cost €133 million, Liverpool’s top eight cost €75.4 million, and even FC Barcelona with their infamously bloated wage bill clock in at €120 million. Clearly Bayern Munich have a lot of money wrapped up in very few players right at the top of the mountain. Maybe too much money.

Pretty strangers, and the promises they hold

FC Bayern München v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga Photo by Markus Gilliar/GES-Sportfoto via Getty Images

Moving into the middle section of the wage structure, we can see the following players:-

Marcel Sabitzer - €12.5m (€240k/week)
Alphonso Davies - €11.25m (€216k/week)
Dayot Upamecano - €10m (€192k/week)
Serge Gnabry - €8m (€154k/week)
Corentin Tolisso - €7m (€135k/week)
Niklas Süle - €7m (€135k/week)
Benjamin Pavard - €5m (€96k/week)
Jamal Musiala - €5m (€96k/week)

There are definitely some ridiculous one-offs here. For example, Marcel Sabitzer makes more per week than any player at Liverpool. Yes, every single one. Virgil Van Dijk. Mohamed Salah. Sadio Mané. Alisson. You name ‘em, he makes more than ‘em.

These eight players set Bayern back €65.75m every year. That same cross-section of the wage structure at Liverpool sees a cost of €42.64m, whereas Manchester City has a spend of €42.82m, Barcelona spends €55.5m, and Manchester United spends €54.76m. Once again, Bayern Munich’s spend is far above the other teams mentioned, showcasing that the wage structure really could be out of hand, and could be severely handicapping the amount of money the club has to spend on new additions to the squad.

Stuck on the Puzzle: The remaining bits and pieces

FC Bayern München v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

For the rest of the team, a lot of figures are unverified but multiple sources estimate them to be:-

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting - €3.5m (€67k/week)
Marc Roca - €2.8m (€54k/week)
Sven Ulreich - €2.5m (€48k/week)
Tanguy Nianzou - €2m (€38k/week)
Bouna Sarr - €1.9m (€36.5k/week)
Christian Früchtl - €500k (€9.6k/week)
Omar Richards - €500k (€9.6k/week)
Malik Tillman - €300k (€5.8k/week)
Josip Stanišić - €200k (€3.8k/week)
Lucas Copado - €100k (€1.9k/week)
Paul Wanner - €60k (€1.1k/week)

These nine players take up €17.2m, rounding out Bayern Munich’s total wage bill at an approximated €234m per year (€4.5m per week). Here’s how that stands among Europe’s elite:-

Paris Saint-Germain - €431m (€8.3m/week)
Real Madrid - €327m (€6.3m/week)
Bayern Munich - €234m (€4.5m/week)
Manchester United - €214m (€4.1m/week)
FC Barcelona - €202m (€3.9m/week)
Chelsea - €173m (€3.3m/week)
Juventus - €163m (€3.1m/week)
Manchester City - €149m (€2.9m/week)
Internazionale - €149m (€2.7m/week)
Liverpool - €140m (€2.7m/week)
Borussia Dortmund - €90m (€1.7m/week)

Bayern Munich certainly don’t have the most inflated wage bill in Europe, but it is worrying that we are so far up there. It’s no wonder we’ve lost so many players on free transfers due to contract negotiations falling through, we simply cannot afford pay-rises without having to sacrifice massively financially since we don’t have the same money streams as Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain.

Side note: Kylian Mbappé (€91m), Lionel Messi (€64m) and Neymar (€56m) alone earn nearly as much as Manchester United’s entire squad. The trio earn €211m which is just short of United’s €214m.

What do you think of Bayern Munich’s wage structure? Is it really as cracked as the numbers showcase, or is there an external factor not being taken into account? The discussion is open as always below.

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