Over the past ten years of Bayern Munich Bundesliga title wins, there have been a lot of players who wore the Bayern shirt. There are some obvious names that stand out, like the World Cup winning duo of Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Of course, Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben must be mentioned, as must Robert Lewandowski. Newer names like Joshua Kimmich, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, and Leon Goretzka deserve a shout out as well. Let’s not forget the unsung heros either, like Javi Martínez, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba, etc.
But among all these players, there are just two who completed the entire ten year journey with Bayern: Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller.
These two absolute legends personify the success that Bayern Munich and Germany have enjoyed over the past decade. Playing on opposite ends of the field, both Neuer and Müller have been instrumental in nearly every game that they played, and as a result, have held more silverware than a lot of players have done in their entire careers. Let us now take a look at just how good these two were over the ten years of glory.
Bayern Munich made history by winning their tenth straight Bundesliga title in a row, a new record for Europe’s top five leagues. The Serienmeister Stream is a ten-part stream that covers ten special aspects of that glorious decade-long run. Enjoy!
Thomas Müller: Der Raumdeuter
Müller began his Bayern career much earlier than his goalkeeper friend. It was way back in the 2008/09 season that he made his Bayern debut, but he didn’t waste any time in becoming an integral member of the team as he steered his team to a Bundesliga + DFB-Pokal double, as well as the Champions League final.
A tough two seasons followed for Bayern and Müller, but he really took off in the 2012/13 season. He scored thirteen goals and assisted eleven as he helped Bayern to the fastest ever Bundesliga title - at the time. His performances were not just limited to the Bundesliga; Müller also notched up 10 goals and 4 assists in cup competitions as his team cruised to a historic treble.
Müller didn’t stop after Jupp Heynckes left the dugout. Rather, he bagged another brilliant season with 13 goals and 10 assists while his team broke the aforementioned record for the fastest ever Bundesliga title win of all time. Right after the season ended, Müller enjoyed a stellar World Cup, scoring five goals and becoming world champion.
Yet another 10-10 season followed for Müller as the 2014/15 season ended with Müller scoring 13 and assisting 10 two seasons in a row. But his numbers became even better in the following season, scoring a whopping 20 times as the team won the Bundesliga for the fourth year in a row. Müller was easily one of Bayern’s best and most consistent players under Guardiola, and the 2015/16 season will be remembered fondly by many.
Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival in the 2016/17 season meant that Müller’s role became rather limited, but he still recorded 12 assists, the most in the team. Not even a bad coach could keep Müller quiet. After Ancelotti was sacked early in the 2017/18 season, Heynckes returned to coach Bayern, and he revitalized Müller’s role in the team. Müller scored eight goals and recorded 14 assists as Bayern won the league for the sixth straight year, and even acted as interim captain during Neuer’s lengthy injury.
The 2018/19 season was not kind to Müller, or the Bayern team in general. Under Niko Kovač’s tutelage, the team languished in the Hinrunde, as did Müller. However, he became his usual self in the latter half of the season as the team won the Bundesliga and the Pokal. But for reasons unknown, Kovač left Müller on the bench for most of the early stages of the 2019/20 season. It was probably Müller’s lowest point in his Bayern career.
Müller would not remain on the bench for long, though. After Kovač’s resignation in November 2019, Hansi Flick became Bayern coach, and he immediately made Müller the centerpiece of his game plan. The result? Müller scored eight times and assisted 21 goals, breaking the Bundesliga record for most assists in a single season. Bayern were rejuvenated as well, and they won their eight league title in a row, along with the Pokal and the elusive Champions League.
Flick’s second season saw Müller return to double figure goals and assists. He scored 11 and assisted 18, with Bayern winning the ninth consecutive title, not to mention a historic sextuple. Although his numbers diminished a bit in Julian Nagelsmann’s first season, he was nevertheless a key figure, starting in all but one of the games he was available. eight league goals and 18 assists later, Bayern won the glorious tenth title in a row.
A born and bred Bavarian, Müller made his professional debut with his boyhood club and eventually became one of the biggest legends in club history. Countless titles and goals and assists later, he’s more or less the face of Bayern Munich, and one can only hope that he decides to end his career where he started it. He’s an immense fan favorite, and why shouldn’t he be? He’s weird, he’s wonderful, and he’s a winner.
Manuel Neuer: The Wall
Neuer’s first season with Bayern was the tragic 2011/12 season, but he was one of the few gems from that season, being named the true heir of Oliver Kahn. The next season, Neuer took himself to the next level. Conceding only 18 goals in 31 games, Neuer allowed Bayern’s defense to stand firm as they won the Bundesliga, his first ever league title. His heroics extended to the Pokal and Champions League as he won the treble in only his second season at the club.
The next season also saw him only conceding 18 goals, allowing the team to win the Bundesliga in record time. He was naturally Germany’s starting goalkeeper in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and his heroics in the title winning tournament saw him nominated in the Ballon d’Or final three. As if to justify his nomination, Neuer’s performances showed no signs of slowing down after the World Cup, and he ended up conceding only four goals in 17 games in the Hinrunde of the 2014/15 season. He ended the season with just 14 more conceded, winning his third successive Bundesliga crown.
The 2015/16 season was Neuer’s career high in terms of goals conceded, with only 16 conceded in 34 games. Although the title was sealed a bit later than usual, Neuer’s saves meant that Bayern had the best defense in the Bundesliga of all time. The following season wasn’t much different, Neuer conceding 13 goals in 26 games.
But tragedy struck. A broken metatarsal in the Champions League meant Neuer would be sidelined for the rest of the season. He made his comeback early in the 2017/18 season, but the injury resurfaced, and he ended up missing the rest of the season. A disastrous World Cup followed, and people began to worry if Neuer the Great was gone for good.
After the World Cup, Neuer returned to Bayern and became a bit shaky, as did the entire team. Contrary to popular belief, though, Neuer’s performances were not as bad as they seemed. Nevertheless, he did concede more goals than he usually did, and even ended up missing a few games at the end of the season, despite making a timely (and very successful) return in the Pokal final. Was Neuer’s time well and truly up?
Not at all. The 2019/20 season saw Neuer right back to where he was, saving goal after goal and holding firm as the team wobbled early on. After Hansi Flick’s appointment, his performances somehow became even better, which is saying something. Bayern won the Bundesliga under Neuer’s leadership, and went on to win the Pokal and the Champions League, with Neuer putting in a man-of-the-match-worthy performance in the latter’s final.
The 2020/21 season saw Bayern’s defense leaking goals left and right, but Neuer was one of the main reasons that Bayern could win the Bundesliga again, as well as the sextuple. The next season didn’t see Neuer’s performances diminish, and he was the driving force behind Bayern’s 10th consecutive title win.
Neuer is a special goalkeeper. True, he’s an excellent shot stopper, but his true strength lies in his feet. As every Bayern fan knows, he revolutionized the goalkeeper position, putting a lot of emphasis on passing and build-up play, and became the first and most successful real ‘sweeper-keeper’ in footballing history. The stats and titles speak for themselves, as both Bayern and Germany enjoyed tons of silverware with Neuer in goal. What’s more, he currently captains both teams, and is a great leader. He became only the second ever captain to lift six trophies in one year, and is looked upon fondly by coaches, players, and fans alike. It is a true privilege to have the best goalkeeper in the world playing for Bayern Munich, and hopefully he ends his career with the team that he made his home.
Well, those were two very special players who broke some very special records at a very special club. It goes without saying that hopefully they keep playing for Bayern for a long time more, and that they end their careers as the legends they already are.