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BFW Series: Former Bayern Munich players (and one non-Bayern player) we miss – Part 3

Part 3 of our series! Who do we miss seeing?

FC Bayern München v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga For DFL Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

When supporting a club with a storied history, some players are bound to leave you wanting more. In the case of Bayern Munich, there is a long list of greats to choose from. For this series, we here at BFW take a look at two Bayern players (and one non-Bayern player) that we miss.

Full disclosure, this is being written by someone who started watching football in 2012, starting with the Champions League final no one ever talks about. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Franck Ribery

Honestly, it’s crazy to me that it’s taken till Part 3 of this series to get the first mention of Franck Ribery. Aside from Thomas Muller, I can’t think of anyone who embodies “Mia San Mia” more than the mercurial Frenchman.

Posting a highlights compilation does not do this man justice. He wasn’t just a dominant player on the pitch. He was a star. Ribery was not a “piece” for the coach to use, he was a weapon to be aimed at the opponent. No one could tell him what to do or how to play his game. If you subbed him off, he would explode with the fury of a thousand suns.

Every single Bayern coach, even seasoned vets like Jupp Heynckes and Carlo Ancelotti, found themselves struggling to deal with this man. Even the media sometimes got in his crosshairs. Yet Ribery truly loved Bayern Munich. He was, no ... he IS one of us.

On the pitch, his performances were unmatched. There was a time when Ribery got the ball, you were certain that the play would end with a goal or assist. His partnership with Arjen Robben will forever be legendary — the unstoppable Robbery pairing.

Such a shame that injuries hurt his career so badly.

Javi Martinez

Javi Martinez won Bayern Munich a treble. He was the difference maker — a record signing that catapulted the club to the absolute elite tier of European football, a position that has not been surrendered since.

FC Bayern Munich v FC Sevilla: UEFA Super Cup 2020 Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Getting Javi from Athletic Bilbao was like trying to squeeze blood from a particularly stingy stone. The bosses were forced to break the transfer record to get him, because Jupp Heynckes wanted him and only him. Why? Well, it was simply a case of pure footballing intelligence.

Bayern fans are familiar with the term Raumdeuter, or space interpreter, used to describe Thomas Muller. Well Javi was the defensive version of that. He knew exactly where to stand on a football pitch to make any opposing attack collapse. With Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Spaniard formed the footballing equivalent of a brick wall in midfield.

Javi Martinez never had another season quite like his first at Bayern, though he did go out with a sextuple in his final season, singlehandedly snatching the UEFA Super Cup away from Sevilla in the process. It’s 2023 now, and it’s safe to say that Bayern never really replaced him.

Non-Bayern player: Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo had style. He was a breed of player that doesn’t really exist anymore — a regista, a deep lying playmaker with no defensive duties. It worked best in 2014/15, when he was the heart of a midfield supported by Marchisio, Vidal, and Pogba. That Juventus team just fell short of a treble in the Champions League final, losing to the MSN Barcelona.

It’s no doubt that he’s a legend of a game, and with the way that top level football has pivoted to high-intensity gegepressing and pure positional play, we may never see a player of Pirlo’s ilk at the top level ever again.

That concludes my list, let me know what you think in the comments. And remember to check out the other writers’ entries too!

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