For 53 years now, FC Bayern Munich has been playing in the Bundesliga. Not included in the founding of the Bundesliga, Bayern would present the Bundesliga trophy at the Marienplatz for the first time within four years. This was followed by 26 more German championships, seventeen cup victories and five victories in the European Champions Cup.
The heroes of the first Bundesliga championship were Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. They were all players who were to shape the golden 70s of both the Munich and German national teams. The players mentioned above were not only European Champions Cup winners three times in a row, but also World and European Champions with the German national team. At that time, the throne of Europe was standing in the Olympic Stadium.
Also the names of Uli Hoeneß and Georg “Katsche” Schwarzenbeck, as well as Franz “Bulle” Roth are inseparably connected with this probably most successful era of Bayern history.
This generation was followed by the duo Breitnigge consisting of today’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner, who returned from Madrid as a world star and won the Bundesliga title back in Munich in 1980 and 1981. Together they scored 46 goals in the league in 1981.
After the departure of this generation of players in the 1980s, Klaus Augenthaler, Dieter Hoeneß and the young Lothar Matthäus took over. With this core of players, FC Bayern remained successful in this decade and won a total of five more Bundesliga titles. In 1986 the local rival 1.FC Nuremberg was surpassed as German record champion.
In the 90s, the club, dubbed FC Hollywood by the press, struggled more than in previous years. The loss of important cornerstones like Jürgen Kohler and Stefan Reuter could only be compensated slowly. Nevertheless, Bayern and manager Hoeneß laid the foundation for future success during this time. The young Mehmet Scholl, Oliver Kahn and Stefan Effenberg joined the club from Karlsruhe and Mönchengladbach. In addition, Matthäus returned from Milan.
These turbulent years were also marked by many coaching changes at the Säbener Straße. It was not until Ottmar Hitzfeld took over the reins that success returned to Munich. The team built around Kahn, Scholl and Effenberg, with some international stars such as Giovanne Elber and Bixente Lizarazu, won three consecutive league titles at the turn of the millennium, including the legendary last-minute title in Hamburg. This generation crowned their work with the victory in the Champions League 2001 in Milan.
In the early 2000s, Michael Ballack, Germany’s top footballer, was lured to the south. Under coach Felix Magath, for the first time a team managed to win the double (league and cup) in two consecutive years. When Ballack moved to Chelsea in 2006, a change was necessary.
FC Bayern first signed the French winger Franck Ribéry and later his brilliant partner Arjen Robben to the core of their own youth around Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm. These two transfers raised the Munich team to a level last achieved in the 70s. The aforementioned players plus world goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Bayern’s own Thomas Müller were to win six Bundesliga titles in a row and play in three Champions League finals. They also formed the backbone of the German team, which won the World Cup in Rio in 2014.
However, what happened in 1999 and 2012 could not be reconstructed even after intensive research in the Bayern chronicles.
FC Bayern’s history is shaped by extraordinary players and personalities on and off the pitch. The list of individual awards and records of these players is as long as the letterhead of the record champion.
To compare the players with each other is of course very difficult. On the one hand there are the different decades between which a comparison is always difficult. In addition, it is making things more difficult that many of the editorial staff only grew up in the 90s or even later with FC Bayern and the footage from the 70s has become rare.
Nevertheless, it was not only a frequent topic of discussion within the Miasanrot editorial office, but we were also asked again and again by different parties for our opinion on this topic.
Was Schweinsteiger better than Matthäus? Was Maier more important for the 70s generation than Neuer in the 10s? And of course: Who was the best Bavarian player of all time?
Many open questions.
In this series of articles, we therefore try to put together this top 15 selection of the best Bayern players since they were promoted to the Bundesliga.
How do you create such a list? What should you do if you try to pick the best players out of this great selection and then sort them from one to fifteen? Too big a task for a single person alone.
That’s why we’ve put together a panel of fifteen bloggers to create and submit their personal list. Each individual list should be created according to subjective impressions and self-chosen criteria, with only one framework condition: To choose the best fifteen players from more than fifty years of FC Bayern.
This was explicitly only about the time as a player at FC Bayern. Successes or performances with other clubs or the national team as well as achievements as coaches or in leading positions were not considered.
Ten of the fifteen panel members are active for Miasanrot. Among others, blog co-founder Steffen Meyer and content engine Justin Kraft as well as our historian Tobias Günther and our chief editor Dennis Voortmann submitted their list.
In order to further increase the informative value, we have additionally invited five external and proven experts from the blogger scene: the Rasenfunk host and confessing Bayern fan Max-Jacob Ost, the long-time owner of the Breitnigge blog Oliver Schmidt, the popular guest author on Miasanrot and owner of the Texterstexte blog Christian Nandelstädt, the Spielverlagerung author and proven football historian Tobias Escher and the man who works with the utmost meticulousness in his blog to objectively rank players of ALL teams and ALL decades, Lukas Tank.
Each of the 15 panel members compiled his list of players from rank 1 to 15. These 15 lists were then compiled. Depending on the ranking there was a fixed number of points: For the first place on a list 15 points were awarded, for the second place 14 points and so on. A non-nomination was thus evaluated with 0 points. Afterwards for each player a mean value was calculated.
These mean values sorted then formed the list of the top 15 footballers in the Bundesliga history of FC Bayern Munich.
In the next weeks we will reveal a part of our list every two days.