Bayern Munich seem to have it all: power, class, money and history.
After their recent demolition of Barcelona, many people believe Bayern will dominate European football over the coming years. But do they currently possess the best starting XI in world football?
Here's an overview of their current team, and remember that Borussia Dortmund starlet Mario Götze will be added to this list next season.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Having joined Bayern from FC Schalke 04 in 2011, Manuel Neuer has since become one of the most reliable and most fearsome goalkeepers in European football. Although some may say that Neuer doesn’t need to do a great deal of work with the defenders he has in front of him for both club and country, but whenever he is called upon, he delivers.
Right-back: Philipp Lahm
If there’s anybody that oozes class in this Bayern team, it has to be Philipp Lahm. Recognised as one of the best full-backs of his generation, Lahm has always showed the consistency required to stay at the top of his game. As captain of both Bayern and the German national team, he is a natural leader.
Dante has been somewhat of a revelation for Bayern this season. With regular first-choice centre-back Holger Badstuber suffering from a long-term injury, this season was Dante’s chance to show the world what he can do - and he hasn’t disappointed.
Having conceded just 14 in 31 Bundesliga games this season, his new-found partnership with Jerome Boateng has been a breath of fresh air for Bayern and it’s hard to think of a more effective defensive duo.
Centre-back: Jerome Boateng
After being regarded as surplus to requirements at Manchester City, Boateng has since shown the quality needed to be amongst the best centre-backs in the Europe. Although his defensive skills are not up to the standard of other defenders, his physical attributes such as his pace and strength help him to be considered a solid centre-back.
Left-back: David Alaba
Although a midfielder by trade, David Alaba has cemented himself as the team’s first-choice left-back. Following impressive displays throughout last season and the current season, he is now regarded as one of the best young left-backs at the age of just 20. Alaba is very good with the ball at his feet but his tireless work without the ball has also gained appreciation from Bayern fans.
Defensive-midfielder: Javi Martínez
Having caught the eye of many football teams across Europe during Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League campaign last season, Bayern snapped him up for a huge fee of €40 million. During his debut season for the Bavarians he has continued to showcase his talent. His vigorous defensive contributions have helped Bayern to concede so little, over so many games.
Defensive-midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Having signed with Bayern as a youth player in 1998, it seemed destined that Schweinsteiger would become a Bayern great. Not only does he possess passing skills to match the likes of Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo, but he also has the passion. For Schweinsteiger, nothing is sweeter than a Bayern victory and he certainly inspires his team-mates to do great things.
Attacking-midfielder: Thomas Müller
People often forget just how young Thomas Müller is. At only 23 years of age, he has already accomplished a lot but that doesn’t mean he’s going to slow down anytime soon. Known for being a threat on the counter-attack, his versatility and for his finesse with both his passing and shooting, Müller is a vital part to the Bayern side. Having scored 20 goals and assisting 12 this season for his club, will he be benched for next season for Mario Götze?
Left-wing: Franck Ribéry
Throughout the years, Franck Ribéry has regularly showed the footballing world just why the legendary Zinedine Zidane rates him so highly. A man of many key traits such as his explosive pace, controlled footwork and his eye for a vital pass, Ribéry is considered one of the best current wingers in world football. Ribéry’s goal tally this season is nine in all competitions, which is a lot lower than his usual total, but he has assisted 12 goals in all competitions.
Right-wing: Arjen Robben
When in form, few can deny Arjen Robben’s talent. You only have to look at the two semi-final legs against Barcelona to see just how devastating Robben can be when he’s loving his football and injury-free.
Unfortunately, he is prone to picking up a knock or two throughout the season so we don’t get to see his full potential, but even that doesn’t stop him from being a brilliant player. Similar to his teammate Ribéry, Robben holds fantastic technical ability and is a genuine threat when given too much time on the ball.
Striker: Mario Mandzukic
This season, Mario Mandzukic has played a noticeable role in Bayern’s Bundesliga dominance. Clubs across Europe started to notice Mandzukic after his strong performance at the 2012 European Championships with Croatia. Since then, he has built on his remarkable performances and became the first-choice striker, ahead of Mario Gomez, who was injured for a big part of the season.
Mandzukic has managed to score 17 times for Bayern this season, which isn’t too bad considering he was relatively-unknown this time last year.
This Bayern Munich team have won the Bundesliga in record time, scoring 90 and conceding just 14 in 31 league games. They have also booked themselves in the final of the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal.
With Pep Guardiola coming in at the start of next season, the future looks bright for Bayern.
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