Bayern Munich aren’t having it all their own way in the Bundesliga this season.
The Bavarians have won the title in each of the past six seasons but find themselves in fifth place through 11 matches this time around.
Niko Kovac has inverted an ageing squad that was beaten 3-2 by a resurgent Borussia Dortmund team before the international break.
Bayern have been helped in recent years but a tendency to poach the best players from their rivals in Germany, strengthening their own squad while weakening the competition.
A number of players have left their Bundesliga clubs for the Allianz Arena, including Michael Ballack and, more recently, Mats Hummels.
The chance to play for Germany’s best team was too good to turn down and, for most players, usually resulted in success.
We take a look at 10 players to have made the move, and what’s happened to them since.
Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2016)
Hummels returned to Bayern Munich in 2016, much to the disappointment of Dortmund supporters who had watched him grow into a true leader.
The centre-back, who cost Bayern £30.7 million, has won two Bundesliga titles and has established himself as one of the finest defenders on the planet.
Signed from: VfB Stuttgart (2009)
Gomez, like Hummels, was already a Bundesliga winner by the time he joined Bayern.
He won the title with Stuttgart in 2007, joining Bayern two years later in a deal worth £22.5m.
The striker made 174 appearances in total, scoring 113 and winning the Champions League in 2013.
Gomez left for Fiorentina in 2013, joining Besiktas on loan during his time in Italy, before returning to Germany with Wolfsburg in 2016.
He returned to Stuttgart at the start of 2018 and leads the line for the club, scoring three goals in 11 league appearances this season.
Signed from: Schalke 04 (2011)
Bayern paid £22.5m to sign Neuer six years ago and he’s proven to be worth every penny.
The trophies have poured in for the German, both collectively and individually.
He was named UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, although he endured a difficult 2017-18 campaign that saw him play in just four matches due to a continued foot problem.
Signed from: VfL Wolfsburg (2012)
Mandzukic spent just two seasons at Bayern, where he scored 48 goals in 88 appearances.
The Croatian striker joined Atletico Madrid in 2014, spending one season in Spain before joining Juventus.
Mandzukic, 32, now finds himself starting alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin. Juve fans will never forget his outrageous goal in the 2017 Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Signed from: FC Koln (2006)
Bayern beat out competition from a host of clubs to sign Podolski in 2006 but his spell at the club was pretty disappointing.
After failing to play regularly in the 2008-09 season under Jurgen Klinsmann, the Germany international returned to Koln for three seasons.
Arsenal signed him in 2012 and he became a popular figure in north London.
He was loaned out to Inter Milan for the second half of the 2014-15 season and would sign for Galatasaray at the end of the campaign.
Two years in Turkey followed, with Podolski scoring the winner against Fenerbahce in the Turkish Cup final in May 2016.
Podolski, 33, has played for Japanese side Vissel Kobe since leaving Galatasaray.
Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2014)
What a signing this has turned out to be.
Lewandowski has put up incredible numbers for Bayern since joining them in 2014; he’s scored 166 goals in 211 appearances.
He’s been the top scorer in the Bundesliga on three occasions (2014, 2016 and 2018), and his goals have been crucial in Bayern’s success.
Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
Bayern signed Ballack in the year he was named UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year, and he didn’t disappoint for the German club.
In four years, he won three Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal on three occasions, too.
He left for Chelsea in 2006, where the trophies continued to pour in, and finished his career at Bayer Leverkusen.
Signed from: Werder Bremen (2007)
Klose may be the highest scorer in World Cup history but his time at Bayern was a difficult one.
He was regularly used as a substitute in his four years at the club and left for Lazio in 2011.
Klose spent five seasons in Italy, scoring 63 times in 170 appearances, before retiring.
He is now a member of the Germany national team’s coaching staff.
Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2013)
Gotze’s move to Bayern was announced before the Bavarians played against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final.
The announcement only served to hurt Gotze’s reputation with the Dortmund fans even more, but they welcomed him back in 2016 after a difficult time at the Allianz Arena.
The playmaker made 45 appearances in his first season, and 48 in his second, but that number dropped to 21 in 2015-16 and he returned to Dortmund at the end of the campaign.
A metabolic illness affected Gotze, now 26, in the 2016-17 season, and he now finds himself used in a bit-part role under Lucien Favre.
Signed from: Schalke 04 (2018)
Bayern signed the midfielder on a free transfer in the summer.
Goretzka, who was included in the Germany squad that failed so miserably at the 2018 World Cup, has made 14 appearances under Kovac this season.News Now - Sport News