Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Bayern Munich Foreign Players All-time Greatest Team

Robben, Lewandowski and Xabi Alonso

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Bayern Munich All-Time team
Bayern Munich All-Time Team for German Players

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Bayern Munich's foreign players.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Bayern Munich is the most successful, German clubs.  They won more European Cups and Bundesliga than any other German teams.  However, they were not a big club until the 1960's when Bundesliga became a professional league.  Their successes began around the time Franz Beckenbauer joined them in 1965.  They won three, straight European Cup from 1974 to 1976.  After twenty-five years of successes in the domestic competitions and near misses at the European Cup, they won the European Cup (Champions' league) again in 2001 and in 2013.  They won the title 5 times, making them one of the most successful clubs in Europe.
Lerby and Pfaff
Team GK : Jean-Marie Pfaff (Belgium)
Jean-Marie Pfaff was one of the best keepers in the world during the 1980's.  He spent most of his professional career with Beveren and Bayern Munich. Pfaff was capped 64 times playing for Red Devils. He participated at the World Cup Finals of 1982 and 1986, and at the European Championship of 1980 and 1984.  He was the starting goalkeeper as Belgium finished second at Euro 1980 and reached the semifinal at Mexico 1986.

GK: Ladislav Jirasek (Czechoslovakia/Saarland)
Ladislav Jirasek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1927. He started his career with Stuttgart Kickers in 1949. He later played for Bayern Munich from 1950 to 1952 and Borussia Neunkirchen from 1952 to 1961.  While playing for Borussia Neunkirchen, he was capped once by Saarland in 1954 against Uruguay. He also played a single game for Saarland B team in the same year.

GK: Pepe Reina (Spain)
Pepe Reina first became a star at Villarreal when he helped the club to reach the Champions' league for the first time in history.  A year later, he joined Liverpool FC. At Liverpool FC, he won three Premier League Golden Glove. He was a part of Spain at the World Cup 2010, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, but served as a backup to Iker Casillas.

RB: Johnny Hansen (Denmark)
Johnny Hansen most notably played six years for Bayern Munich, where he won three European Cups and three Bundesliga, playing alongside Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Muller, etc. He was named 1967 Danish Player of the Year. He also played for local top-flight club Vejle Boldklub and 1. FC Nürnberg.  He only 45 caps for Denmark because Denmark did not select professional footballers during a part of his career.
Johnny Hansen
RB: Willy Sagnol (France)
Willy Sagnol played with St Etienne and Monaco.  He was better known for his stint with Bayern Munich, winning the Champions' League in 2001.  He played for the national team from 2000 to 2008.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006. He became the regular stater after Lilian Thuram moved to centre-back. He had 58 caps.

CB: Lucio (Brazil)
Lucio was the star of Brazil 2002 World Cup winning Team. He earned 105 caps for Brazil.  He reached the Champions' League final with Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.  In 2004, he moved to Bayern Munich, where he won one German Cup and three Bundesliga titles. He also helped Inter Milan win the 2010 Champions League against his former club Bayern Munich.

CB: Samuel Kuffour (Ghana)
Samuel Kuffour was probably Ghana's most famous defender.  He spent 11 seasons with Bayern Munich, winning almost everything.  He won the Champions' League in 2001. He was twice runnerup for the African Player of the Year and won Ghana Player of Year in 1998, 1999 and 2001. He was capped 59 times.  He played in the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany. His youth career started with Torino in Italy.  He also played for Roma, Ajax and Livorno. 
Samuel Kuffour
CB: Robert Kovac (Croatia)
Born in West Germany, Robert Kovac represented Croatia in two World Cup Finals: 2002 and 2006, and has also participated at two European Championships: 2004 and 2008. His brother Niko played with him on the national team as well as his club career.  He was the captain of the national team after his brother Niko retired.  He played a few of the biggest clubs in the world, notably with Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Juvnetus. 

CB: Martín Demichelis (Argentina)
Demichelis spent most of his professional career with Bayern Munich in Germany (seven and a half years), winning 11 major titles with the team. He also competed in his home country with River Plate, in Spain with Espanyol and Málaga and in England with Manchester City. Demichelis earned 51 caps for Argentina, representing the country in two World Cups – finishing second in 2014 – and the 2015 Copa América.

CB: Daniel Buyten (Belgium)
Van Buyten hegan at Charleroi as a striker, his career took off when he converted to a centre back. At the club level, he also played for Marseille, Manchester City, Hamburger SV and Bayern Munich.  He played with Bayern Munich from 2006 and 2014, winning the Chamlions' league in 2013.  Over there, he played alongside Lucio, Dante and Jérôme Boateng.  With Belgium, he played 83 times.  He played in the 2002 and 2014 World Cup Finals.

LB:  Bixente Lizarazu (France)
Bixente Lizarazu was the leftback for the all-conquering French national team, winning the World Cup in 1998 at home and European Championship in 2000. He had 97 caps from 1992 and 2004. Lizarazu began his professional career with Girondins de Bordeaux. He also played fort Athletic Bilbao, but better known for playing with Bayern Munich for 9 seasons. He won the Champions' League in 2001. He is a Basque and he also played for Atletico Bilbao. 
 Bixente Lizarazu 

LB/RB/LW/RW: David Alaba (Austria)
David Alaba was a son of a Nigerian father and Filipino mother living in Austria.  In 2008, he joined the youth team of Bayern Munich, making his senior debut in 2010.  Apart form a brief loan deal with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, he has been with the club, winning the 2013 Champions' League.  For Austria, he played in Euro 2016. He is the Austrian Footballer of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

DM: Mark van Bommel (Netherlands)
In Holland, Mark van Bommel's career was associated PSV, where he had two separated stints.  However, his most famous part of his career was spent with Bayern Munich. He was their first ever non-German captain.  He also played for Barcelona FC. At the international level, he played 79 times for Netherlands and was a main player as Holland reached the Final of  the World Cup in 2010. 

DM/CM: Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Xabi Alonso started with Real Sociedad.  He joined Liverpool in 2004 winning the Champions' League trophy in his first season.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid, winning the Champions' League again in 2014.  In 2014, he joined Bayern Munich. He was a key member of the Spanish team that won the World Cup and two European Championships.  His 114 caps make him the fifth most capped player in the nation's history.
Xabi Alonso
DM/CM: Ze Roberto (Brazil)
Zé Roberto made his name with Portuguesa in Brazil. He then joined Real Madrid in 1997 for a brief spell, where he helped them win La Liga, before moving back to Brazil to play for Flamengo.  However, his peak years were spent in the Bundesliga. In 1998, he joined German side Bayer Leverkusen and went to Bayern Munich in 2002.  Ze Roberto was capped 84 times.  He went to France 1998 and Germany 2006.

CM: Owen Hargreaves (England)
Born in Canada, Hargreaves began his career with Bayern Munich. He spent 7 years there, winning the Champions League. He joined Manchester United in 2007, winning the Premier League and Champions League in his first season.  He was capped by Wales on the youth level, but played for England as a senior.  In 2001, he became the first English international who never lived in England.  He played in the WC Finals of 2002 and 2006, and the Euro 2004.

CM: Soren Lerby (Denmark)
Soren Lerby was most prominently played professionally for Dutch clubs Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, winning five Eredivisie championships with Ajax and the 1988 European Cup with PSV.  He also played for Bayern Munich between 1983 and 1986. He also played for AS Monaco. At the international level, he had 67 caps for Denmark. He was a key member of the Danish team known as "Dynamite Denmark", Euro 1984 and the 1986 World Cup team that dazzled the world.

RW/RB: Hasan Salihamidžić (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Hasan Salihamidžić is best remembered for playing 9 seasons with Bayern Munich.  With Bayern, he won the 2001 Champions' League final, scoring one of the penalties in the shootout win in the Final. He also played for Juventus and Wolfsburg. At the international level, he earned 43 caps and scored six goals for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. He is regarded by many as one of the most successful Bosnian football players in recent times.

RW/LW/FW: Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Arjen Robben was an important player for Bayern Munich's dominance in Europe as they reached three Champions' League Finals in 4 years, winning the one in 2013.  He also played with Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven at the club level.  For Netherlands, he had 96 caps between 2003 and 2017.  He helped Netherlands to reach the Final of the 2010 World Cup Finals and then, four years later the semi-final of the World Cup in Brazil.  
Arjen Robben 
RW/LW: Franck Ribery (France)
Ribery is one of the best French players of his generation.  Individually, Ribéry is a three-time winner of the French Player of the Year award and has also won the German Footballer of the Year becoming the first player to hold both honours.  He won the Champions' League in 2013 with Bayern Munich. He played in two World Cup Finals and helping France to a 2nd place in 2006.

RW/AM/SS: Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
Brian Laudrup is Michael's younger brother. He won the Danish Footballer of the Year award a record four times.  At the international level, he played 82 games and scored 21 goals for Denmark, and was a key player of the Danish teams who won the Euro 1992 and 1995 Confederations cup. For club football, he played for Brondy, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Forientina, Ajax, Chelsea, etc.  He was probably remembered as a member of Glasgow Rangers.

ST: Giovane Élber (Brazil)
At his prime, Giovane Élber was one of the greatest strikers playing in Europe.  He formed the famous magic triangle with Krassimir Balakov and Fredi Bobic at VfB Stuttgart.  With Bayern Munich, he was the star player as the club that won 4 league titles and the Champions' League in 2001.  However, he only played 15 times for Brazil, largely due to stiff competition. He played in the same generation with Ronaldo, etc.

ST:  Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
At the time of writing, Robert Lewandowski is Poland's all-time leading scorer.  He started with Znicz Pruszków and Lech Poznań, but he is known for his career with Borussia Dortmund, where he scored over 70 goals and reached the Champions' League Final in 2013.  After the 2013-2014 season, he moved to rival Bayern Munich under a controversial situation.  For Poland, he was capped over 90 times.  He played in Euro 2012 and 2016, and the World Cup Finals in 2018.

ST: Roy Makaay (Netherlands)
Makaay played for Vitesse and CD Tenerife before becoming a big star with Deportivo La Coruna.  He helped them to win their first ever La Liga title in 1999-2000.  In 2002-2003, he scored 29 goals and became the European Golden Boot winner.  In 2003, he moved to Bayern Muinch.  He won two Bundesliga title.  For the national team, he was only capped 43 times, largely because he was playing at the same time as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kuivert and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

ST: Claudio Pizarro (Peru)
At the time of writing, Claudio Pizarro is the all-time leading foreign scorer in the Bundesliga history.  His career in Germany was sandwiched between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen.  He also played for Chelsea in England.  For the national team, he only scored 20 times for 85 matches at the time of writing between 1999 and 2016. He played in the 2018 World Cup Final, Peru's first World Cup Finals since 1982.  He scored a single goal in the Finals.
Claudio Pizarro 

Honorable Mention
Roque Santa Cruz (Paraguay), Thiago (Spain), Javi Martinez (Spain),  Rafinha (Brazil), Mario Mandžukić (Croatia), Branko Oblak (Slovenia), Alan McInally (Scotland),  Luca Toni (Italy), Dante (Brazil), Paulo Sergio (Brazil), Conny Torstensson (Sweden), Hamit Altintop (Turkey), Arturo Vidal (Chile), Patrik Anderssen (Sweden).

Squad Explaination
-- Seven players from my Bayern Munich All-Time Team are Germans.  They are Willy Sagnol, Giovane Elber, Lucio, Bixente Lizarazu, Mark Van Bommel, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Basically, I need to select 18 foreigners to this team.  
-- In 2005, the Bayern fans voted for their Best XI.  The results: Sepp Maier, Klaus Augenthaler, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner, Steffan Effenberg, Mehmet Scholl, Lothar Matthaus, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Gerd Muller and Giovane Élber.  Except Giovane Élber, they were all Germans.
-- Jean-Marie Pfaff is the only one foreign goalkeepers ever started regularly for them.  
-- From my research, Ladislav Jirasek was the only other foreign keeper who started regularly for Bayern Munich.   There are limited information on his background in the internet. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, but he was playing for German clubs when he was ready 20 years old.  He seemed to be the starting keeper for Bayern Munich in the 1950's before the birth of Bundesliga.  His nationality was often listed as Czech, but he represented Saarland once in 1954 while he was playing Borussia Neunkirchen in that region at the time. He was cited as a non-native player for them.  Technically speaking, he was not a foreign player.
-- Both Pepe Reina and Zlatko Skoric (Yugoslavia) were backup keepers for a single season. I took Reina because I knew him better as a player. He only played 4 games for them, collecting a single red card. The other keepers were Robert Dekeyser (Belgium) and Ivan Lucic (Austria).
-- Bayern Munich has two great foreign right backs, namely Willy Sagnol and Johnny Hansen. Sagnol belonged to my all-time Bayern team and Hansen was close enough to be on my all-timer team. David Alaba and Hasan Salihamidžić can also play there and they are important players.  I put both of them elsewhere. Rafinha was also a long-time rightback for the club. 
-- Robert Kovac was born in Germany, but he played for Croatia, which qualified him for this team.
-- Conny Torstensson played in two European Cup Final. He made my honourable mention.
-- Mark Van Bommel is the first foreigner to be named captain of the team.
-- Claudio Pizarro's international reputation was not well-known as the others, but in the Bundesliga, he is among the greatest ever foreign players.
-- Most of the outfielders selected had a lengthy career with the club, but Xabi Alonso was only there for three seasons at the end of his career. He made the Bundesliga Best XI for the season 2014-2015.  I also selected him for his passing skills. Lerby also only played three seasons, but he played in Munich at his prime.
-- Brian Laudrup was Danish Player of the Year while playing for Bayern  Munich, but he earned it mainly through Denmark's victory at Euro 1992.
-- Robert Lewandowski is the all-time top scorer for foreign player. Arjen Robben is second.
-- Giovane Élber and Bixente Lizarazu are the only foreign players elected to Bayern Munich Hall of Fame.
-- Martín Demichelis was solid while playing for Bayern Munich.  The last centerback was between him and Van Buyten. Dante was also seriously considered.  
-- Then, I have one spot left.  It was opened to all positions. Javi Martinez, Dante and Daniel Van Buyten were considered. In the end, I took Buyten because he was the last player considered for a defensive player.  Javi Martinez's career with Bayern Munich was derailed by injuries. I am carrying 5 centerbacks to this team.


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