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25 Greatest Bayern Munich Players Of All Time – Who Tops The List?

Germany’s greatest-ever club, Bayern Munich, is one of the elite clubs in Europe, with a history of near-total domination over the Bundesliga.

Successful clubs always attract the best players; trophies and fame are why players flock to those teams that can provide them. And with a staggering 32 league titles to its name, Bayern is one of the most successful, ruthlessly efficient clubs in world soccer.

If you’re making the team at Bayern, you’re going to win trophies. Let’s look back at some of the greatest players ever to appear for the Bavarian giants; this list is full of sheer quality. Bayern Munich only recruits the very best. 

Here are the 25 greatest Bayern Munich players of all time.

25. Daniel Van Buyten 

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  • Position: Centre-Back

A Belgian defender with an eye for goal, Daniel Van Buyten started his career as a striker before moving into the heart of the defense, and it shows.

With 47 league goals to his name, 20 of them for Bayern, Van Buyten was integral to the FC Bayern team for eight seasons and became the first Belgian in history to lift the Champions League. 

24. Claudio Pizarro 

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  • Position: Centre-Forward

One of the greatest Peruvian players of all time, Claudio Pizarro, spent almost all of his career in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. In his two spells with Bayern, the Peruvian scored 87 league goals and became a club legend. 

Pizarro would finish with six Bundesliga titles, five DFB Pokal victories, the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup while playing in the colors of Bayern Munich, making him one of Peru’s most successful players. 

23. Toni Kroos 

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  • Position: Central Midfield

German midfielder Toni Kroos spent seven years with Bayern Munich and made his debut at the tender age of 17, which should give us some indication of just how highly the player was regarded. 

With his excellent passing range and an eye for long-range shots, Kroos became an integral part of the Bayern midfield. Creative, hardworking, and consistent, Kroos is the perfect example of a Bayern Munich midfield player; a surprise move to Real Madrid in 2014 saw the German international win a further 16 trophies.

22. Mario Gomez 

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  • Position: Centre-Forward

For several years, Mario Gomez was one of the best strikers in world soccer and would go on to be one of the most prolific strikers in the Bundesliga. His 75 league goals for Bayern in his four years at the club don’t tell the whole story. 

With seven trophies, including the Champions League and two Bundesliga titles, Gomez was the top scorer in the Bundesliga in 2011.

While he was lethal in front of goal, Gomez was plagued by accusations of laziness and was a divisive figure while at Bayern. Regardless, his goalscoring exploits merit his inclusion in our list. 

21. Michael Ballack 

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  • Position: Central Midfield

A career that saw Michael Ballack become captain of Germany, one of the most recognizable players on earth and a three-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich can’t be considered anything but successful. And that’s what Ballack was; wherever he played, teams won trophies.

While at Bayern, the German international midfielder was a critical player, moving the ball with flair and aggressive determination. A great shot and excellent heading ability also made Ballack a serious goal threat. 

20. Mark Van Bommel 

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  • Position: Defensive Midfield

Every great team needs a workhorse that keeps the team ticking over; flair players can’t perform without the ball, and Dutch defensive midfielder Mark van Bommel was the perfect anchorman.

A ferocious tackler, van Bommel would win the ball back quickly and use his excellent passing abilities to start attacking moves. 

The Dutchman was the first non-German captain of Bayern Munich and was a vital player for the Bavarians thanks to his defensive qualities. Mark van Bommel would help FC Bayern to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League runners-up spot while at the club. 

19. Bixente Lizarazu 

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  • Position: Left-Back

The left-back position isn’t always the sexiest place to play and in days gone by was the position where the least talented players would be moved. Times have changed, though, and no player proves this more than French World Cup Winner Bixente Lizarazu.

A winger in his early career, the Frenchman was told he wouldn’t make it as a professional soccer player, but his determination to succeed and a move from the left wing to an attacking left-back role was the player’s making. 

A World Cup, the European Championships, six Bundesliga titles, a Champions League winners medal, and many more domestic trophies later, Lizarazu has proved the doubters wrong. Arguably the best left-back France has ever produced, Lizarazu may have been slight of stature, but his legacy is huge. 

18. Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck 

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  • Position: Centre-Back

A Bayern Munich legend, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck was a one-club man for his entire career, making 416 league appearances for Bayern. A winner of six league titles and a three-time European Cup winner, Schwarzenbeck is part of Bayern history. 

One of the West German international’s finest hours came in the 1974 European Cup final, where the defender equalized in the last minute of extra time to take the final to a replay.

His long-range effort meant Bayern could go again, and a 4-0 victory in the replay cemented Schwarzenbeck as one of the club’s greats. 

17. Uli Hoeness 

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  • Position: Right-Winger

Despite only playing soccer professionally for nine seasons, Uli Hoesness is a part of the fabric of Bayern Munich. The striker not only finished his club career with three league titles but also helped the club win three consecutive European Cups. 

Hoeness would also win the World Cup and UEFA European Championships with West Germany, giving him an almost clean sweep of domestic and international titles.

After retiring, Hoeness would become part of the backroom staff at Bayern; within a year of retiring from professional soccer, Hoeness was made the club’s General Manager. 

16. Hasan Salihamidzic 

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  • Position: Right Midfield

A full-back with the ability to cross can be worth their weight in gold, defenders can’t mark them out of the game, and the additional attacking threat can be incredibly rewarding.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Hasan Salihamidzic spent nine seasons at right-back for Bayern, often pushing up into midfield and delivering pinpoint crosses for his teammates.

A hardworking and talented player, Salihamidzic settled in Munich after retirement and even became the club’s Sporting Director in 2017. During his time as a player, Salihamidzic won six Bundesliga titles and a Champions League with Bayern. 

15. Stefan Effenberg 

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  • Position: Central Midfield

A tenacious and, at times, ruthless player, Effenberg spent two spells with Bayern Munich, winning several league championships and captaining the club to the 2001 Champions League.

The German midfielder was also no stranger to controversy, having collected an eyewatering 109 yellow cards in the Bundesliga. 

Effenberg was a dominating figure, a tough-tackling, uncompromising player, although he frequently had disagreements with the club’s management. The German’s achievements speak for themselves, and it’s unlikely he would have had the success he did if he hadn’t been so single-minded. 

14. Bastian Schweinsteiger 

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  • Position: Central Midfield

A Germany and Bayern Munich legend, Bastian Schweinsteiger made 121 appearances for his country and over 479 league appearances in his career.

An ever-present player, Schweinsteiger was an excellent midfielder and has been regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. 

A vital strength of the German player was his versatility; despite preferring central midfield, his defensive and offensive skills allowed him to play either a deeper or more advanced role.

Able to cross, pass, and tackle, Schweinsteiger could also play on either wing if the need arose. 

This versatility, as well as his professionalism, determination, and overall skill, made him such a prominent figure for Bayern and Germany. Driving out from deep in his own half, Schweinsteiger would carry the ball forwards and make the rest of the team look forwards rather than backward. 

13. Mehmet Scholl 

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  • Position: Attacking Midfield

Mehmet Scholl is as close to a one-club player as you’ll find, having spent 15 of his 18-year career at Bayern Munich. A superb attacking midfielder, Scholl played 468 times for Bayern, scoring 116 goals. 

The German international was one of the most successful players in Bundesliga history, with a trophy haul that would make any player envious. Despite his evident skill and obvious goal threat, Scholl only appeared 36 times for Germany.

It’s his decade and a half with Bayern Munich that Mehmet Scholl will be most remembered; his onfield personality, drive to win, and overall contributions to his team were vital in the club winning eight Bundesliga titles while Scholl was with the club. 

12. Franck Ribery 

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  • Position: Left-Winger

One of world soccer’s greatest-ever wingers, Franck Ribery, was a member of the Bayern team that completely dominated the German top division for the better part of a decade.

Nine Bundesliga titles, six DFB Pokal trophies, and four DFL Supercups, Bayern, and Ribery, absolutely decimated the league. 

A crafty, pacy winger with the ability to cut inside and score goals, French international Ribery was one of the most devastating players of his generation.

An extroverted player that loved to entertain, Ribery was a crowd pleaser and, thanks to his incredible skills, a crowd favorite; with the ball at his feet, the rapid attacker was almost unstoppable. 

11. Arjen Robben 

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  • Position: Right-Winger

Another reason Bayern Munich dominated the league for over a decade was Dutch winger Arjen Robben. With Franck Ribery on one wing and the equally pacy and unpredictable Robben on the other, Bayern’s attacking prowess was devastating. 

The incredibly talented Robben was aggressive, assertive, and had a turn of speed that frightened defenders to death.

So potent was his partnership with Ribery that the combined nickname of Robbery was coined for the terrible twosome. And an apt nickname it would prove to be, as the players would steal the ball and then vanish towards goal. 

10. Oliver Kahn 

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  • Position: Goalkeeper

One of the greatest goalkeepers in German history, Oliver Khan’s reputation often preceded him, and many players who found themselves one-on-one with the giant Bayern Munich keeper would miss the target simply out of fear. 

A dominant and aggressive keeper, Khan prowled his area like a tiger, demanding excellence from his defense and striking fear into the hearts of opposing strikers. Khan needed to win a perennial winner, had to win, and usually did. 

A part of Bayern’s history, the former player is now the CEO of Bayern Munich and brings the same determination and grit to the role as he did as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

9. Thomas Muller 

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  • Position: Attacking Midfielder

There’s a genuine chance that Thomas Muller is the most complete attacking midfielder Germany has ever produced; arguably one of the best the world has ever seen.

It’s not just that the German midfielder has won everything from the World Cup to almost a dozen Bundesliga titles; his intelligence and use of space make Muller of the best. 

Moving between the lines, Muller dominates the attacking play, and his vision, passing ability, and incredible work rate mate him one of the most crucial players in the Bayern lineup.

As well as scoring goals, and lots of them, Muller makes more assists than nearly every player in the Bundesliga. 

The most decorated German soccer player of all time, Muller has collected 32 trophies so far. Given that his game is based more on movement and intelligence, there’s no reason he can’t play on for several more seasons. 

8. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge 

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  • Position: Centre-Forward

You’ll perhaps know Karl-Heinz Rummenigge from his days as the CEO and former vice-president of Bayern Munich, posts he held for almost two decades, but during his playing days at the Bavarian club, Rummenigge was one of the best strikers in Europe. 

Helping the club to win two Bundesliga and two European Cups, Rummenigge was a striker whose dribbling skills allowed him to ghost past opponents, and the West Germany international would be recognized as one of the most prolific strikers of his generation. 

Having won the Ballon d’Or twice and three Bundesliga top scorer awards, Rummenigge is a part of Bayern’s history, finishing with 162 league goals for the club he would serve for almost half his life. 

7. Lothar Mattheus 

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  • Position: Defensive Midfielder
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In his two spells with Bayern Munich, Lothar Mattheus won everything except the European Cup, though he would go on to lift a World Cup as Germany’s captain and become the only German player to be voted the FIFA World Player of the Year. 

He was a box-to-box midfielder with an engine that never broke down and was a tough tackling, goalscoring midfielder who is often regarded as the best player in his position in history.

Mattheus was so good that he won the German Footballer of the Year award at age 38; the most capped German player of all time, with 150 caps, Lothar Mattheus is a true legend of the game.

6. Paul Breitner 

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  • Position: Left-Back / Central Midfield

Paul Breitner continually reinvented himself, from a left-back with Bayern in his first spell with the club to a world-class midfielder in his second stint with the Bavarian giants.

A World Cup winner in 1974, Breitner was regarded as one of the best defenders in soccer and would score in both the 1974 final and the 1982 World Cup final. 

Often considered a revolutionary, Breitner was sold to Real Madrid in 1974 but would return to Bayern Munich in 1978 and eventually retire in 1983. Breitner played 255 league games for Bayern, scoring 83 goals, a superb return for a player who spent much of his time there as a left-back. 

5. Sepp Maier 

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  • Position: Goalkeeper

One of the most well-respected players Bayern has ever had, one-club man Sepp Maier spent his entire 18 years as a professional goalkeeper with the club.

The consistent Maier once recorded 442 consecutive appearances in the league, a record that stands today, and he was also the West Germany goalkeeper for four successive World Cups. 

Three consecutive European Cups, four Bundesliga titles, and a World Cup trophy take pride of place in the Maier household, and perhaps even more telling is the fact that the goalkeeper was named Footballer of the Year three times, something unheard of for a goalkeeper. 

4. Philipp Lahm 

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  • Position: Right-Back

There’s no doubt that Philipp Lahm was one of the most consistent, intelligent, and successful full-backs of all time; his record speaks for itself.

He is a World Cup-winning captain and eight-time Bundesliga winner with a Champions League medal and enough domestic trophies to fill a bus. 

A versatile player that could comfortably play on either the left or right side of the defense, Lahm was an accurate crosser of the ball, defensively intelligent, and incredibly hard-working.

Pep Guardiola has described the German international as the most intelligent player he had ever coached, and it showed; Lahm was in the right place every time. 

3. Robert Lewandowski 

  • Position: Centre-Forward

There isn’t a more prolific striker in the modern game than Robert Lewandowski, the former Bayern Munich player who was the most feared marksman in European soccer for over a decade.

A controversial purchase from rivals Borussia Dortmund, with whom Lewandowski had also been prolific, the Polish international strengthened Bayern while weakening their opponents at Dortmund. 

As well as the usual awards and trophies you’d expect from a Bayern Munich player, Lewandowski also holds four Guinness World Records after scoring five goals in less than nine minutes while playing for Bayern against Wolfsburg. 

Lewandowski had won the Bundesliga top scorer award seven times and even beat former Bayern legend Gerd Muller’s record of 40 goals in a single season when he scored 41 goals in the 2021 season. 

Initially, Lewandowski didn’t want to become a soccer player, so we’re lucky that we got to see one of the greatest strikers of all time perform so consistently for as long as we have.

Now playing for Barcelona, there’s every chance that the Polish superstar will continue to score goals at the incredible pace he did at Bayern Munich. 

2. Gerd Muller 

  • Position: Centre-Forward

Only one other striker can compete with Robert Lewandowski’s goalscoring record for Bayern Munich, and that’s the legend himself, Gerd Muller. In his 15 seasons with Bayern Munich, Der Bomber, as the West Germany international was called, scored an incredible 398 league goals in 453 appearances. 

One of the most accurate and lethal goal poachers of all time, Muller was often seen lurking around the six-yard line, waiting to pounce on any mistakes made. And pounce he did; in European competition, Muller scored 65 goals in 75 games and 68 international goals in 62 appearances. 

Gerd Muller’s record is insane; his goals-to-appearances ratio is very nearly a goal every game, which is why he is still regarded as the most significant German striker of all time. Not the typical striker, Muller wasn’t very fast over long distances, he wasn’t tall, and he couldn’t shoot from long range. 

Muller had a low center of gravity and a burst of pace over a few yards that would take him flying past defenders, and he could turn on the spot to receive the ball before firing a shot into the net.

Muller would suddenly dart in front of players using his burst of speed, getting into the perfect positions. 

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of Gerd Muller, his years at Bayern saw the club become the best in Germany, and they’ve remained there ever since.

Adidas released a sportswear collection under the Gerd Muller name to honor the impact and influence of this greatest of German soccer players.

1. Franz Beckenbauer 

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  • Position: Centre-Back

There could be no other player at number one on our list; the greatest Bayern Munich player of all time is, and always will be, Franz Beckenbauer.

The player credited with inventing the role of the modern sweeper, a two-time European Footballer of the Year, and a World Cup winner as both player and manager, Beckenbauer is the supreme player. 

With Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer won three consecutive European Cups and four Bundesliga titles. Still, his legacy and influence on German soccer make him arguably the greatest player in the history of German soccer. 

The only defender to win the Ballon d’Or twice, Beckenbauer literally created the sweeper role, whereby the defender would also engage in attacking play by essentially “sweeping” upfield to carry the ball or add an extra option in midfield.

Nicknamed Der Kaiser by fans and media alike, Beckenbauer’s influence is still felt today; he’s undoubtedly the greatest Bayern Munich player of all time.