Bayern Munich is far and away the most successful football club in German history, and much of that is thanks to the amazing amount of talent that it’s hard over the years. Of those many players, though, which ones stand out as the best? We’ve narrowed it down to the five best players in Bayern Munich history. Before we start the list, some of the players who just missed the cut include Klaus Augenthaler, Phillip Lahm, Sepp Maier, Stefan Effenberg, and Franck Ribery.
Though he may not have spent his entire playing career with Bayern Munich, Oliver Kahn is a staple of the club through and through. Khan was born in Karlsruhe in 1969 and began his playing career with Karlsruher SC, making his pro debut on the top squad in 1990. After four years, Khan moved on to Bayern where he spent the final 14 years of his playing days before retiring and moving into the front office, assuming the CEO position in 2021.
With 632 matches played for Bayern Munich, Oliver Kahn is third all-time in club history. Kahn helped Bayern Munich house the Bundesliga title eight times and also won the UEFA Champions League in 2001. He was named the league’s top goalkeeper seven times throughout his illustrious career and finished in the top three of Ballon d’Or voting twice.
One of the most versatile midfielders of his era, Bastian Schweinsteiger was one of the most recognizable footballers in Germany for nearly two decades. Schweinsteiger joined the Bayern Munich youth program in 1998, then made his way to the top squad in 2002 where he would remain for 13 years. He then rounded out his career with brief stints with Manchester United and Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
Schweinsteiger played an even 500 matches for Bayern Munich, placing him at 10th all-time in club history. In addition to his 2013 UEFA Champions League win, Schweinsteiger helped Bayern Munich win the German Bundesliga eight times. In 2018, he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
The oldest player on the list is Franz Beckenbauer, a Munich native who made the switch from midfielder to defender, becoming one of the best to ever play the position. Breckenbauer joined the Bayern Munich club in 1959 as a teen, then made his professional debut in 1964. He would spend 13 years as part of the top squad before rounding out his playing days with Hamburger SV and the New York Cosmos, retiring in 1983 before two stints as Bayern manager.
Breckenbauer is fifth all-time on the club list for most appearances with 582. He won the Bundesliga title four times as a player (and once as a manager) while also being the only player on the list to win multiple Ballon d’Or Trophies (1972 and 1976) while also being in the top three on three other occasions.
The top two players in Bayern Munich’s history share the same surname, though they are in no way related to one another and have a wide age gap. The first on the list is Thomas Muller, a Weilheim in Oberbayern native who has set many club records. Muller was born in 1989 and joined the Bayern youth program at 10 years old. In 2008, he was brought up to the main squad and became a staple, taking on any position that he was asked to play.
Due to Muller’s versatility, Bayern Munich has won the Bundesliga title more than 10 times while he’s been a member of the squad. The club has also won several other trophies including the UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup twice. Muller is third all-time in goals scored for Bayern, and near the top for all-time appearances.
The other Muller on the list (and the top player overall) is, of course, Gerd Muller. Known as Der Bomber, Muller is one of those rare players on the list who wasn’t part of Bayern Munich’s youth program. Instead, he came up with 1861 Nordlingen, making his professional debut in 1963. The following year, he joined Bayern Munich and became a high-scoring striker for 15 years before wrapping up his playing days in the United States in 1981.
Muller was able to help Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga title four times throughout his career, as well as the European Cup three times. In 1970, Muller won the Ballon d’Or Trophy as the world’s top player and also finished in the top three on three other occasions. In 2007, Muller was given the Golden Foot as a football legend. He holds the record for most goals in Bayern Munich history with 563, more than 200 ahead of any other player.