Bayern Munich's Aleksandar Pavlović made his Bundesliga debut and signed his first pro contract within the space of just four days. - © Oliver Hardt/Bundesliga
Bayern Munich's Aleksandar Pavlović made his Bundesliga debut and signed his first pro contract within the space of just four days. - © Oliver Hardt/Bundesliga

Aleksandar Pavlović: Who is Bayern Munich's homegrown midfield talent involved in UEFA Euro 2024?


Aleksandar Pavlović has become one of the first names on the teamsheet in defensive midfield at Bayern Munich, having joined the club at the age of seven and subsequently earning a contract through to 2027 and a place in Germany's EURO 2024 squad. looks at the latest gem to emerge from the Bayern Campus...

Stats correct as of 22 May 2024

Aleksandar Pavlović

Age: 20 (born 3 May 2004)

Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Defensive midfield

Country: Germany (two Germany U20 caps)

Key stats

Pavlović's first-team debut in the 8-0 win over Darmstadt on Matchday 9 of the 2023/24 campaign had been coming for some time. 

Locally born, his talent was spotted very early, and he joined Bayern aged seven after first pulling on his boots at SC Fürstenfeldbruck, where fellow Bayern pro Josip Stanišić also played. He worked his way through the ranks at the record champions, and was named by coach Thomas Tuchel among the substitutes for the Bundesliga Matchday 31 and 32 wins over Werder Bremen and Schalke respectively last season.

That milestone followed impressive displays in central midfield for Bayern's U19s last season and a handful of appearances for the reserve side, which had convinced first Julian Nagelsmann and then Tuchel that Pavlović was ready to step up into first-team training. He impressed alongside the superstars on the Säbener Straße pitches, before doing likewise in pre-season friendlies against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Bayern fans can expect to see a lot more of Pavlović in the years ahead. - IMAGO/Eduard Martin

It is well documented that Bayern tried and failed to reinforce the defensive midfield position in the summer, but Tuchel was never going to be that disappointed to miss out. "We'll have to see, we still have a few days. Perhaps we'll do something," said the Bayern boss late in the 2023 summer window. "And if we don't, then we have Aleks from our U23s." What a result that turned into...

Pavlović was part of the first-team squad for five matches, including the Champions League win at Galatasaray, before the inevitable happened and he was handed his bow against Darmstadt. Tuchel had promised that, "they will get their minutes" when speaking about the youngsters taking part in first-team training, and he has been as good as his word as far as Pavlović is concerned. Just days later he put pen to paper on his first professional contract at the club through to 2027. The teenager produced a first Bundesliga assist, and in Der Klassiker no less, in his second senior appearance the week after and was rewarded with both a first league start and Champions League debut in November. The same month he made his debut for Gemany U20s.

The 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 15, Pavlović's second start for the club, then looked a real breakout for the youngster. Stepping into the Bayern midfield with Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich absent, Pavlović was dominant once he warmed to the game. Two of Bayern's three goals resulted from Pavlović set pieces and his delivery throughout caused havoc in the VfB defence. In the end, he closed out the game with 70 touches, one assist and having completed 86 per cent of his passes.

He ends the campaign with 19 appearances in the Bundesliga, with 14 of those being starts. The 20-year-old already has two goals and two assists to his name, which is almost as many as Kimmich (four) in less than half the playing time. He also leads Bayern's midfielders for pass completion in the league at 92.4 percent.

So impressive has Pavlović been that he was called up to the senjor Germany squad for the first time in March 2024 - in place of Bayern clubmate Leon Goretzka - while he also started the team's decisive UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madird. His rapid rise has culminated with a richly deserved place in Germany's EURO 2024 squad.

Watch: From ball boy to Bayern player

Plays a bit like: Javi Martínez

Measuring 6'1" (1.86m), Pavlović's wiry frame is yet to fill out, but his ability to cover the pitch, being aggressive in the tackle, and precise eye for a pass have him shaping up to fit the mould of Bayern's treble-winning former Spain international midfielder.

Martínez was the glue that bound defence and attack in the historic 2012/13 campaign, and he was the picture of solidity and security during his nine years at the club, underpinning Bundesliga title wins in each of his seasons in Munich.

Pavlović looks to be cut from the same cloth and is now showing just how capable he is both from set pieces and in Bayern's build-up play with a range of passing that would make Martínez proud.

Did you know?

Thanks to his family roots, Pavlović was eligible to play for Serbia and Germany. He was called up to feature for Serbia's U21 side, but declined the opportunity, leaving his international future open.

That allowed current Germany boss Nagelsmann to step in and offer the highly-rated player his first senior call-up on 14 March for friendlies against France and the Netherlands. Pavlović ultimatley had to withdraw from the squad though, due to a bout of tonsillitis. 

Watch: The best of Pavlovic so far

What they're saying

“I grew up at Bayern and am very happy to have now signed my first professional contract. I’ve dreamed of this since I was little. Many thanks to everyone who’s supported me at the FC Bayern Campus. I want to learn in every training session and will keep working hard on myself.” - Aleksandar Pavlović after signing his pro contract with Bayern

“Aleks Pavlović is a technically gifted midfielder with very good vision. Furthermore, he’s incredibly eager to learn, ambitious and determined in terms of his goals. Aleks has worn the Bayern shirt since the age of seven and has come through every youth team all the way to our first team. That makes him a great example for our boys at the Campus. We’re very pleased that he’s signed his first professional contract with us.” - Bayern sporting director Christoph Freund

"We can't praise his performance enough today. We showed today that he has our confidence. Let's not get carried away. He played a very good game today. His set pieces were good. I'm very happy for him, he trains well, he's a great guy, his heart is in the right place. He did so well." - Tuchel after the Stuttgart game

"'Pavlo' does not do everything right, but it is no surprise to me that he can play like that. You can see he can do it. I am a fan of Pavlo." - Thomas Müller, also after Pavlović's eye-catching performance against VfB