Bayern Munich will be boosted by the presence of five treble winners from the 2012/13 squad when they take on Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League final on Sunday. Some of them have been written off before, but all of them have played their part in putting their club on the verge of becoming European champions for the sixth time.
When it comes to winning trophies, the current Bayern squad are not short of know-how. It helps, though, to have institutional knowledge of what it takes to become a European champion.
Current board member and future club CEO Oliver Kahn was the goalkeeper when Bayern last met French opposition in a European final. In the 1996 UEFA Cup final, his team beat a Bordeaux side captained by soon-to-be Munich star Bixente Lizarazu and featuring Zinedine Zidane 5-1 on aggregate.
Kahn was also between the posts when Bayern won the Champions League for a fourth time, playing a significant role as they beat Valencia on penalties in the 2001 decider. France’s 1998 World Cup winner Lizarazu, incidentally, was successful from the spot for the German champions in the shootout.
The last time German and French opposition met in the European Cup or Champions League final, Bayern were involved too. Current CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and former president Uli Hoeneß were in the Bavarians’ starting XI in 1976 as they beat Saint-Etienne 1-0 in Glasgow. It was the third time in a row that Bayern had been European champions.
Within the current playing squad, though, Bayern have several cool heads who have been there and done it before. bundesliga.com examines the success that Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Thomas Müller and Javi Martinez have had before - and how they helped Bayern get to another Champions League final.
Position in 2013 final: Goalkeeper
Position in 2020 final: Goalkeeper and captain
Having already reached the Champions League semi-finals with Schalke in 2010/11 and the final with Bayern a year later, Neuer was truly beginning to flourish ahead of the 2012/13 Champions League final. The sensational Germany shot-stopper started all 13 matches in the campaign that season and – after shutting out Juventus and Barcelona over two legs in the previous two rounds – he would again play an important role in the decider.
Borussia Dortmund were the opposition in an all-German final at Wembley, and it was Jürgen Klopp’s side who looked most dangerous in the opening half hour. Neuer made several saves from Marco Reus, Jakub Blaszczykowski, and future Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and - though he was eventually beaten by Ilkay Gündogan from the penalty spot – Bayern would win 2-1.
Neuer cemented his legacy by winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany, and he is now an eight-time Bundesliga champion. The Gelsenkirchen native has had to prove his doubters wrong in recent years, though, battling back from serious foot injuries that forced him to miss almost all of the 2017/18 campaign. The veteran has proven his worth again this year, with a league-best 15 clean sheets and a number of telling saves during the tournament in Lisbon.
Another good display in the final against PSG will see one of the world’s best ever goalkeepers add to his already huge medal collection and succeed club legends Franz Beckenbauer, Stefan Effenberg and Philipp Lahm as the fourth Bayern captain to lift the European Cup.
Watch: Manuel Neuer, the best in the business
Position in 2013 final: Starting centre-back
Position in 2020 final: Starting centre-back
Like Neuer, Boateng was part of a star-studded Germany U21 side that made major headlines by hammering England 4-0 in the 2009 European Championship final. The defender also moved to Bayern in 2011 before enjoying a decade of success with club and country. The quarter-back’s centre-back, the former Manchester City man partnered Dante at the back in the 2013 final before forming a stylish pairing with Mats Hummels in the 2014 World Cup win.
The former Hertha Berlin and Hamburg defender has been a fixture of Bayern’s recent success, but persistent injury problems have threatened his place in the side. Despite falling down the centre-back pecking order following the arrivals of Niklas Süle and Lucas Hernandez, he remained in Munich and has very much recovered his best form.
He was sent off in Niko Kovac’s last game in charge, but has proven a vital player since Hansi Flick took over. With Süle suffering a cruciate ligament injury and summer signing Hernandez also out for significant periods, Boateng played 24 games in the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign – his best total since 2014/15.
The 31-year-old used his experience to guide Alaba along in his new role at centre-back, and started every Champions League game from Matchday 5 on – making vital interventions against Chelsea, Barcelona and Lyon in the knockout stages. Süle began the season as first choice in the centre of defence, but Boateng’s resurgent form means he is set to start in Lisbon.
Position in 2013 final: Left-back
Position in 2020 final: Centre-back
Once Bayern’s youngest-ever player who provided an assist with his second touch in professional football, Alaba was already a firm regular at the age of 20 by the time he won his first Champions League medal in 2013 as a marauding left-back. He had missed the previous year’s final defeat through suspension.
His attacking intent saw him form a formidable wing duo with mentor and friend Franck Ribery as Bayern made history by becoming the first team to win the treble of Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League. It was a partnership that helped define Bayern’s domestic dominance over the remainder of the decade. However, the Austrian was also praised for his versatility, being used in the centre of defence and midfield under Pep Guardiola, while he’d also play as an out-and-out winger for his national team.
Still only 28, Alaba now has a record nine Bundesliga titles and has taken on a new role within the Bayern team. Injuries forced Flick to move him away from the left-back position he’d made his own and back into the middle of the back four – to stunning effect.
He has been continually lauded for his leadership there, helping to guide youngster Alphonso Davies and mould him into another world-class left-back, while also maintaining his own top-class standards in terms of defensive and attacking play. His new partnership alongside Boateng has meant even Süle has to earn his place back in the centre of defence.
Watch: Alaba’s Bundesliga mixtape
Position in 2013 final: Attacking midfielder/second striker
Position in 2020 final: Attacking midfielder/second striker
Müller preceded Alaba out of the Bayern academy and was already instrumental back in 2012 when he scored the ‘home’ side’s goal in the final against Chelsea at the Allianz Arena. His influence grew even further over the next year as Jupp Heynckes’ side saw off all comers at home and abroad.
He scored eight goals in 13 Champions League matches, including three in the 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Barcelona in the semi-finals as the Munich club went on to beat Dortmund at Wembley.
Questions have constantly arisen over his role in the team, debating where he should play or if at all. The arrival of James Rodriguez in 2017 threatened to spell the end for the Raumdeuter, but Müller has always proven the doubters wrong and underlined his importance to his boyhood club. With 199 goals and 193 assists in 534 appearances, the stats don’t lie.
He was in and out of the team under Kovac, but has been revitalised under Flick, with whom he won the 2014 World Cup and knows well from 100 caps with Germany. Müller's form since has been astonishing, finishing the Bundesliga season with a new league record of 21 assists as he interpreted space like never before. He also got a brace, including the opening goal, in this year’s 8-2 thumping of Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
His influence within the team cannot be understated, both on and off the pitch. As the sole Bavarian in the first team, he’s a captain without the armband and leads from the front, embodying the club’s spirit of ‘Mia san mia’. When he plays well, Bayern play well, as seen in the remarkable fact that they have lost just four of the 160 matches in which he’s scored. Already the German player with the most Champions League appearances, he’s gearing up for his fourth European final and out to build on his legendary status.
Watch: All of Müller’s Bundesliga goals and assists in 2019/20
Position in 2013 final: Holding midfielder
Position in 2020 final: Defensive or midfield reinforcement
Martinez had moved to Munich in the summer of 2012 from Athletic Bilbao after Bayern had agonisingly missed out on a treble of trophies the season before. He was crucial to rejuvenating and solidifying Heynckes’ side from his position in defensive midfield alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger as they put that triple disappointment behind them.
Injuries have limited the 2010 World Cup winner to just 238 appearances for Bayern over eight seasons, in which he has won the Bundesliga every year. However, he has always proven a useful asset both in midfield and as reliable cover at centre-back.
Nowadays, he is more of a bit-part player, often coming on later in games to sure things up with his experience and confident passing, but has played in seven of the 10 Champions League games this season.
A popular member of the squad who was eager to make sure he assimilated into German life quickly and speaks the language fluently, there would be a sense of coming full circle with another treble triumph.