A mix of young and old helped steer Bayern Munich towards their seventh successive Bundesliga title in 2018/19. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH
A mix of young and old helped steer Bayern Munich towards their seventh successive Bundesliga title in 2018/19. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH

Lewandowski, Süle, Gnabry, Kimmich, Müller and Martinez: Bayern Munich's title-makers


Bayern Munich have made it seven successive Bundesliga titles thanks to their 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on the final day, but though the outcome is the same, the faces that have helped them get this year are - mostly - different.

While Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Javi Martinez are staples of the Bavarian juggernaut's on-going success story, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Niklas Süle produced their best campaigns to date to lay the groundwork for the title win.

bundesliga.com salutes the sensational six-pack who made Bayern champions once again.

Robert Lewandowski

If it's a surprise to see Lewandowski's name included here, where have you been watching your football for the last decade or so? The man is a machine, and sometimes you would suspect quite literally.

In each of his last nine Bundesliga seasons, the Pole, who is now 30, has played at least 30 matches, and has not once missed more than two successive games in all that time. That would be impressive enough, but then come the goals…

Watch: Why Robert Lewandowski is a Player of the Month nominee for April

A fourth Torjägerkanone has also been secured after an exceptional Rückrunde in which he claimed 12 of his 22 strikes, becoming the Bundesliga's all-time leading foreign-born goalscorer to boot. He passed the 200-goal milestone — only the fourth man to do so in Germany — with his brace in the 5-0 Klassiker demonstration against his ex-club, Borussia Dortmund, on Matchday 28.

"When the ball went in, I hesitated for a moment," said Lewandowski, revealing the only time he has looked unsure in front of goal for many a season. "But then I knew that it was the 200th goal. I'm happy and it's important for me."

Lewandowski in numbers

  • 159 Bundesliga games for Bayern, 128 goals…enough said.
  • With 22 goals and seven assists, Lewandowski has been involved in 33 per cent of Bayern's 88 league strikes this season.
  • He has found the net once every six shots, and scored every 135 minutes on the pitch.

The verdict

"The way Lewy worked was unbelieveable," teammate Thomas Müller after the win over Dortmund.

Niklas Süle

If you're talking about pillars of Bayern's title win, then they do not come much more granite-like than their imposing centre-back. Used more as cover in 2017/18, Süle became a fixture in Bayern's back four this season with Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng now reduced to contesting the other spot at the heart of the defence.

His matchwinning goal against Werder Bremen on Matchday 30 - his second strike of the season - gave Bayern all three points when only one had seemed inevitable, and a draw would have allowed Dortmund to move top of the table.

Mats Hummels (l.) and Niklas Süle have worked hand-in-hand in the Bayern back four this season. - imago images / Bernd König

An iron fist in a velvet glove, the linebacker-built defender has conceded just 17 free-kicks, that's one every other game! Picked up from Hoffenheim in summer 2017, the scary prospect for opposing forwards is that, at 23, Süle is only going to get better.

Süle in numbers

  • His 95 per cent pass completion - a staggering ratio given he has had the fourth-most touches of any Bundesliga player - makes him a crucial link between front and back.
  • He has won over two.thirds of all challenges this season and includes three-quarters when talking about aerial challenges.
  • The hulking Süle is an iron fist in a velvet glove: he has picked up just three yellow cards - that's one fewer than Spanish artist Thiago Alcantara - this term.

The verdict

"Niklas is doing very well with his speed, with his composure. He does not dwell too much on certain situations, that's what makes him great as a player, and that's why he's a regular in front of the other two." Niko Kovac

Serge Gnabry

Erwin Kostedde, Jürgen Wegmann and Serge Gnabry: spot the odd man out? It's a trick question. There isn't one, they are the only men who have registered double-figure goal tallies for three different clubs in successive seasons. It was his strike in the 1-1 draw at Nuremberg on Matchday 31 - which helped Bayern avoid a potentially devastating defeat - that earned him membership of that exclusive club, and is just one more impressive footnote to add to a stunning season.

Watch: Breaking down Serge Gnabry's game

The former Arsenal man was good at Bremen and Hoffenheim, where he asked to go on loan last season after joining Bayern, but he has truly taken a marked step up in quality since pulling on the iconic red shirt last summer. "I've played a lot," he said recently. "Perhaps more than people expected". Bayern president Uli Hoeness admitted as much, calling Gnabry "the biggest surprise" of the season; what should come as a much smaller surprise is his top-of-the-range quality.

His former Germany U21 boss, Horst Hrubesch, claimed Gnabry has "15-20 goals a season" in him. He finished with 10 in his debut season for the champions, but his contribution to the Bayern cause has been greater than the sum of his goals and assists, with his pace, trickery and much-underrated industry to help out defensively all part of a very attractive package.

Gnabry in numbers

  • His ten goals make him Bayern's second-top scorer in the Bundesliga this season after Lewandowski.
  • He has found the net once roughly every 177 minutes on the pitch.
  • He finished just one goal short of his career-best in the Bundesliga: 11 with Bremen in 2016/17.

The verdict

"If he doesn't do it with his qualities, who will? I see no limits for him." Horst Hrubesch

Joshua Kimmich

What can be said about Joshua Kimmich that hasn't already been said? "He's rubbish!" would be one thing, because that is a statement that has not been - and you imagine never will be - associated with 24-year-old, who just keeps on getting better and better.

"Everyone knows we have quality, and in theory more than most of our opponents," said Kimmich earlier in the season. "But you have to show that on the pitch, which in the end is a question of mentality." His attitude - and consequently his performance - has been unwavering.

Joshua Kimmich's focus has not wavered throughout the season. - 2018 DFL

The fact he sandwiched himself between Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt - two of the Bundesliga's brightest attacking midfielders - at the top of the league's assists chart says much about the Bayern right-back, who - in a squad peppered with talent - still gets the responsibility to deliver dead balls.

Kimmich in numbers

  • With 12 assists, he has laid on the most goals of any defender in the Bundesliga this season.
  • No Bundesliga defender has EVER registered as many assists in a single season.
  • He has played every single minute of the 2018/19 campaign.

The verdict

"He's the future of Bayern and one of the best in the world." Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez

Thomas Müller

Thomas Müller doesn't chime in with the most goals or assists, but he doesn't need to. The self-titled Raumdeuter is conceivably the most unique entity in world football - brilliant with the ball, even better without it. The fact he nudged James Rodriguez out of the side during the latter part of 2018/19 underlines just how good a player he is.

The tactical tweak paid dividends - and brought the best out of Lewandowski. "With Thomas next to me it’s easier," the Pole said. "He helps me a lot. We complement each other very well, and create more chances."

Thomas Müller is now an eight-time Bundesliga winner with boyhood club Bayern. - 2018 DFL

Müller didn't start every game during the first half of the season, but he did between Matchdays 24 and 32, producing two goals and four assists. The Reds won seven of those nine fixtures, only dropping points - drawing with lowly Freiburg and Nuremberg - in the two games he was benched.

Fittingly, it was his pass that set Bayern on the road to a title-clinching rout of Frankfurt on the final day. Nobody does it better.

Müller in numbers

  • Bayern have never lost a Bundesliga game when Müller has scored.
  • Scored six goals and produced nine assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances in 2018/19.
  • Joins fellow club legends Arjen Robben David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl on eight Bundesliga titles. Only Franck Ribery has won more (nine).

The verdict

"He's intangible. He helps everywhere, which makes him so valuable. Bayern need players like that." Kovac

Javi Martinez

As hard-working as Gnabry, as reliable as Lewandowski, as productive as Kimmich, as solid as Süle, as integral as Müller -  ladies and gentlemen... Javi Martinez.

It's hard to believe the Spain international was not first-choice for Kovac from the start so indispensable has he become to the Bayern boss. Talismanic - he has been on the pitch for just one of the champions' four league defeats this season - the ex-Athletic Bilbao man's consistently flawless displays have given those around him, notably Doppelsechs partner Thiago, the platform to play their own game.

Javi Martinez has brilliantly directed midfield traffic for Bayern this season. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

Metronomic with his passes - over 92 per cent of which were completed — Martinez's sheer will to win has made him a central, inspirational figure in the team. His three goals this season - the matchwinner against Hertha Berlin, the opening goal in the victory at Mönchengladbach, and the Klassiker-killing third just before half-time against Dortmund - have all been stamped with significance.

Martinez in numbers

  • Nearly 58 per cent of challenges won - that's some 10 per cent more than the league average for a midfielder.
  • Despite his position, he has committed just 11 fouls.
  • His three goals have come from just 18 attempts, that's six attempts per goal - just like Lewandowski.

The verdict

"Javi has proven that he's a plus - and a personality - on the pitch in games at this level" Kovac