Spaniards like Pep Guardiola, Thiago, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martínez (l-r.) have made an indelible mark on the history of Bayern Munich. - © DFL
Spaniards like Pep Guardiola, Thiago, Xabi Alonso and Javi Martínez (l-r.) have made an indelible mark on the history of Bayern Munich. - © DFL

Bryan Zaragoza and the other Spaniards to play for Bayern Munich


Following his winter move from Granada to the Allianz Arena, Bryan Zaragoza becomes Bayern Munich’s eighth Spanish player - plus coach Pep Guardiola. takes you through his predecessors, who have all won silverware with the record champions...

Javi Martínez – 2012-2021

Martínez made history in 2012 as the first Spaniard to feature for the Bavarian outfit, replacing Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 77th minute of their 6-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart. That was the first of 268 appearances for the club in all competitions, a number which would have no doubt been significantly higher had it not been for a slew of serious injuries.

Nevertheless, it was a more than fruitful nine-season spell in Germany for the Athletic Bilbao academy graduate – he reached 100 Bundesliga victories quicker than any other player, needing just 126 games to do so, while he won the Meisterschale in each campaign. On top of that, he eventually departed with five DFB Cup and two UEFA Champions League medals to his name. He also earned the nickname Mr Super Cup thanks to his crucial late goals in the 2013 and 2020 UEFA Super Cup triumphs over Chelsea and Sevilla respectively.

A midfielder by trade, Martínez was often also used at centre-back thanks to his stature and composure in possession. His no-nonsense style of building up from deep made him a favourite for coaches from Jupp Heynckes through to Hansi Flick.

Javi Martínez enjoyed nine successful seasons at Bayern. - TEAM2 / Tim Rehbein

Read more about the top Spanish players in Bundesliga history

Thiago Alcantara – 2013-2020

In contrast, Thiago was one of most gifted technicians in the Bundesliga for the seven years he graced Germany’s pitches. Following Guardiola’s appointment as head coach, the Barcelona ace was one of the new boss’ first signings, quickly becoming the embodiment of the tiki-taka style that was introduced.

Like Martínez, though, injuries were a thorn in Thiago’s side. However, towards the end of his Bayern spell, in particular, he overcame those issues as he blossomed into one of Europe’s best passers. Eight Bundesligas, four DFB Cups and the 2019/20 Champions League title made it a worthwhile stint in the south of Germany.

With 235 appearances, only Martínez has surpassed that tally amongst Thiago’s compatriots – his final outing was the 2020 Champions League final, which Bayern won 1-0. The perfect way to say goodbye.

Watch: Thiago, Bayern's midfield metronome

Xabi Alonso – 2014-2017

Before he was a league-leading coach, Alonso was a vital cog in the Bayern machine for three years. Joining the Guardiola revolution after the latter’s first campaign, he oozed class despite being towards the end of his playing career as he featured heavily in three title-winning terms.

Alongside Thiago, he was Bayern’s chief distributor and shouldered the creative burden serenely – for example, the 204 touches he amassed in his side’s 2-0 victory over Cologne in 2014 on only his fifth start remains a Bundesliga record.

In his final match before hanging up his boots, the 2010 World Cup winner scored in a 4-1 victory over Freiburg on the final day of the 2016/17 term, one of nine goals he managed in 117 matches.

Watch: Xabi Alonso, Bayern's pass master

Juan Bernat – 2014-2018

Left-back Bernat spent four years in Bavaria between 2014 and 2018. He was Guardiola’s first-choice in his first season, the 2014/15 campaign, but had to make do with a rotation role afterwards due to the presence of David Alaba.

Much like the rest of the Spanish contingent listed here, Bernat was able to fill up his personal trophy cabinet – he was a part of four Bundesliga-winning squads and also clinched the 2015/16 DFB Cup, although he spent the final versus Borussia Dortmund on the bench.

After continuing to struggle for first-team minutes, the Valencia youth product left for Paris Saint-Germain, where he continued to hoover up silverware.

Juan Bernat won Bundesliga titles during his time with Bayern. - Huebner/Voigt

Pepe Reina – 2014-2015

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina was the next Spain international to arrive at Bayern, joining to play back-up to Manuel Neuer. Supporters would be forgiven for forgetting he was on the books, though, given he played just three times during his solitary season.

The first didn’t come until March, when he played the full 90 minutes in a comfortable 4-0 victory over Werder Bremen. That appearance was historic, at least, as he became the first Spanish professional to play in four of Europe’s top five leagues.

That debut proved to be Reina’s Bayern peak. He subsequently played in a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt before lasting just 13 minutes versus Augsburg in his final Bayern fixture, a game his side ended up losing 1-0. Despite his limited contribution, he still departed with a Bundesliga medal – hardly a bad reward for 193 minutes of action.

Pepe Reina made just three appearances in his solitary season at the Allianz Arena. - imago sportfotodienst

Álvaro Odriozola - 2020

Few players have enjoyed as successful a loan as Odriozola at Bayern in 2020. The Real Madrid man was signed to provide extra cover at right-back for Joshua Kimmich and Benjamin Pavard, having failed to nail down a spot in Los Blancos’ starting XI.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Odriozola’s deal was extended until the end of August to accommodate the conclusion of the 2019/20 Champions League campaign - a tournament Bayern ultimately won to complete the treble after already clinching the Bundesliga and DFB Cup.

The loanee managed just five outings, only two of which were starts. Still, he can call himself a treble winner having played in all three competitions, making him a member of a select group.

Álvaro Odriozola was part of the 2019/20 treble-winning squad. - Markus Ulmer

Marc Roca – 2020-2022

Roca joined Bayern at the end of the 2020 transfer window. He was brought in to add extra depth to the midfield, but was unable to dislodge Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in the middle of the park on a regular basis.

He managed only six Bundesliga appearances in 2020/21 and nine the following term, also picking up a smattering of minutes in other competitions, and had more red cards than goals or assists by the time he moved on to Leeds United.

Again, though, he didn’t leave empty-handed, but rather with two Bundesliga titles.

Marc Roca is also a two-time Bundesliga winner. - IMAGO/Mladen Lackovic

Pep Guardiola – 2013-16

In the Bundesliga era, Bayern had had coaches from Germany, Yugoslavia/Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands, but Guardiola was the first and so far only from Spain. He obviously arrived with a big reputation from his spell in charge of Barcelona, but also had huge boots to fill when succeeding Heynckes on the back of 2013’s treble.

Pep’s team dominated domestically as he set a new Bundesliga record for longest unbeaten run to begin a tenure at 27 games – almost double the previous best of 14 by Kaiserslautern’s Karl-Heinz Feldkamp – and then the earliest title in history, with Bayern confirmed champions on 25 March 2014 with seven games to spare. He lifted the Meisterschale in his other two seasons at the helm, also winning the domestic double in 2013/14 and 2015/16.

Guardiola adapted Bayern’s style, introducing dominant tiki-taka and full-backs coming into central midfield, as the Munich club saw off challenges from Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund. He left for Manchester City with a record of 124 wins from 161 matches, losing only 21 times over three years in which he also won the FIFA Club World Cup. The one blot on his Bayern copy book was, of course, the three straight Champions League semi-final eliminations at the hands of Spanish trio Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Watch: Guardiola and legendary Bundesliga coaches

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