Bayern Munich are looking to build on their eight straight titles and make it a round 30 in the Bundesliga era as they enter the 2020/21 season, bringing in some big reinforcements throughout the team in Leroy Sane, Alexander Nübel and Tanguy Nianzou.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at what these talented troupe will bring to this already world-class Bayern squad…
Nationality: Germany (25 caps, 5 goals)
Signed from: Manchester City
Story so far: “It’s known that we were already interested in signing Leroy last year,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at Sane’s official Bayern unveiling. Well, they now have their man. The Germany international is the product of Schalke’s famed Knappenschmiede academy (although with a three-year interlude at Bayer Leverkusen), just like his new club teammates Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka. He was handed his senior debut at the age of 18 in a Bundesliga match against VfB Stuttgart in 2013/14, but his real breakthrough came two years later as he had a hand in 16 goals in 42 competitive matches. Already one of Germany’s brightest talents, and a full international since November 2015, he was one of the key targets for new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, and made the move to England at the same time as the departing Bayern coach in 2016. Four years and seven trophies later, the winger is back in his homeland in search of yet more silverware with the record champions.
Watch: Sane’s Bundesliga highlights with Schalke
Role next season: Sane stated that Bayern had originally made contact when he was still at Schalke, but admitted that it would have been tough to get playing time with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery still in the team. While he would have provided strong back-up four years ago, he now arrives at the Allianz Arena in prime position for a starting spot. However, there is once again stiff competition on the Bayern wings in Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. Although the former is versatile in the final third, it’s likely a scenario of three into two and a positive selection headache for coach Hansi Flick. That being said, the fact Bayern almost always go far in all three competitions, and also Coman’s patchy injury history, means squad depth – and quality – is essential for a team that sees trophies as a must.
Nationality: Germany (17 U21 caps)
Signed from: Schalke
Story so far: Nübel has long been on the radar for young German goalkeepers since leaving youth team Paderborn for Schalke in 2015. He was handed his senior debut as a 90th-minute replacement for Ralf Fährmann on the final day of 2015/16 as the Royal Blues beat Hoffenheim 4-1, with Sane among the scorers. It would be another two years until his next match, again as a substitute for ever-present Fährmann on the final day of 2017/18 against Eintracht Frankfurt, this time getting a full 45 minutes. His chance finally came in 2018/19 when injury and later poor form for Fährmann saw Domenico Tedesco install Nübel as his No.1. After playing every minute for the Germany team that finished runners-up at the 2019 UEFA U21 Euros, he was named Schalke captain and made first choice for the 2019/20 campaign, keeping seven clean sheets in 29 competitive matches. After deciding against a new contract, he put pen to paper with Bayern in January.
Watch: Kahn analyses Nübel
Role next season: Bayern have essentially confirmed that Nübel will take his place on the bench behind skipper Manuel Neuer. “This is a mid-term task for him,” said former goalkeeper, captain and current board member Oliver Kahn. “He’s giving himself a few years to follow in Neuer’s footsteps. At the moment, Neuer is the absolute number one.” It means the 23-year-old is opting to sacrifice playing time to learn from the best, training alongside Neuer with the ambition of one day succeeding him at Bayern and potentially with Germany.
Nationality: France (4 U18 caps)
Signed from: Paris Saint-Germain
Story so far: A Paris native, Nianzou played for various youth teams – including Senart-Moissy, where new Bayern colleague Coman began his career – before joining PSG at 14 in 2016. He was already with the U19s by 2018/19, even captaining the team on some occasions despite being two years younger than his teammates. Former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel got wind of his talent and handed the 17-year-old his senior debut in December 2019. Having developed as a centre-back, his first start came four days later as a defensive midfielder in the UEFA Champions League against Galatasaray, receiving a standing ovation when substituted in the 5-0 win. Despite being voted PSG’s academy player of the year for 2019, Nianzou decided not to renew his contract and opted for a move to Munich as he wanted to “progress, also in terms of my education – and Bayern was the right choice there.”
Role next season: The man himself is confident in getting playing time, stating at his unveiling: “A lot of young players played this year, and that can be an example for me… Maybe even better.” Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic explained that the club’s head scout Marco Neppe had drawn attention to Nianzou a while ago and praised his versatility as a centre-back and holding midfielder, adding that flexibility and class are a focus when building a squad. The new man may have both, but he will have to impress Flick if he’s to break into this Bayern team. Joshua Kimmich, Thiago and Goretzka are already fighting for the two midfield berths, while Jerome Boateng and David Alaba are the incumbents at centre-back, with Niklas Süle coming back to fitness – and likely to return immediately – and record signing Lucas Hernandez also in the reckoning.
Nationality: Germany (5 U21 caps, 1 goal)
Position: Defensive midfielder
Signed from: Hamburg (end of loan)
Not strictly a new signing, Munich native Fein is returning from a year’s loan at Hamburg, where he impressed with his displays in Bundesliga 2. The academy graduate is now back home and a part of the Bayern first-team squad, although he faces fierce competition from the likes of Kimmich, Thiago, Goretzka and now even Nianzou.
Nationality: Brazil (61 caps, 17 goals)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Joining: Barcelona (end of loan)
Having had his season-long loan extended until the end of the UEFA Champions League finals in August, Coutinho will return to parent club Barcelona with, at the very least, a domestic double in his bags. The Brazil international scored eight goals and provided six assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances, played in four of the five DFB Cup ties and has featured in all seven European games so far.
Nationality: Croatia (88 caps, 26 goals)
Joining: Inter Milan (end of loan)
Perisic will return to Italy after August with a second German double, after his 2011/12 achievement with Dortmund, as well as a third DFB Cup to go with his 2014/15 triumph with Wolfsburg. The experienced winger played his part in Bayern’s latest title defence with four goals and three assists, meaning he had a hand in a Bundesliga goal on average every other match.
Nationality: Spain (4 U18 caps)
Joining: Real Madrid (end of loan)
The form and fitness of Benjamin Pavard meant opportunities were limited for Odriozola, who will see his six-month loan as a learning experience in his first spell abroad. The former Real Sociedad man made just four domestic appearances, and only two starts, but returns to Real Madrid with league and cup winner’s medals to go with the Spanish La Liga one that is waiting for him at home once the Champions League is completed.
Nationality: Germany (1 U20 cap)
Joining: Darmstadt (on loan)
Mai has long been seen as the next centre-back off the rank at Bayern, having come through the academy and starred for the reserves as they won promotion to and then won the third division title. The level of defensive talent in front of him means first-team opportunities are limited, so after signing a contract extension it was announced the young defender would go on loan to Bundesliga 2 side Darmstadt in search of senior playing time.