Jonathan Schmid, Johan Micoud, Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman and Bixente Lizarazu are among the standout French nationals to play in the Bundesliga. - © DFL
Jonathan Schmid, Johan Micoud, Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman and Bixente Lizarazu are among the standout French nationals to play in the Bundesliga. - © DFL

From Bixente Lizarazu to Kingsley Coman: The best French Players in Bundesliga history

Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Kingsley Coman and Corentin Tolisso could all be on the pitch when France open their UEFA Euro 2020 campaign against Germany. Ahead of the headline Group F clash, shines a light on some of the finest Frenchmen to grace the German top flight...

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Franck Ribery (2007 - 2019)
Bundesliga appearances: 273

Franck Ribery helped himself to 86 goals and 120 assists in 273 Bundesliga games over 12 seasons at Bayern. He collected over 21 titles in that time, and to this day ranks as the highest scoring French national in German top-flight history. The 2012/13 campaign was arguably peak Ribery, the former Marseille winger orchestrating Bayern's historic treble of Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup. He was named UEFA's Best Player in 2013, only to be robbed of the Ballon d'Or after finishing behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the final poll. The legendary Bayern No.7 is still going strong in Italy with Fiorentina, at 38.

Watch: Franck Ribery - 12 years at Bayern Munich, 12 goals

Kingsley Coman (2015 - present)
BL apps: 137

Ribery supplied the match-winning assist for Arjen Robben in the 2012/13 all-German Champions League final triumph over Borussia Dortmund. Long-term successor Coman stuck away the decisive goal against boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain seven years later to put the seal on the third part of an unprecedented sextuple. Despite various career-threatening injury set-backs, he's lifted seven successive Bundesliga titles, continuing his ridiculous record of winning the league in each of his nine seasons as a pro with PSG, Juventus and Bayern. The 2020/21 season marked a personal best in terms of combined goals (five) and assists (12) for a player who feels like he's been around forever, but at 25 still has his peak years to come.

Benjamin Pavard (2019 - present)
BL apps: 119

Pavard was an integral part of Bayern's sextuple-winning troupe, two years after getting his hands on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He came to the fore playing at the heart of VfB Stuttgart's defence, experiencing the highs of promotion to the Bundesliga and the lows of an immediate relegation to Bundesliga 2, but the former Lille youth academy prospect is mostly used on the right-hand side of the Bayern back four. The two-time Bundesliga winner - who was a virtual unknown in his homeland until relatively recently - went 16 senior internationals before tasting defeat, while he has only been on the losing side six times in 56 top-flight appearances for record champions Bayern.

Lucas Hernandez (2019 - present)
BL apps: 42

Hernandez has much in common with Pavard. As well as winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles with Bayern and the World Cup with France, the former Atletico Madrid defender is a victim of his own versatility - not that it has had an effect on his performances. Until February 2021, the left-sided defender - happy in the middle or out wide - held the distinction of having never lost a single one of his first 32 Bundesliga appearances. Even now, one defeat in 44 outings is hardly a record to be scoffed at. He's weighed in with four assists to go with his four across 110 games for Atleti - a maiden Bundesliga goal cannot be all that far away for the 25-time France international.

Lucas Hernandez (1st.l), Benjamin Pavard (2nd.l) and Kingsley Coman (1st.r) were among five Frenchman involved in Bayern's 2019/20 treble win. - MIGUEL A. LOPES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Johan Micoud (2002 - 2006)
BL apps: 123

Hernandez was still in elementary school when Johan Micoud orchestrated Werder Bremen's memorable 2003/04 Bundesliga-DFB Cup double. Le Chef (the Chief) chipped Oliver Kahn as Werder claimed their first league title in 19 years in, of all places, Munich. The French midfielder was also on target in every round, bar the final, in the cup. It marked his only season of four in the Bundesliga in which he reached double figures for goals, but the former Bordeaux and Parma playmaker did split 16 strikes evenly over his final two top-flight campaigns in Germany, whilst setting up 23 more. He retired in 2008 following a stint back at Bordeaux, before becoming club president at hometown club Cannes.

Johan Micoud played second fiddle to Zinedine Zidane for France, but took centre stage at Werder Bremen. - Getty Images

Bixente Lizarazu (1997 - 2006)
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Bixente Lizarazu left Bayern on the back of Bremen's Micoud-inspired title triumph, only to return for one final 18-month stint six months later. By that time, the pocket-rocket of a left-back had lifted the 1998 World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship with France. When he bid au revoir to Munich, he did so as a six-time Bundesliga, five-time DFB Cup and Champions League winner. Although not the first French player to pull on the famous red jersey - that honour goes to Jean-Pierre Papin - the now TV pundit takes a big slice of the credit for starting Bayern's love affair with France.

Willy Sagnol (2000 - 2009)
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Operating on the opposite flank of the Bayern defence to Lizarazu, Willy Sagnol left a similarly lasting impression. He quickly became a fan favourite in the Bavarian capital, contributing to five Bundesliga titles, four DFB Cups and a Champions League final triumph across a nine-year spell ended by a crippling Achilles injury. Very much the modern full-back, he also produced 38 Bundesliga assists, averaging five per season. The 58-time France international returned to Bayern in a coaching capacity in 2017, working as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant and, fleetingly, the Italian's interim successor.

Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol (l-r.) celebrated many a Bundesliga title win atop the balcony of Munich's town hall. - imago/Sammy Minkoff

Valerien Ismael (2003 - 2009)
BL apps: 113

Valerien Ismael also crossed the white line, but not before winning successive Bundesliga-DFB Cup doubles. His first fell alongside Micoud at Bremen; his second in the same Bayern team as Lizarazu and Sagnol. Injury prevented further successes, limiting the central defender to only one first-team league outing over the entire 2006/07 campaign and 2007/08 Hinrunde. Following 18 appearances for Bundesliga rivals Hannover and further physical torment, the former France youth international was forced into retirement at 33. An ensuing coaching career has taken in spells with Nuremberg, the Wolfsburg reserves and seniors, Greece's Apollon Smyrnis, Austrian outfit LASK and current employers Barnsley of the English Championship.

Jonathan Schmid (2011- present)
BL apps:

Jonathan Schmid's body has been a lot kinder to him since making his Bundesliga debut for Freiburg on 22 January 2011. The Strasbourg native has gone on to enjoy 10 full seasons of top tier football in Germany, representing Hoffenheim and Augsburg before returning to the Black Forest club where it all began in time for 2019/20. On Matchday 25 of the 2020/21 campaign, the right-sided specialist made a milestone 274th outing to overtake Ribery as the French player with the most Bundesliga appearances. "Only the best can achieve that," said the former record-holder in a video message to Freiburg's long-serving Frenchman, who has had a direct hand in 78 goals in his 283 Bundesliga matches to date.

Matthieu Delpierre (2004 - 2014)
BL apps: 185

Former Hoffenheim and Stuttgart defender Matthieu Delpierre is third on the Bundesliga's all-time appearance list for French players. He moved from Lille to the Cannstadt club, à la Pavard, in summer 2004, making the rump of his 185 Bundesliga appearances for the 2006/07 champions, including a personal-best 33 out of a possible 34 during their title-winning campaign. The Nancy-born defender's last station on German soil was Hoffenheim in 2012/13. After representing Utrecht in Holland and winning the A-League with Melbourne Victory, he hung up his playing boots in summer 2016.