David Alaba became one of the most decorated footballers in Bundesliga history during his time at Bayern Munich. - © DFL
David Alaba became one of the most decorated footballers in Bundesliga history during his time at Bayern Munich. - © DFL
60 years of Bundesliga

David Alaba: 5 landmark moments in a star-studded, historic Bayern Munich career


David Alaba became a world-class defender during more than a decade at Bayern Munich, picking up what was then a record-breaking ten Bundesliga titles among his treasure trove of the game's major trophies.

bundesliga.com takes a look at five key moments in the Austria international's silverware-studded journey to the summit of European football across 11 years with the record German champions.

1) 6 March 2010: The debut

After making his debut as a precocious 15-year-old, Alaba had a handful of games with Austria Wien's reserve team in his native Vienna when he joined Bayern in 2008. "I got an offer from Bayern," said Alaba. "I came here and looked at everything, and knew straight away that it was the place for me." He was right, and as early as October 2008, Hermann Gerland - then the Bayern reserve-team coach - was pushing for Alaba to join the first-team squad the following season.

Watch: David Alaba's Bundesliga mixtape

He did, and made his first-team bow under Louis van Gaal in a DFB Cup game against Greuther Fürth on 10 February 2010. At the age of 17 years and 232 days, he was at that stage Bayern's youngest-ever debutant in a competitive game. Less than a month later, he made his Bundesliga debut, replacing Diego Contento for the last 17 minutes of a 1-1 draw in Cologne. Three days on, he was making his first UEFA Champions League appearance in the last 16 second-leg loss at Fiorentina, impressing despite a 3-2 defeat.

"He played very well," said former Bayern CEO and forward Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "You certainly couldn't see that it was his first start for Bayern Munich."

2) 8 May 2010: The first title

By the end of the season, Alaba had the first of six DFB Cup winner's medals as Bayern completed a domestic double. They beat Werder Bremen 4-0 in a one-sided final on 15 May 2010.

With Holger Badstuber at left-back in the starting XI and Contento on the bench in the Olympiastadion, there was no place for Alaba in the matchday squad, but his two competition appearances still earned him a medal.

Alaba had also been absent in Hertha Berlin's stadium a week earlier when Bayern wrapped up the league title with a 3-1 win over the capital club. In total, Alaba featured in just three top-flight games that season - starting two - as he covered for the injured Contento at left-back.

He actually played 23 times for Bayern's second string that term in central midfield, the position in which he had played all of his career up to that point. His boyhood idols - Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho and Jay-Jay Okocha among them - give you an idea of how he saw himself as a player growing up.

But his boss had other ideas. In fact, he was convinced of it. "He's a left-back, even if he doesn't think so himself," said Van Gaal. The Dutchman would be proven right as Alaba, like Alphonso Davies after him, was converted into one of the best full-backs the game has ever seen.

3) 25 May 2013: Treble 1.0

A sign of just how much faith Bayern had in the youngster was that he signed his first professional contract - a three-year deal - in June 2010. It wasn't the last time Alaba would put pen to paper at the Allianz Arena.

Alaba had by then had the chance to play in midfield at Bundesliga level during his loan spell at Hoffenheim in the 2010/11 Rückrunde. The 17 matches he played on loan were among 298 Bundesliga appearances he eventually racked up - with the remainder coming in the red of Bayern. 

More than the sheer number of games Alaba played for the club - 431 in all competitions - it's the legacy he left that stands out. He was an integral member of some of Bayern's most dominant teams - including the 2012/13 treble-winning side.

Watch: Bayern’s treble-winning 2012/13 season

Alaba missed the first seven league games of the season, but the team did alright without him by winning them all. He went on to make 23 appearances in the league campaign as well as 11 in the Champions League and four in the DFB Cup. With the Austrian's help, Bayern became the first German club to win all three competitions.

Alaba was suspended for the 2011/12 Champions League final that Bayern lost dramatically to Chelsea in their own stadium. He was in the starting XI a year later, however, as Jupp Heynckes' side defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in an equally thrilling finale to the European season that saw the Bundesliga duo taking over London for a day.

While Philipp Lahm and Bayern's matchwinner at Wembley, Arjen Robben, were tearing opponents apart on the right flank, Alaba - at the age of 20 - was now the side's first-choice left-back. He was teaming up profitably with his good friend, Franck Ribery, on the opposite site of the pitch.

"When I got into the first team, he was one of the first to come to me," said Alaba of his relationship with the Frenchman with whom he played for nearly a decade. "He always tried to push me on and to support me, to give me advice on how to improve in training and matches. He was always there for me, and I'll always be grateful to him for that," 

"When you're a young player and a great player like him comes to you and says, 'Sit next to me in the dressing room', and he looks after you, it's very important. I'll always be thankful to him for that. To always be hungry, that's what I learned from him. To never stop working hard."

4) 23 August 2020: Treble 2.0

The 2019/20 season will be remembered for many reasons. One of them is that Bayern did it again. Seven years after taking the treble under Heynckes, they repeated the feat with Hansi Flick in charge.

Remarkably, Flick - soon to be the new Germany coach - had started the campaign as part of Niko Kovac's backroom staff. When Kovac was removed after a slow start to the season, however, Bayern clicked into gear - and then some.

Watch: Bayern Munich's 2019/20 treble winners

Injury had meant a slow start for Alaba too, but he played all but one league game from Matchday 10 on to help Bayern claim an eighth successive Bundesliga crown, the DFB Cup by beating Bayer Leverkusen in the final, and then the ultimate prize in European club football once again. Bayern won the UEFA Champions League again courtesy of Kingsley Coman's goal against Paris Saint-Germain.

Alaba was part of a Bayern side that dropped just two points in the whole of the second half of the Bundesliga campaign, and their 1-0 defeat of PSG was part of an unprecedented 23-game winning streak. It only came to an end with their loss to Hoffenheim on Matchday 2 of the 2020/21 campaign.

While the result was the same as seven years earlier, Alaba's contribution to it was different. Occasionally used at centre-back by Pep Guardiola when the ex-Bayern boss' hand was forced by injury, Alaba was permanently established at the heart of the record German champions' rearguard by Flick.

"I still have that attacking streak in me and would like to go forward from time to time," admitted Alaba, who usually played a more attacking role for his country. "But the way the team is playing right now makes even playing in central defence a lot of fun."

5) 22 May 2021: Title number 10

Alaba was honoured with the captain's armband to mark his 400th competitive appearance for the club in the UEFA Champions League group stage game against Atletico Madrid in December 2020. Later that season he brought down the curtain on his Bayern career 17 minutes from the end of the Matchday 34 win over Augsburg.

The Bayern number 27 left the pitch in tears before lifting the Meisterschale with his teammates for the tenth time.

Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba all waved goodbye to Bayern Munich on the final day of 2020/21, with Alaba lifting his record-setting title. - DFL

"I want to say that sometimes one has to go into the unknown in order to grow a little again," he explained after it was announced he would be leaving the club for Real Madrid. "It's always hard when something comes to an end, and it's no secret that I have always felt at home here."

Alaba soon added to his massive medal haul with the La Liga title and another Champions League trophy in 2022 after helping Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the final. A serial winner is destined to succeed wherever he goes.

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