Max Eberl's five best signings prior to Bayern Munich job


Bayern Munich's new board member for sport Max Eberl spent 17 years turning Foals into thoroughbreds at Borussia Mönchengladbach before his brief stint at RB Leipzig.

Bayern appoint Max Eberl as board member for sport!

One of Germany's pre-eminent management figures, signing Eberl to help recruit the next big thing is a shrewd move on Bayern's part. From unearthing Marco Reus' talent at Gladbach to persuading Xavi Simons to turn down a host of clubs to sign on loan for Leipzig, his eye for a transfer is impressive, to say the least.

bundesliga.com looks at five of his best signings to date…

5) Juan Arango

Juan Arango might have an argument for being No.1 on this list, such was his impact at Gladbach after joining from Real Mallorca as a relative unknown in Germany back in 2009.

Lucien Favre, the head coach at the time, admitted to having his doubts, but Arango soon set about dispelling them. His Bundesliga debut goal against Bochum would be the first of 31, mostly spectacular, strikes over the next four seasons.

Watch: Juan Arango's Top 5 goals

He also contributed 57 assists in his time at Gladbach, and by the time he left for Tijuana before concluding his career with the New York Cosmos, Favre was describing him as "the best left-footed footballer in the world." 

4) Loïs Openda

Eberl spent a relatively brief spell at Leipzig and Loïs Openda has had accordingly less time to make an impact in German football than some of the Gladbach players among this selection, but his impact has nonetheless been pronounced.

Openda has contributed 16 goals and four assists in his first 23 Bundesliga appearances - giving him a goal-involvement of one every 93.4 minutes he has played - and found the target against the toughest of opponents in Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.

Xavi Simons (l.) and Loïs Openda (r.) have both made a quick impact at RB Leipzig. - IMAGO/Laci Perenyi

The Belgium international fired Lens back into the UEFA Champions League in 2022/23 after a 21-year hiatus with 21 league goals, and he was in high demand in summer 2023. His signing was a coup for Eberl.

3) Xavi

The second of two Leipzig players in the illustrious group of five, Xavi just about had his pick of European teams to play for after re-signing for Paris Saint-Germain in July 2023. The French champions made it clear they were open to a loan despite him coming off the back of a 19-goal, nine-assist season with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Xavi chose Leipzig, and tallied six goals and seven assists in his first 23 Bundesliga games. "I already feel at home here and I'm having a great time," the Dutch youngster named after the Barcelona great said earlier in 2023/24. "I hope to be successful with the club and make my mark here."

Watch: Xavi wins January Goal of the Month!

Already well on the way to doing just that, Eberl reiterated head coach Marco Rose's desire to make the move permanent before he left the Red Bull Arena in September 2023.

2) Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka might be most renowned for being the one-time Arsenal captain, but the Switzerland international really came of age at Borussia-Park after arriving from Basel in 2012.

Initially a raw midfielder with a hot-headed reputation, he matured into a veritable midfield general in Germany, and was wearing the armband for Gladbach by the time he left for the Gunners in 2016.

Granit Xhaka made 140 appearances for Gladbach before leaving for Arsenal in 2016. - Bongarts/Getty Images

"We're losing a very, very good player, but the agreed transfer fee provides us with the opportunity to make sensible additions to our squad," Eberl explained at the time. "It's about value."

Xhaka is now back in the Bundesliga with Leverkusen, who are top of the league with him pulling the strings.

1) Marco Reus

Now a Borussia Dortmund legend and their record scorer in the Champions League, it seems difficult to believe that Die Schwarzgelben released Reus when he was 16.

Thankfully, he didn't throw in the towel. After working his way back up through the ranks of Rot Weiss Ahlen - scoring four Bundesliga 2 goals in his breakthrough campaign in 2008/09 - the fleet-footed attacker was picked up by Gladbach.

"I remember how Hans Meyer asked me about signing Marco Reus," Eberl recalled. "'Max, don't you think 800,000 euros for a Bundesliga 2 player who's scored four goals is a lot of money?'

Watch: Reus, a modern-day legend

"If a Hans Meyer says something like that, then you could be unsure. But I was totally convinced by Marco. My gut told me that we would buy potential here, even if it was a lot of money for Gladbach at that time."

And so it proved. Reus's stock grew exponentially at Gladbach, whom he helped steer clear of relegation in 2011 before firing them to a fourth-placed finish 12 months later.

The Foals reluctantly cashed in on their prized asset that summer, as Reus returned to hometown club Dortmund, 36 goals better off - his transformation from skinny BVB outcast to Bundesliga megastar complete.