The torch is set pass to Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman, Woo-yeong Jeong (l-r.) when Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery end their decorated association with Bayern Munich. - © Getty images/ DFL
The torch is set pass to Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman, Woo-yeong Jeong (l-r.) when Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery end their decorated association with Bayern Munich. - © Getty images/ DFL

Serge Gnabry, Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman, Woo-yeong Jeong: Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery's successors at Bayern Munich?


The winds of change are beginning to blow at Bayern Munich, with Arjen Robben already confirming the 2018/19 season will be his last at the club. Franck Ribery - 36 in April - could follow suit in the not too distant future, but who will succeed Bayern's kings of the wing?

Just as Game of Thrones obsessives ponder which success-crazed protagonist might end up on the Iron Throne in the impending series finale, runs the rule over the next in line to the greatest wing duo in football history...

Kingsley Coman (22)

Lightning-quick, good with both feet and a maker and taker of chances, Kingsley Coman is a prime long-term candidate to fill one of the voids.

The France international is a right-footer in the Ribery mould, but happily performs with equal pizazz on either flank. He's delivered in the Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup - and has an incredible record of having won league titles in three countries, in every single season he has played as a professional, starting with Paris Saint-Germain in 2012/13.

The only question-mark over Coman the Bavarian's ability to uphold Robbery's golden standard is his chequered injury history. Since joining Bayern from Juventus in 2015, he has missed over 60 matches in all competitions, and has already said another serious ligament tear - ankle, knee or other - could force him into early retirement.

If he can stay fit, however, Bayern will be laughing.

"We're a completely different proposition when Kingsley plays," said Bayern coach Niko Kovac towards the end of 2018, following Coman's return from a second bout of left ankle surgery. "He gives us another dimension."

Kingsley Coman already has approaching four seasons of first-team football at Bayern under his belt. - Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Serge Gnabry (23)

Serge Gnabry makes another strong claim, despite being only halfway into his first full season as a Bayern player.

The former Arsenal youngster has lined up on the right in place of Robben, on the left in the absence of Ribery and through the middle for Germany. And while perhaps not a winger in the truest sense of the word, the barreling right-footer does possess the potent cocktail of pace, power and directness to make opposition defenders go weak at the knees.

Add to that his budding, albeit telepathic, understanding with right-back Joshua Kimmich, and Bayern have the makings of another devastating pairing on their hands, not too dissimilar to David Alaba and Ribery on the opposite flank.

The manner in which he gave Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi the runaround in Der Klassiker earlier this season is evidence enough of his breakneck abilities as a wide man.

"Serge has been playing brilliantly this season," said Germany coach Joachim Löw after watching Gnabry torment Hakimi and hit an assist in Bayern's 3-2 defeat to leaders BVB in November 2018. "He's so versatile, and is always looking to find a way through to the opposition goal. His decision to join Bayern was absolutely the right one."

Serge Gnabry (r.) scored a brace against former club Bremen earlier this season. - 2018 Getty Images

Alphonso Davies (18)

Bayern will hope the same rings true for Alphonso Davies in the months and years ahead.

Although new to the Bundesliga game, the Canada international has been playing professionally since the age of 15 in the MLS, all the while earning comparisons with none other than Robben.

"Alphonso is the fastest player in the MLS - his pace is devastating," said Davies' former Vancouver Whitecaps teammate Stefan Marinovic. "He's strong on the ball and unpredictable for opposition defenders. He's always looking to get forward. As a player, he's a bit like Robben. He's an exciting player with so much potential and will only get better. I'm sure he'll deliver at Bayern!"

The countless highlight reels on the Whitecaps' official Twitter channel attest to all the above and much more besides. His movement is considered and swift; he's a natural dribbler with a cultured left foot and plays with precocious abandon.

From Game of Thrones to Attack of the Clones, 'Kid Canada' is tailor-made for the Robben role.

Alphonso Davies joins Bayern as the most expensive player ever bought from MLS. - © FC Bayern München

Woo-yeong Jeong (19)

More Ribery than Robben, Woo-yeong Jeong has timed his run towards the first team to perfection.

After joining Bayern from Incheon United in January 2018 and turning heads with the U19s, the South Korean flier got a taste of the big time in the pre-season Intercontinental Cup against Juventus.

His appetite whetted, Jeong served up nine goals and four assists for the reserves during the first half of 2018/19, but was never far from Kovac's thoughts and, following a handful of call-ups to the first-team squad, made his competitive debut as an 81st-minute substitute in a Champions League win over Benfica in November 2018.

"This is the place to be if you want to improve," said Jeong. "I've been learning so much from Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The way they move and always look to score - they're fantastic. It drives me on to keep working hard so I can take the next steps and play more games for the first team."

An exciting, practical alternative to Messrs Coman, Gnabry and Davies, Jeong has cause for optimism. At his current rate of progression, he could one day find himself being talked about in the same breath as celebrated countrymen Heung-Min Son, Ja-Cheol Koo and Bum-Kun Cha. And who knows? Maybe even Robbery...

Woo-yeong Jeong is the first South Korean to play for Bayern Munich. - Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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