From 15-goal top scorer Robert Lewandowski to Canadian teen sensation Alphonso Davies, soccer fans should make sure they are up on these five players ahead of Bayern Munich's UEFA Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
Bayern have been in relentless form in the Champions League knock-out stages, thrashing Chelsea 7-1, Barcelona 8-2 and then Lyon 3-0 to set up a final showdown with PSG. Most of Hansi Flick's all-star cast would be fit for a World XI, but perhaps these are the players you should do your homework on soonest if you haven't seen the Red machine in action already…
Country: Poland (112 caps/61 goals)
Key stat: Top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals
France Football may have decided not to run the Ballon d'Or this season after the coronavirus-enforced interruption in play, but that doesn't mean that Lewandowski isn't still the greatest striker on the planet.
Watch: How Lewandowski has become the world's best No.9
The Poland captain has been in breathtaking form for Bayern. He top-scored in the Bundesliga with 34 goals; in the DFB Cup with six, and his 15 in Europe leave him with five more than next-most Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, with one more game left to play. Bayern have secured a league and cup double, and could yet make that a treble if Lewandowski has his shooting boots on in Lisbon.
Knowledge to impress your friends with: Lewandowski's wife Anna is a karate world champion and nutritionist, who helps ensure Robert the Body stays in peak physical condition despite his 32 years. Former Bayern women's player Gina Lewandowski, now of Sky Blue FC in New Jersey, is no relation.
This time last year, Davies was a promising winger hoping to make a good impression with Bayern's second string and maybe build upon his six substitute appearances for the first team following his January 2019 arrival from Vancouver Whitecaps. Now, the young Canadian is making a pretty solid claim to be considered the best left-back in the world.
Lightning fast, Davies can join an attack from deep or race back to cover danger. Described by teammate Thomas Müller as the "FC Bayern Road Runner", he blew Achraf Hakimi's speed record out of the water on the June day that Bayern secured the title with a 1-0 win at Werder Bremen, and his game has also come on leaps and bounds quite aside from his physical attributes.
Knowledge to impress your friends with: Davies beat three markers before assisting Joshua Kimmich for the fifth goal in Bayern's 8-2 destruction of Barcelona. Lionel Messi - arguably the greatest player of all-time and Davies' childhood hero - even refused to swap jerseys after the game. If that's not vindication of his talent, then bundesliga.com is not sure what is.
Position: Attacking midfielder/Raumdeuter
Country: Germany (100 caps/38 goals)
Key stat: Most assists ever in a Bundesliga season (21)
If Lewandowski is Bayern's main goalscorer then the primary source of assists is undoubtedly Müller. James Rodriguez and Philippe Coutinho were signed on loan in consecutive years, but local boy Müller has brushed off the competition just as easily as he does opposition defenders, and ended last season with 21 Bundesliga assists, surpassing the record of 19 set by Manchester City's former Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.
Watch: All of Müller's goals and assists in 2019/20
Müller has never been the fastest or most skilful player, but he is a good few seconds ahead of every other person on the field with his speed of thought. If PSG leave too much space between their defence and midfield, Müller could well be the key to Bayern unlocking yet another impressive European victory.
Knowledge to impress your friends with: Müller practically invented his position. "No.10s", "False 9s", "attacking midfielders", "playmakers" - all have been used to describe players in the final third who aren't the out and out centre-forward. Müller never really fit snugly into any of those boxes, though, so he defined his role himself. "Ich bin ein Raumdeuter," he explained some years ago. "I'm an interpreter of space." Now a selectable role in the Football Manager video game series, many have tried to emulate Müller's game, but none have quite managed.
Country: Germany (92 caps)
Key stat: 21 clean sheets in all competitions
It's oft said that Neuer invented the sweeper-keeper role. Whilst that might not be doing Hungary legend Gyula Grosics - or, later, Bruce Grobbelaar or Rene Higuita - sufficient justice, it is fair to say that the Bayern and Germany captain was the first to hone it to perfection. The key is that Neuer, even at 34, remains absolutely world class with or without the ball. With it, he can ping a pass to a teammate with his hands or feet; without it, he can race off his line and diffuse an opposition attack.
A leader from the back, Neuer is also capable of the traditional goalkeeper's job of making saves. He stopped 84 shots on his goal in the Bundesliga last season - something that requires supreme levels of concentration given how little time Bayern actually spend defending.
Knowledge to impress your friends with: Neuer founded the Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation in 2010, providing underprivileged children in his native Gelsenkirchen with meals, clothing and training; and has been recognised with the North Rhine-Westphalian Order of Merit for his services to that cause. Whether he is quite so generous to Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on Sunday is another matter entirely.
Country: Germany (13 caps/13 goals)
Key stat: 9 goals in last 9 Champions League games
Last but most definitely not least is Gnabry. Lewandowski leads the line but he is in good company for goal-getting. Just look at Gnabry's numbers - as many goals scored as games played for Germany all-time and in the Champions League this season! A vibrant attacking player who tends to line up on the wing either side of Lewy and Müller, Gnabry's pace with the ball and ability to shoot with either foot is nigh-on impossible to contain.
English Premier League followers might remember Gnabry from his ill-fated spells at Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion, but he has been tearing it up in the Bundesliga for some time now. The first player to score in double figures across three different seasons for three different clubs, Gnabry has built on the promise shown at Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim to become one of the very best players in the league, and indeed the world, at Bayern.
Knowledge to impress your friends with: Gnabry's goal celebration - where he makes a gesture stirring a dish of hot food - is in homage to NBA legend James Harden, the Houston Rockets shooting guard. "There's a video on YouTube where he's 'cooking' after dropping a buzzer-beater and won the game," Gnabry explained. At the rate Gnabry's scoring, you can expect him to cook up another storm on Sunday.