Franck Ribery (r.) has played a huge part in David Alaba's (l.) footballing education at Bayern
Franck Ribery (r.) has played a huge part in David Alaba's (l.) footballing education at Bayern

The Master and his apprentice

Munich - FC Bayern Munich kept their side of the bargain on Matchday 11 with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, during which full-back David Alaba and winger Franck Ribery laid their claim to being one of the most devastating left-wing partnerships in the Bundesliga - and possibly Europe.

Young grasshopper

Praise poured in after both got their names on the scoresheet against Frankfurt, but what is it that makes the left-wing tandem so effective?

"The main thing is that I gave it a go," said Alaba after tucking away a 77th-minute spot kick on Saturday afternoon. The fact he was first on the list of penalty takers in such a big game just goes to show how highly Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes and his team-mates rate the 2011 Austrian Footballer of the Year.

Ribery, in particular, holds a particular affinity for the 20-year-old after taking him under his wing back in 2009. "If he doesn’t move the ball quickly enough, of course I tell him, but I always stay positive. It’s important that he hears that," said the Frenchman following last season's UEFA Champions League semi-final win over Real Madrid.

Banter abound

The duo’s rapport extends beyond the field of play with the mischievous pair in fine form during their post-match interview after the Eintracht win. "We know how good [Ribery] is," said Alaba, giving his fidgeting mentor a playful clip round the ear. "I think we all know what an incredible player he is," he continued, before feeling Ribery’s palm-shaped retort.

Such a relationship can only be good for Bayern with their telepathic understanding too much for Real Madrid last April and again against Frankfurt on Saturday. Ribery touched the ball 88 times at the weekend, completing 87.4 per cent of his 55 passes, while Alaba found the mark with 90 per cent of his 52 attempts.

Europe's finest?

Posting such impressive numbers, it is no wonder they are being talked up as Europe's best left-sided partnership. Indeed, as long as the two can stay injury-free, we are only going to see bigger and better things from the left-wing wizards, with Ribery enjoying arguably his finest season to date and still with so much to offer his protégé.

Notable predecessors Bixente Lizarazu and Hasan Salihamidzic set tongues wagging as die Rekordmeister notched an historic Bundesliga and Champions League double back in 2001; 2013 might just be the year Alaba and Ribery ensure their places as part of Bayern's left-sided alumni in years to come.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge in Munich