Munich - FC Bayern München's domestic dominance combined with Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph has led to no fewer than six members of the record champions' squad being named on a 23-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014.
Five world stars
The list also includes Toni Kroos, who was key to FC Bayern's victory in four competitions in 2014, as well as Germany's ultimate triumph in Brazil.
The list, which is filled to over a quarter by stars plying their trade in Bavaria, includes the FIFPro World Goalkeeper of the Year for 2013,
as well as Bayern captain
, who retired from the international game after lifting the World Cup trophy aloft at the Maracana.
, scorer of the winning goal in the Rio de Janeiro final, and the tournament's second-highest scorer
are also unsurprisingly on the shortlist, which is completed by
and the wing wizard
, both so instrumental in recent triumphs for Bayern.
Bayern lead the way
Kroos, who moved to Real Madrid CF, is one of six representatives from the Spanish club, who match Bayern for candidates on the list. FC Barcelona provide four and Chelsea FC three for an award which was won by Cristiano Ronaldo last year, ahead of
. The Frenchman has paid for missing the World Cup through injury by missing out on the shortlist this year. Meanwhile, FC Bayern coach Pep Guardiola is on the ten-man shortlist for Coach of the Year, together with Germany's Joachim Löw.
On 1 December, the list of 23 will be reduced to just three candidates with a vote conducted among national team coaches and captains, as well as a selection of journalists, to determine the overall winner at a ceremony in Zürich on 12 January.