Are Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng (l.) and Mats Hummels (r.) - along with Niklas Süle - the world's best centre-back trio? - © © imago
Are Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng (l.) and Mats Hummels (r.) - along with Niklas Süle - the world's best centre-back trio? - © © imago

Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Niklas Süle - do Bayern Munich have the world's best centre-back trio?

In Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Niklas Süle, Bayern Munich boast "three world-class centre-backs" according to boss Niko Kovac himself.

Bayern Munich:Jerome Boateng,Mats Hummels,Niklas Süle compares the German champions' awesome threesome with their European rivals and wonders whether the Bundesliga title holders have the best by (centre-)half…

Combined age: 82 (30+29+23)

International caps: 152 (74+66+12)

Is there a more complementary trio in world football than the men Kovac has at his disposal? Boateng provides athleticism and an ability to hit long passes, Hummels oozes grace and style in his game as well as being adept at bringing the ball out. Süle is the perfect foil for both. Why? The former Hoffenheim man can do it all.

"We have three world-class centre-backs," Kovac said recently when it was reported that Boateng could be leaving the club. "I would be happy to still have these three players [at the end of the transfer window] and that no-one else leaves," the Bayern boss added, though he does now have the headache-provoking conundrum of how to fit three centre-backs into two slots in his side.

Watch: Will their tremendous trio help Bayern make it a magnificent seven?


Kovac has found the answer to be rotation so far, switching Hummels and Süle in Bayern's two league matches which have seen just a single goal conceded. And importantly, his players seem happy too with the reality of a three-pronged challenge on the home and European front requiring a change in personnel to keep everyone fresh.

"I hope he uses squad rotation throughout the season," Hummels explained. "There will always be players injured or suspended. We have games every three days between now and Christmas pretty much. So we need a big and quality squad and rotation. And that also includes me."

- © gettyimages / Catherine Ivill

Manchester City: Vincent Kompany, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte

Combined age: 80 (32+24+24)

International caps: 116 (83+33+0)

While Bayern's three are all full internationals, the champions of England have yet to see Laporte pull on the colours of his country at senior level, but City do have the vastly experienced Kompany to compensate partly.

- © gettyimages / Alexander Hassenstein

Barcelona: Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet

Combined age: 78 (31+24+23)

International caps: 129 (103+26+0)

Two World Cup winners patrol at the heart of the Barca back four just as they do at Bayern, though while Boateng and Hummels are equals, Pique is very much the senior figure.

Umtiti is no greenhorn though. The former Lyon defender has just entered his third season at Camp Nou, and given the progress he has made so far in Catalonia, he is only likely to improve still further with this summer's success with France in Russia to shore up his self-belief.

- © gettyimages / Michael Regan

Paris Saint-Germain: Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe

Combined age: 80 (33+24+23)

International caps: 108 (77+28+3)

PSG find themselves in a similar position to Barcelona with one figure dominating their back line. Thiago Silva may no longer bear the unofficial title of 'the world's best defender', but the Brazilian, nicknamed 'O Mostro' (The Monster), remains a formidable barrier to opposing forwards.

With his age advancing, however, Silva is increasingly likely to pass the mantle to Marquinhos, who has replaced his compatriot as PSG captain at times.

- © gettyimages / Javier Soriano

Juventus: Leonardo Bonucci, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini

Combined age: 96 (31+31+34)

International caps: 236 (81+58+97)

The Bianconeri's BBC have been a permanent feature of their seven successive Serie A titles, though this season — like last — there is a slight change in personnel.

Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho

Combined age: 85 (32+25+28)

International caps: 225 (156+50+19)

Two more FIFA World Cup winners are first-choice for the European champions with Varane's coolness and ability on the ball contrasting nicely with the undying will-to-win of Ramos.

The Spain international, who was a Dani Alves-esque right-back at the start of his career, remains one of the game's most ferocious competitors — just ask Liverpool's Mo Salah! — and has been a driving force behind Real's three successive UEFA Champions League triumphs.