Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti is renowned as a coach who puts his faith in experience – his average team in 2016/17 had an average age of 29 on the final day of the campaign – with Arturo Vidal joining Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer in passing his 30th birthday two days after the title celebrations.
Robbery – Robben and fellow wing wizard Franck Ribery – completed 3,070 minutes with a combined age of 67; CoCo – Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa – managed just 2,286 despite having chalked up 20 fewer years between them.
Thomas Müller and David Alaba are the last remnants of the most recent generation promoted from Säbener Strasse to the Bayern first-team, and they were given their debuts by Louis van Gaal back in August 2008 and March 2010 respectively.
Watch: Take a closer look at Bayern's up-and-coming stars
That’s not to say Bayern couldn’t dip into their next generation if they wanted to. bundesliga.com takes a look at a star-studded XI who would still have been eligible for this summer’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship…
Date of Birth: 28 January 2000
Früchtl might have quite some task in trying to displace Neuer from the Bayern first team, but he does have a 14-year head-start on the world’s number one. Six foot two tall since the age of 15, Früchtl remains the youngest player ever to take part in a Bayern training camp, having travelled to Doha with the first-team squad under Pep Guardiola in January 2016. A keen saxophone and clarinet player, Früchtl will have ample chance to put his hands to other uses this summer, with only the recently retired Tom Starke for company on Bayern’s International Champions Cup conquest in Asia.
Date of Birth: 3 September 1995
Fans of the X-Men would be entitled to suspect Süle of mutant tendencies on perusal of his stats from last season: Only 16 fouls committed in 33 games; an 89 per cent pass completion percentage – one fewer than new teammate and league leader Thiago; a top speed of 21.6 miles per hour; all whilst standing at a hulking six foot four tall. The backbone of the last undefeated team in Europe’s five major leagues in 2016/17 – it is little wonder Bayern moved to guarantee the recent Germany international’s signature from Hoffenheim as early as January.
Watch: Süle: Bayern's new prototype centre-back
Date of Birth: 11 February 1998
You may recognise the name: Felix Götze is the younger brother of Germany’s FIFA World Cup winner Mario. Genes they share, though the two have a radically different footballing DNA. Where Mario is an attacking midfielder, Felix’s job is to stop his brother’s ilk at the other end of the pitch. A natural left-footer who has also played left-back and defensive midfield, Götze has progressed into a ball-playing centre-back who took the winning penalty when Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund to the Under-19 Bundesliga title in May. A pro contract tying him to Bayern until 2019 soon followed.
Date of Birth: 16 March 1998
Austrian: check. Left-footed: check. A talented free-kick taker: check. Alaba also has a “younger brother”, although this one is from a different mother. Friedl joined the academy in the summer of 2008 at the same time as Alaba, with the older player taking his protégé under his wing both on and off the pitch. “Friedl is like a little brother to me,” confirms Alaba, who has gone on to claim six Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown since graduating in 2010. “If he stays so determined, he can do it too.”
Date of Birth: 18 August 1997
Position: Central midfielder
Seventeen Bundesliga outings – six of them starts – were perhaps not the return Renato Sanches was hoping for following his Portuguese record transfer from Benfica last summer, but Sanches remains one of the game’s hottest properties. The youngest ever European champion when he helped Portugal to the title in France last year – outshining Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the tournament in the process – Sanches has understandably kept the faith. “[Being at Bayern] is going to help me a lot,” he says. “Who wouldn’t want to play for Bayern? They’re one of the best teams in the world, if not the best.” Currently on loan at Swansea for the 2017/18 season, the experience could prove priceless when he returns to the Bavarian capital next summer.
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Date of Birth: 15 January 1998
Position: Defensive midfielder
“Niklas has all the qualities of a central midfielder,” says former Germany youth coach Marcel Lucassen “When he picks up possession he already knows where he’s going to send the ball. This is a rare quality, and in his position, indispensable.” High praise indeed – and Dorsch, it seems, has the requisite steel to go with the silk. He broke his leg in May 2015 and was back playing that September. The 19-year-old boasts a tattoo which is a German translation of NFL great Jerry Rice's “Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't”. It would seem the sentiment runs more than just skin deep…
Date of Birth: 3 August 1994
Position: Central midfielder
A Swiss army knife of a midfielder, Tolisso already has north of 100 appearances under his belt for Lyon in France’s Ligue 1. “I like to play in midfield, in front of the defence,” he explains. “I like having the game in front of me, and I have greater qualities for that role. That being said, I also like playing further up as a No. 8, because it allows me to get forward and score goals. I really like scoring.” Fourteen strikes in all competitions for OL last season suggests that Tolisso’s abilities and ambitions match up rather closely. The oldest player of this collection at 22, expect to see Tolisso given plenty of minutes at the Allianz Arena next season, although the France international may have to settle for plugging the Alonso-shaped gap in front of the back four…
Date of Birth: 13 June 1996
Position: Right winger
The fastest player on Bayern’s books, Coman has been clocked running at 21.7 m/ph. Coman came out of the blocks flying in his first season after signing from Juventus with four goals and six assists. He was restricted to 10 starts last term, though – in part due to injury. On making his loan from the Italian champions permanent in May, Coman said: “I'm not a kid here to watch - I'm here to play and win.” Already the owner of league titles from France, Italy and Germany, Coman will hope for more minutes next year – Ancelotti made Coman Paris Saint-Germain’s youngest ever debutant when he blooded him at the age of 16 years, eight months and four days in 2013 after all…
Date of Birth: 14 July 1995
Having refined his craft at VfB Stuttgart – alongside Kimmich – before a stint at Arsenal, Gnabry exploded onto the scene in his maiden Bundesliga season, helping Werder Bremen to an eighth-place finish with a goal every 97 minutes. He also scored six goals in six games as Germany’s Under-23s won Olympic Silver last summer, as well as snatching a hat-trick on his debut for Die Nationalmannschaft. He may currently be on loan at Hoffenheim, but Gnabry’s ability to find the target from anywhere in the final third suggests that he might have a role to play for Bayern sooner rather than later.
Watch: Gnabry's Top 5 Bundesliga goals!
Date of Birth: 5 June 1998
Position: Attacking midfielder
A playmaker with a wicked left foot, Benko has been on Bayern’s radar since the age of seven. A race for his international allegiance didn’t take much longer, with the Munich-born youngster swapping the Germany Under-17s for their Croatian equivalents in time for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup – in which his parents’ country of birth reached the quarter-finals. Still eligible for Bayern’s Under-19s, Benko featured in 32 of Bayern Munich II’s 34 games in the Regionalliga last term. “We’re convinced of his quality,” Guardiola once said. The Catalan coach, it would seem, is not alone.