FIFA World Cup winners Benjamin Pavard and Corentin Tolisso are two of the Bundesliga's most prominent French imports right now, but they are not the first to add their je ne sais quoi to the German top flight.

The VfB Stuttgart defender and Bayern Munich midfielder are likely to feature when the reigning world champions face the team they deposed from the top of the world game in Munich on Thursday.

The duo are part of a strong 2018/19 French contingent — third in size to only Germany and Austria — that will seek to build on the ooh la la legacy of their compatriots. has picked out five of the most magnifique Frenchman to have been (Eiffel) towers of strength in the Bundesliga.

Franck Ribery

Club(s): Bayern Munich
Bundesliga apps: 250

"For me and my family, Munich has felt like home for a long time," said Ribery, born in northern France, brilliant as a footballer at Bayern. He moved to Germany from Marseille in 2007 with promise, but surely few could have guessed he would deliver so spectacularly on it. Now 35, he has played more games for the record Bundesliga champions than any other foreign-born player, knocking current sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic off that particular perch last season. Eight Bundesliga titles, five DFB cups, the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League, 80 goals, 118 assists in a record 250 league appearances… Kaiser Franck's reign has been a glorious one.

Watch: A decade of Franck Ribery in the Bundesliga

Matthieu Delpierre

Club(s): Stuttgart, Hoffenheim
Bundesliga apps: 187

Matthieu who?!? The former Stuttgart and Hoffenheim man is the Pavard of his time, almost literally. Like France's freshly crowned FIFA World Cup winner, Delpierre started his career at Lille but — unlike Pavard — actually managed to establish himself in the northerners' first team. The 6'4" (1.93m) defender then joined Stuttgart in 2004, and in eight years at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena recorded one of the club's most notable successes: playing in all but one of the 34 Bundesliga matches that saw Armin Veh's 'jungen Wilden' — the youngest squad in the league — lift the 2006/07 title. After a 2012 move to Hoffenheim, 18 frustrating months followed for the Nancy-born man, who — incredibly — never won a single senior international cap for his country.

Matthieu Delpierre spent a decade in the Bundesliga, winning the Bundesliga title with Stuttgart in 2007. © imago

Johan Micoud

Club(s): Werder Bremen
Bundesliga apps: 123

If Zinedine Zidane had not existed, Micoud would have been THE France playmaker of the 1990s. Like the man who would mean he picked up just a measly number of caps — 17 to be exact — Micoud started at Cannes and then joined Bordeaux. 'Le Chef' (the chef) prepared with Parma what he would cook up so deliciously with Werder Bremen during a four-year spell at the Weser Stadium. His telepathic understanding with Ailton and Ivan Klasnic gave Thomas Schaaf's side a potent spearhead that fired them to the Bundesliga/DFB Cup double in 2003/04.

Johan Micoud scored 31 goals in 123 Bundesliga appearances for Werder Bremen. © imago

Jonathan Schmid

Club(s): Freiburg, Hoffenheim, Augsburg
Bundesliga apps: 193

Yes, he's French. But you can forgive yourself for not knowing. Though born in Strasbourg, the Augsburg midfielder has never played professionally in his native country, joining Freiburg — an hour's drive from his home town — to start his career in 2008. A season-long spell at Hoffenheim followed Freiburg's relegation in 2015 before he joined Augsburg a year later where he continues to accumulate Bundesliga appearances, a category in which he is second only to Ribery among his compatriots. And he still remains a Frenchman at heart. "The national team plays a big role for us," he explained. "And when Didier Deschamps' men play, all the French are up for it, including me."

Augsburg's Jonathan Schmid is closing in on a milestone 200th Bundesliga outing. © imago

Bixente Lizarazu

Club(s): Bayern Munich
Bundesliga apps: 183

Fellow Frenchman Willy Sagnol made one more Bundesliga appearance for Bayern than 'Liza', but the Basque-born left-back enjoyed greater worldwide recognition as part of the France side that lifted the 1998 FIFA World Cup and won UEFA EURO 2000. Sagnol had Lilian Thuram ahead of him at right-back… In his short second spell at Bayern, Lizarazu would eventually have to make way for a certain Philipp Lahm, but he had already earned his place in the club's pantheon with six Bundesliga titles, five DFB Cups and the 2000/01 Champions League.

Bixente Lizarazu lifted six Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich between 1998 and 2006. © imago

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