James Rodriguez's remarkable debut season in the Bundesliga has sparked debate about where the Colombian ranks as one of Bayern Munich's best ever attacking midfielders.
Given the calibre of those who have represented the record champions before him, he is in the company of greats. bundesliga.com takes a look at how the 27-year-old matches up to some of his illustrious peers.
10) Mario Basler
Mario Basler is widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, but even he admits he could and perhaps should have done more with his career. Under Giovanni Trapattoni, Basler's debut season at Bayern saw him make 27 league appearances, contributing eight goals and ten assists as they won the title for the first time in three years. His performance in the 1999 Champions League final was seemingly single-handedly set to win the trophy for Bayern, but for the most dramatic of conclusions which saw Manchester United turn the tables in stoppage time. He nevertheless left Munich with two Bundesliga crowns, and his legendary status enhanced.
James' has only been in Munich a year, but his record so far is impressive. Following his arrival on a two-year loan from Real Madrid last season, he soon started tugging away at the strings in the Bayern midfield.
The arrival of Jupp Heynckes – seen initially as a potential impediment to the progress of a man wanted so dearly by his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti – turned out to be a catalyst to even greater performances as the experienced tactician found an even more productive role for the Colombian. The result was seven goals and 11 assists, a regular place in the Bayern starting XI and a Bundesliga title – a fine start to life in Bavaria.
Watch: Relive James' stunning first season at Bayern
Michael Ballack scored 44 Bundesliga goals for Bayern, from 107 outings, while he supplied 30 assists in a four-year spell which saw him win the league and DFB Cup three times and go down as one of the Bundesliga's greatests, not only with his goals and assists, but also a strong on-the-field personality which shone through also at his former club Bayer Leverkusen, whom he guided to a shock Champions League final. But it was at Bayern where he became a global star and one of the most prolific midfielders in Europe.
James is still six Bundesliga titles short of Robben's seven, while the flying Dutchman also has a Champions League title in the locker from 2013, thanks to his match-winning goal against Borussia Dortmund. That was in addition to the 96 goals Robben has struck in 191 Bundesliga games for Bayern, while he has assisted a further 70 – and that record would arguably be even better had repeated injuries not hampered his nevertheless memorable time in Bavaria.
Watch: Robbery stealing the show for the last decade
Another king – or perhaps Le Roi – in terms of Bundesliga wins is Franck Ribery. Little did the Frenchman know when he arrived in Bavaria on 7 July 2007 that he would still be here now, 11 years later, with eight Bundesliga winners' medals and a Champions League title to his name, thanks in no small way to his 80 goals and extraordinary 122 assists in 250 games. The Frenchman is synonymous with the most successful era in Bayern's history – an era he has contributed to significantly.
Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus comes close to Ribery's medal haul, it has to be said. Like Thomas Müller, he has seven Bundesliga titles to his name, and he weighed in with 85 goals in 302 outings in Bavarian red. His record from the penalty spot also made him a reliable option, with 27 of 29 spot-kicks converted. If you don't believe us that Matthäus was so brilliant, how about hearing it from Diego Maradona? In his autobiography, he wrote: "He's the best rival I ever had. I guess that's enough to define him." Enough said.
2) Mehmet Scholl
Mehmet Scholl not only matched Hoeneß' haul, he raised it by one with 87 goals in 334 games, while he boasted a perfect record of converting 11 out of 11 penalties. He also got his hands on the coveted silver 'salad bowl' a record eight times, like Ribery, winning the Champions League once, in 2001. His impact is all the more impressive, though, in view of the fact he played the full 90 minutes on only 125 occasions.
Thomas Müller has already surpassed that with 154 full shifts. The Raumdeuter par excellence has not only won seven Bundesliga titles – including the one which formed part of a treble with the DFB Cup and Champions League in 2013 – and scored over 100 goals in fewer than 300 games, he also became only the third German after his namesake Gerd and Miroslav Klose to pick up the Golden Boot award at the 2010 World Cup, with five goals and three assists. Four years later, when he became world champion, he added four more goals and six assists, including a hat-trick in the semi-final against Brazil. Need another string on that gleaming bow? How about his record of 121 Bundesliga assists?
Watch: The first 100 of Müller's Bundesliga goals!