From Lewandowski to Lizarazu: Top class Bayern Munich bargains costing under £5m

From Lewandowski to Lizarazu: Top class Bayern Munich bargains costing under £5m

Bayern Munich are known for splashing their riches on first-class marquee signings and continuing to develop as one of the finest teams in world football.

In recent years, we’ve seen the German club spend big on Corentin Tolisso, Mats Hummels, Renato Sanches, Javi Martínez, Arturo Vidal, Mario Gotze and Douglas Costa as they continue to dominate the Bundesliga and consistently challenge for the Champions League.

But, aside from splashing their fun coupons on some of the more lavish produce they’re also excellent at capitalising on a decent bargain.

Although their £30m plus arrivals capture the headlines these days, it’s important to recognise the vast amount of talent the club have brought in for much less than you would have imagined.

Squawka have taken a look at the players Bayern scooped out of the bargain bucket and integrated into the first team. Some of these guys are arguably the best footballers to have ever played for the club; amazing business.

Oliver Kahn

Position: Goalkeeper 

Fee: £1.73m 

Arrived from: Karlsruher SC

Under £2m for one of the best goalkeepers ever to have played the game? Yes, please. Oliver Kahn moved to Bayern Munich in 1994 from Karlsruher and went on to play 630 times for the German giants. During his time at the club he won eight domestic Bundesliga titles and claimed the 2000/01 Champions League trophy.

A real master between the posts, Kahn possessed outstanding reflexes, catching and distribution but it was his natural leadership qualities that really earned him a place in Bayern Munich’s fans’ hearts. He made 247 clean sheets before retiring in 2008. One of the best bits of transfer business of all time.


Position: Right-back 

Fee: £4.13m 

Arrived from: Genoa 

After largely impressing as a youngster and continuing his development at Schalke 04, it was surprising that Rafinha left the club for Italian side Genoa in 2010. The full-back performed well and was signed by Bayern Munich at the same summer they employed Jupp Heynckes as head coach.

After a fairly slow start back in Germany – and back playing with his former Schalke team-mate Manuel Neuer – the defender developed into an excellent player under the guidance of current coach Pep Guardiola. Rafinha has made 204 appearances for the club and is now Bayern’s first-choice right-back.


Position: Centre-back 

Fee: £3.53m 

Arrived from: Borussia Mönchengladbach

Dante certainly over-performed during his time at Bayern Munich and was part of the side that captured the 2012/13 Champions League title. He established himself as the side’s first-choice centre-back and won three domestic German titles during his 133 appearances for the club.

Bayern only paid £3.53m to lure him from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach and he currently gave the club their money’s worth before leaving the club in 2015. He moved to Wolfsburg in time for the 2015/16 season before moving to France to join OGC Nice in 2016.

Lothar Matthaus

Position: Midfielder/Centre-back 

Fee: £1.5m (second time)

Arrived from: Inter Milan 

One of the best central defenders ever to play the game. It’s remarkable that Bayern Munich ever conceded a goal with Lothar Matthaus sitting in front of Oliver Kahn. Talk about a dream team the defender originally signed for the German club in 1984 from Borussia Monchengladbach and spent four years there before being sold to Inter Milan.

Realising their error, after four years, they re-signed Matthaus for the tiny price of £1.5m and he went on to spend another seven years in Germany, winning seven domestic titles, over both campaigns, overall but surprisingly never winning the Champions League despite a UEFA Cup victory in 1996.

Bixente Lizarazu

Position: Left-back 

Fee: £3.38m (first time)

Arrived from: Athletic Bilbao 

Another player who developed from a good player into a great defender during his time at Bayern Munich. The Frenchman earned a move to Athletic Bilbao after a string of excellent performances during his eight years playing for Bordeaux but he didn’t really settle in Spain.

After just 16 appearances he was snapped up by Bayern for less than £4m and went on to play 272 times for the club. He won five domestic German titles and was part of the Bayern side that won the 2000/01 Champions League, beating Valencia in the final at the San Siro.

Sebastian Rode

Position: Centre midfield 

Fee: Free

Arrived from: Frankfurt 

One of the most promising holding midfielders in world football, Sebastian Rode burst onto the scene after some excellent performances for Frankfurt.

Bayern acted quickly and snapped him up on a free transfer in 2014 and under Pep Guardiola he has made 45 appearances for the club, scoring four goals and grabbing seven assists. At 26, the central midfielder has shown real maturity and his technical skills coupled with excellent passing range make him one of Bayern’s most exciting talents.

Mark van Bommel

Position: Centre midfield 

Fee: £4.5m 

Arrived from: Barcelona 

Bayern Munich paid just £5m for Mark van Bommel despite him having won the Spanish title and 2005/06 Champions League the season before with Barcelona. The German club pounced on the player’s signature and he went on to play 187 times, winning two Bundesliga titles.

A natural leader and midfield orchestrator the Dutchman was well-liked for his strength, tackling and physical attributes and represented an excellent bit of business by Bayern. He moved to AC Milan after spending five years at the club.

Michael Ballack

Position: Attacking centre midfield 

Fee: £4.5m 

Arrived from: Bayer Leverkusen 

There aren’t many better midfielders to have ever played the game and he only cost Bayern Munich £4.5m. After impressing for rivals Bayer Leverkusen, the German giants signed him and he went on to win three domestic titles and play 157 times for the club.

He scored 62 goals and made 42 assists before leaving Germany for England in 2006 when he signed for Chelsea. Ballack romantically ended his impressive career back with Leverkusen and helped them finish as runners’ up to Borussia Dortmund during the 2010/11 season.

Mehmet Scholl

Position: Attacking centre midfield 

Fee: £1.88m 

Arrived from: Karlsruher SC

It really is amazing how little a number of these Bayern legends actually cost. Mehmet Scholl moved from Karlsruher in 1992 and the attacking midfielder went on to play 468 times for Bayern during a colourful 15-year career in the capital.

He won eight Bundesliga titles and was part of the side that won the 2000/01 Champions League. His success at the club makes him the record holder for winning the most domestic trophies, tied with Oliver Kahn and Bastian Schweinsteiger. He retired at the end of the 2006/07 season as one of the most successful players ever to pull on the Bayern jersey.

Robert Lewandowski

Position: Striker 

Fee: Free

Arrived from: Dortmund 

When Bayern Munich signed Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer in 2014 he was probably worth around £30m minimum. Knowing that they were getting a special player, they lured the former Dortmund forward to the Allianz Arena and he hasn’t let them down.

Arguably the greatest free transfer of all time the Polish striker has managed 114 goals in 150 games for Bayern and won the Bundesliga title during his first year at the club before triumphing again in  2015/16 and 2016/17.

Giovane Elber

Position: Striker 

Fee: £4.88m 

Arrived from: Stuttgart 

Giovane Elber had impressed during his time at Stuttgart where he scored 44 goals in 95 games and his form had prompted Bayern Munich to pay just under £5m (a ridiculously cheap price for arguably the best striker in the world at the time) to bring him to the club.

He went on to play 264 games for the German giants and scored 139 goals, winning four Bundesliga titles and the 2000/01 Champions League.

Total cost: £30.03m


Honourable mentions: Samuel Kuffour (£175k), Jens Jeremies (£560k), Mario Basler (£2.87m), Hasan Salihamidžić (free), Roque Santa Cruz (£3.5m), Carsten Jancker (£539k), Sebastian Rudy (Free)

Total: £7.64m

All fees from Transfermarkt.