Football Features

Players Bayern Munich poached from their Bundesliga rivals

By Squawka News

Published: 15:40, 19 January 2023

Groundhog Day: a situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way. 

You may struggle to see the correlation between the 1993 Bill Murray flick with the world of football, but the above definition is something many football supporters can empathise with. Especially those with an affinity to Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Borussia Dortmund or Hoffenheim, all of whom have had some of their star players poached from them by Bayern Munich.

You can now add RB Leipzig after the Bavarians secured French centre-back Dayot Upamecano in 2021 and Konrad Laimer reportedly set to be announced as a new arrival for the summer. Then there’s the signing of Yann Sommer from Borussia Monchengladbach, brought in on a two-and-a-half-year-deal, with the Swiss shot-stopper set to be No.1 after Manuel Neuer’s season-ending injury.

Ahead of his likely debut vs RB Leipzig on Friday here a list of previous times Germany’s undisputed powerhouse stole the best and brightest from their Bundesliga underlings.

1. Leon Goretzka

  • Bought from: Schalke (2018)
  • Fee: Free
  • Bayern apps: 157

Central midfielder Goretzka attracted interest from the likes of Juventus, Liverpool and Chelsea, but opted to move to Bayern upon the expiration of his Schalke contract in 2018.

The 27-year-old has gone on to become an important player for Bayern through the middle, keeping his spot despite the club seemingly being intent on signing all the central midfielders.

2. Serge Gnabry

  • Bought from: Werder Bremen (2017)
  • Fee: Reported £8.5m
  • Bayern apps: 194

The former Arsenal youngster has seen his stock continue to rise since Arsene Wenger saw no room for him at the Emirates.

His 11 Bundesliga goals for Bremen in the 2016/17 season convinced Bayern Munich that a relatively cheap youthful signing made a lot of sense going forward. He joined Hoffenheim on a season-long loan deal before breaking into the Bayern first team, and he hasn’t looked back since. In 107 Bundesliga appearances since the 2019/20 season began, Gnabry has been directly involved in 64 goals, scoring 44 and adding 20 assists.

3. Niklas Sule

  • Bought from: Hoffenheim (2017)
  • Fee: Undisclosed (reported £21.84m)
  • Bayern apps: 171

The highly-rated 27-year-old centre-back sealed a move to Bayern from Hoffenheim in July 2017. Chelsea were interested in the German international, but he chose Bayern.

Since then, Sule has impressed for the German champions and was a key member of their defence before suffering a serious knee injury. After five years at Bayern, Sule’s playing time started to dwindle and he joined rivals Borussia Dortmund last summer.

4. Sebastian Rudy

  • Bought from: Hoffenheim (2017)
  • Fee: Free
  • Bayern apps: 35

The German international midfielder followed Sule to Bayern from Hoffenheim, having been their most creative player in the 2016/17 season.

However, after making just 35 appearances for Bayern, it was decided that Rudy would be shown the door in 2018. He joined Schalke but has moved on again on loan after just the one season, later accusing the club of failing to “protect” him as the team finished 14th in the league.

“Schalke suddenly demanded other things from me. They tried to make me a different player. However, it should have been clear that it’s too late to transform myself at the age of 29,” Rudy told in January.

“I definitely felt as if I was chosen as the face of the crisis in public. I’m always willing to focus on my own mistakes, and I have certainly made some, but Schalke missed the opportunity to protect me as a player.”

Rudy is now back at Hoffenheim.

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5. Manuel Neuer

  • Bought from: Schalke 04 (2011)
  • Fee: £22.5m
  • Bayern apps: 488

The third-most expensive goalkeeper ever at the time of his signing, Neuer has proven to be worth every penny for Bayern. The German has won 10 Bundesliga titles and two Champions League crowns with the German giants so far.

6. Benjamin Pavard

  • Bought from: VfB Stuttgart (2019)
  • Fee: (reported) £31.4m
  • Bayern apps: 140

The 26-year-old was far from a household name in the early stages of his career, but that all changed at the 2018 World Cup.

Pavard starred for France as Les Bleus claimed the trophy in Russia and his sumptuous strike against Argentina won Goal of the Tournament. The Frenchman’s move to Bayern was confirmed towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign and since his move, Pavard has slotted in seamlessly at right-back — though he can also play centre-back.

7. Michael Ballack

Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
Fee: £4.5m
Bayern apps: 157

The golden boy of German football at the turn of the century, Ballack won three league titles and three German Cups before moving to Chelsea on a free transfer in 2006.

8. Robert Lewandowski

  • Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2014)
  • Fee: Free
  • Bayern apps: 375

The Polish star is undoubtedly one of the most feared centre-forwards around and grew his stature during an eight-year stay at Bayern Munich, winning everything there was to be won. He left Bayern in the summer with a frankly ridiculous competitive record of 344 goals in 375 games.

9. Ze Roberto

  • Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
  • Fee: £7.13m
  • Bayern apps: 178

Another member of the exciting Leverkusen side in 2001/02, Ze Roberto initially joined Bayern in 2002 and re-joined after a season with Santos in 2007. These days he’s a technical adviser to Brazilian side Palmeira and member of our list of retired footballers who are probably still fitter than you.

10. Mats Hummels

  • Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2016)
  • Fee: £30.7m
  • Bayern apps: 118

This one really caught Dortmund fans in the feels. BVB had given Hummels his big chance, signing him from Bayern after he failed to make a first-team breakthrough and even made him their club captain.

However, the pull of a return to Munich proved too difficult for the World Cup winner to resist and he re-joined his former club in 2016. Three years with Bayern resulted in three more Bundesliga trophies before Hummels pulled off another return, re-signing for Dortmund in June 2019.

11. Mario Gomez

  • Signed from: VFB Stuttgart (2009)
  • Fee: £22.5m
  • Bayern apps: 174

A Bundesliga winner with Stuttgart in 2007, Gómez joined Bayern a couple of years later and enjoyed a prolific four-year spell with the club. He would then embark on a new challenge with Fiorentina in 2013, with a loan to Besiktas in between, before a return to Germany with Wolfsburg in August 2016.

Now happily retired after enjoying one final stint at Stuttgart where he registered 22 league goals across 70 appearances.

12. Lucio

  • Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen (2004)
  • Fee: £9m
  • Bayern apps: 218

The 2002 World Cup winner was another to make the switch from the BayArena to Munich. He spent five seasons in Bavaria before joining Inter, where he won the treble under Jose Mourinho.

13. Mario Gotze

  • Signed from: Borussia Dortmund (2013)
  • Fee: £27.75m
  • Bayern apps: 113

The one-time darling of the Dortmund support, Gotze made the move to Bayern on the eve of the Champions League final in 2013 to sour his reputation with the clubs fans.

After struggling to nail down a place in Bayern’s side, though, Gotze returned home, making the opposite move to Hummels in 2016 before ultimately joining PSV Eindhoven and later Eintracht Frankfurt.

14. Luiz Gustavo

  • Signed from: Hoffenheim (2011)
  • Fee: £12.75m
  • Bayern apps: 100

After making his name with Hoffenheim, Luiz Gustavo joined Bayern in January 2011 and helped them to a Bundesliga title and Champions League, before joining Wolfsburg in 2013. The Brazilian midfielder moved to Marseille in 2017 for a reported £9m, leaving two years later for Fenerbahce.

15. Robert Kovac

  • Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen (2001)
  • Fee: £5.63m
  • Bayern apps: 122

An unheralded stalwart of Bayern Munich’s defence between 2001-05 after starring with Leverkusen. Since retiring, Kovač managed the Croatian Under-21 team and served as assistant manager at Eintracht Frankfurt before joining brother Nico’s coaching staff at Bayern, also leaving with him in 2019.

16. Miroslav Klose

  • Signed from: Werder Bremen (2007)
  • Fee: £11.25m
  • Bayern apps: 149

Despite being the most prolific goalscorer in World Cup history (16 goals in 24 games), Klose didn’t enjoy a great time at Bayern. Frequently he would play the role of substitute. After failing to secure regular football, he joined Lazio in 2011 before retiring in 2016.

17. Alexander Nubel

  • Signed from: Schalke (2020)
  • Fee: Free
  • Bayern apps: 4

A rising German goalkeeper, Alexander Nubel only became first-choice at Schalke in early 2019, replacing Ralf Fahrmann. His performances persuaded David Wagner to hand him the captaincy at the start of the 2019/20 campaign despite having just one year remaining on his contract. Bayern utilised this and agreed a deal to sign Nubel when his contract with Schalke is up. Once joining he’d go on to make four appearances, including two in the Champions League, but he has had more success on loan.

In fact, it was Nubel’s current loan spell at Monaco, and lack of desire to cut it short, that led to Bayern buying Yann Sommer.

18. Dayot Upamecano

  • Signed from: RB Leipzig (2021)
  • Fee: £38m
  • Bayern apps: 61

It felt as though Dayot Upamecano had all the top European clubs chasing his signature ahead of the 2021 summer transfer window, after his incredible performances for RB Leizpig. Bayern were the team to win the race and though he had a slow start to life at the Allianz, the Frenchman now looks at home at the heart of their defence.

Honourable mentions

Sebastian Rode (Frankfurt – 2014), Mario Mandzukic (Wolfsburg – 2012), Ivica Olic (Hamburg – 2009), Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen – 2008), Marcell Jansen (Monchengladbach – 2007), Lukas Podolski (Koln – 2006), Valerien Ismael (Werder Bremen – 2005), Torsten Frings (Dortmund – 2004), Claudio Pizarro (Werder Bremen – 2001), Dante (Monchengladbach – 2012), Fiete Arp (Hamburg – 2019), Michail Cuisance (Monchengladbach – 2019)