Bayern Munich's best academy graduates of all time: From Beckenbauer to Muller, Lahm to Alaba

Bayern Munich talent factory

Bayern Munich are the dominant club in Germany and a true European giant.

They are the most successful club in Germany, winning a record 32 Bundesliga titles and 20 DFB-Pokal trophies. Such is their dominance that they've won 10 Bundesliga titles in a row since 2013.

Their exploits do not stop with Germany. They were crowned champions of Europe six times (three times in the Champions League era), won the Europa League (UEFA Cup back then) and the Cup Winners' Cup (now defunct) once each.

This success has been built upon a strong academy that has churned out plenty of talented players over the years.

The club was established in 1900 and two years later, the academy and the junior teams were put together. The ability of the academy to attract and nurture top-class players has been a cornerstone of Bayern's success over the years.

Indeed, some big names have graduated from the Bayern academy, as GOAL outlines below...

  • Franz Beckenbauer Germany Netherlands World Cup 07071974Getty

    Franz Beckenbauer

    Franz Beckenbauer was probably the greatest player to have graduated from the academy of Bayern Munich, and is considered among the best footballers of all time.

    Nicknamed "Der Kaiser" (the emperor) for his leadership skills and elegant style of play, the 1972 Ballon d'Or winner started out as a midfielder before transitioning to defence. In fact, he played as a libero (sweeper) most of the time and is credited with defining that role in the '60s and '70s.

    Having spent five years in Bayern's youth teams, Beckenbauer made his professional debut for the Die Roten in 1964 and spent 13 long years at the club, making more than 580 appearances. He helped the club win four Bundesliga titles and three back-to-back European Cups from 1974 to 1976.

    Of course, his exploits with Germany is legendary. He led the Die Mannschaft to the World Cup title in 1974, after helping them win the European Championship two years earlier. He made more than 100 appearances for them.

    The two-time World Cup winner built on his legacy even after his playing career. He coached Germany to the World Cup title in 1990 - his official title was Team Chef because of a lack of qualifications - becoming only the second man after Mario Zagallo to win the World Cup as a player and a coach.

  • Sepp Maier campeón del Mundo con Alemania en 1974Getty Images

    Sepp Maier

    Nicknamed Die Katze von Anzing (the cat from Anzing) because of his fast reflexes and incredible agility, Sepp Maier is one of the greatest goalkeepers Germany has ever produced. A one club man, Maier joined the Bayern Munich academy in 1959 and made his senior debut in 1962. He would go on to make 700 appearances for Bayern, a club record, in a distinguished career that spanned 18 years.

    He won four league titles and three European Cups apart from a host of other silverware with Bayern. Maier was an integral part of the German side that won the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

    A three-time German Footballer of the Year who was famous for wearing very long shorts, Maier spent a long time coaching at Bayern after he retired, also acting as a coach for the national team until an argument with then coach Jurgen Klinsmann in 2004.

  • Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck along with Franz Beckenbauer and Paul BreitnerGetty

    Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck

    Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck (wearing No. 4 in the picture) was a world class centre-back, and another who spent his entire career at Bayern after joining the academy as a 14-year-old in 1962.

    He made his senior debut in 1966 and went on to amass more than 400 appearances for the club, winning the Bundesliga six times and the European Cup thrice. He notably scored the equaliser in the European Cup final of 1974 against Atletico Madrid with a long-range screamer. Bayern would then win the replay 4-0.

    He was also part of the Germany team that won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup.

  • paul breitnerGetty Images

    Paul Breitner

    A marauding left-back who transformed into one of the best midfielders in the world, Paul Breitner was a maverick in the 1970s and 80s. He joined Bayern Munich only in 1970, at the age of 19, but had to wait till 1971 to establish himself in the first team, as he had to undergo compulsory military service.

    But once he did, there was no turning back. With a distinctive hairstyle and a beard to match, Breitner quickly became a star player. He had two stints with Bayern, from 1970-74 and from 1978-83. In between he played three seasons at Real Madrid (1974-77) and one at Eintracht Braunschweig (1977-78).

    He helped Bayern win five league titles and a European Cup. With Germany, he won the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup. He scored the equaliser for Germany in the 1974 World Cup final against Netherlands before Gerd Muller nabbed the winner.

  • Franz Beckenbauer Klaus Augenthaler FC Bayern München 07051994Getty

    Klaus Augenthaler

    A distinguished defender, Klaus Augenthaler is amongst the finest players Bayern Munich has produced.

    A one-club man, Augenthaler spent 15 years at Bayern after making his professional debut in 1976. He made about 545 appearances for Bayern, winning seven league titles in the process.

    Augenthaler also served Germany with distinction and was part of the side that won the 1990 World Cup. After retirement, he worked as an assistant coach at Bayern and even managed the side in their final game of the 1995/96 season.

  • Dietmar Hamann FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchenglabach Bundesliga 08061997Bongarts

    Dietmar Hamann

    Dietmar "Didi" Hamann came through the ranks at Bayern Munich and went on to play for the likes of Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers in a successful career.

    The tough-tackling defensive midfielder joined the Bayern Munich academy as a 16-year-old in 1989. Hamann made his first team debut in 1993 in a star-studded team that consisted of the likes of Lothar Matthaus, Thomas Helmer, Oliver Kahn etc.

    Hamann was at Bayern till 1998, winning two Bundesliga titles. He moved to Newcastle in 1998 and then to Liverpool a season later. He played an integral role in the 2005 Champions League final, coming on at half-time to shut down Kaka and helping Liverpool beat AC Milan in Istanbul.

  • Thomas Hitzlsperger GermanyGetty Images

    Thomas Hitzlsperger

    Hitzlsperger might not have played for the Bayern Munich senior side but he was a product of the Bayern academy. Having joined the academy as a seven-year-old in 1989, he completed his footballing education at Bayern and remained in Munich till 2000.

    He then moved to Aston Villa and made his professional debut for the English side in 2001. The midfielder would go on to play for the likes of VFB Stuttgart, Lazio, West Ham, Wolfsburg and Everton. He helped Stuttgart win the Bundesliga title in 2006/07.

    He also won 52 caps for Germany.

  • Owen Hargreaves Bayern München 2006getty Images

    Owen Hargreaves

    The English midfielder, who could've represented Germany, Canada or Wales, was scouted by Bayern after his family had moved to Canada.

    He joined Bayern's academy in 1997 and made his professional debut in 2000. He made a name for himself at Bayern, making more than 200 appearances, and for a time his workrate and passing ability made him one of Europe's most effective, and sought after, midfielders.

    Though he had an injury-hit career, he won four Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy with Bayern before moving to Manchester United in 2007, where he won a Premier League and Champions League in 2007-08.

  • LahmGetty

    Philipp Lahm

    Philipp Lahm is a legend for club and country.

    He spent more than seven years at the Bayern Munich academy, having joined at the age of 11. He made his first team debut in 2002 but established himself in the first team only after a two-year loan spell at Stuttgart.

    Lahm, who could play as a left-back and a right-back, soon became the mainstay of the club and country soon enough and he made more than 500 appearances for the club and won eight league titles and a Champions League. Later in his career, Pep Guardiola deployed him in a deep midfield role, and he quickly adapted to the position and became one of the best in the world there.

    He also led Germany to the World Cup in 2014 and earned 113 caps for the Die Mannschaft.

  • paolo guerrero

    Paolo Guerrero

    Peruvian legend Paolo Guerrero started his career at Bayern Munich. Having joined the Bayern junior team in 2002 from Alianza Lima, Geurrero made his first-team debut in 2004. He would leave Bayern in 2006, after scoring 13 goals in 44 appearances.

    He would go on to play for the likes of Hamburger SV and Corinthians, whom he led to the Club World Cup triumph in 2012.

    The 38-year-old veteran has scored 38 goals for his national team and is their highest all-time goalscorer.

  • Mats Hummels Bayern München 14082016Getty

    Mats Hummels

    Mats Hummels, considered one of the best defenders in the world in his prime, signed for the club as a six-year-old in 1995.

    He made his first-team debut in the final match of the 2006/07 season. Hummels, however, would end up joining Borussia Dortmund permanently in 2009 after a loan spell. He grew in stature at Dortmund and established himself as one of the best defenders in Germany. Powerful, and a good passer, he became known for his leadership qualities.

    Returning to Bayern in 2016, The World Cup winner helped the club to a hat-trick of Bundesligas before departing for a second-spell with BV

  • Bastian Schweinsteiger FC Bayern München 2013 Champions LeagueGetty Images

    Bastian Schweinsteiger

    The precocious talent joined the Bayern Munich academy at the age of 14 in 1998 and quickly rose through the ranks. He made his first team debut at the age of 18 in 2002 in a Champions League tie. Initially a winger, Schweinsteiger morphed into an all-action midfielder as his career progressed and became one of the best in the world.

    He spent 17 years at Bayern, making over 500 appearances and helping the club win eight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy. His performance in the 2014 World Cup final was a masterclass in the art of midfield play.

    He was also a star for Germany, helping them win the 2014 World Cup. His performance in the final against Argentina was praised in all quarters.

    Later in his career, he also played for Manchester United and MLS outfit Chicago Fire.

  • thomas muller(C)Getty Images

    Thomas Muller

    A versatile forward, Muller is considered one of the best in the world, especially in his prime.

    As of 2022, Muller has been at Bayern Munich for around 22 years. The highly-decorated player has made more than 600 appearances in all competitions and is still going strong. He is currently third in the list of Bayern players with most appearances for the club. He is also third-highest all-time goalscorer for the club.

    Having won 11 league titles and two Champions League with Bayern, Muller is a certified club legend. Not to mention his exploits with Germany.

    He was the Golden Boot winner and the Best Young Player of the 2010 World Cup. He played a key role in the 2014 World Cup triumph and has 116 caps as things stand.

  • Holger Badstuber Bayern München Borussia Mönchengladbach Bundesliga 03222015Bongarts

    Holger Badstuber

    An imposing defender, Badstuber joined the academy in 2002 and made his first-team debut in 2009. He was earmarked as a potential star soon but a serious injury to his anterior cruciate ligament in 2012 hampered his progress. He never fully recovered from it and was sent on loan to Schalke in 2017.

    He ended up moving to Stuttgart in 2017. He last played for Swiss club Luzerne in 2021.

    Badstuber won five league titles and a Champions League with Bayern.

  • Pep Guardiola Toni Kroos Bayern Munich

    Toni Kroos

    One of the best central midfielders of his generation and another World Cup winner, Toni Kroos won everything with Bayern before repeating the trick in Madrid.

    Kroos was signed by Bayern at the age of 16 in 2006. He was promoted to the senior team at the age of 17 and became the youngest player to represent Bayern in a professional match at the time.

    And after an 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen that ended in 2010, Kroos wasted no time in building himself a reputation as a star midfielder and became a mainstay in the Bayern first team. After seven successful years at Bayern, Kroos moved to Real Madrid in 2014 amid interest from Manchester United.

    The metronomic midfielder won three Bundesliga titles and a Champions League with Bayern. But he has also enjoyed great success with Real Madrid, helping them win four Champions League trophies.

  • David Alaba Bayern MünchenBongarts

    David Alaba

    David Alaba broke into the Bayern Munich first team at a tender age of 17 and was, for a while, the youngest player to play in a competitive fixture for the club until Jamal Musiala broke it in 2020.

    Alaba had joined the Bayern Munich youth ranks in 2008. After a loan to Hoffenheim in 2011, Alaba quickly established himself in the first team. Initially a left-back, Alaba built a reputation for himself as one of the best players in his position. He would then go on to play as a midfielder and a centre-back during his first team career at Bayern that spanned from 2010 to 2021.

    Alaba's honours list with Bayern includes 10 Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues. In the summer of 2021, the 29-year-old moved to Real Madrid.