The French players to have played for Bayern Munich

FPL360
FPL360
8 Min Read


In signing for Bayern Munich from RB Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano follows an incredibly well-trodden path from his homeland to Bavaria.

Bayern has been home to a wealth of French talent over the past few decades, with many of those names achieving legendary status in Munich.

It’s a tradition recognised by the club hierarchy, too. “We’re proud of this tradition,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in an interview with France Football. “It all started with Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol, who were pioneers in some respect, and key wide players for us.

“Because of their mentality and style of play, French players suit Bayern well. We’re very satisfied with all our Franzosen.”

As Upamecano prepares to become the next Gallico, here is a rundown of all of his compatriots to have pulled on the famous red shirt.

Jean Pierre Papin of Bayern Munich
Jean Pierre Papin of Bayern Munich | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A Ballon d’Or winner in 1991, the mercurial striker with the most French name of all-time moved to Bayern from Milan in 1994.

However, at 31 his powers were waning and he would move on two years later with just six goals and a UEFA Cup title to his name.

Bixente Lizarazu
Lizarazu won the Champions League in 2001 | GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

A fine left-back who would win the World Cup at the end of his first season with Bayern, Lizarazu would go on to win 17 titles – including a Champions League – in 273 appearances for the club.

Lizarazu is unquestionably one of those aforementioned French Bayern legends. Quite simply, he won it all.

Also has a five-a-side team in Peckham named after him, but he probably doesn’t know that.

Willy Sagnol
Sagnol during his playing days | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Bayern had a Frenchman in both full-back positions for several years in the noughties.

After joining from Monaco, Sagnol didn’t win quite as much silverware as Lizarazu in his 277 appearances but still left the club a legend after almost a decade.

So well-regarded at the club that he’s even had a spell as caretaker boss in 2017.

Alou Diarra of Liverpool
Alou Diarra at Liverpool | Ben Radford/Getty Images

A player who would become a journeyman midfielder and, of course, play for West Ham towards the end of his career.

Bayern were the first big-name club to pick up on Diarra’s talents, however, signing him as a 19-year-old. He would never make a competitive first-team appearance before joining Liverpool in 2002.

Valerien Ismael
Ismael at Bayern | Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Weirdly the current Barnsley manager, Ismael is probably one of the more forgettable names on this list.

Still left Bayern with a Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal win to his name, having won the league with Werder Bremen before joining Die Roten.

Franck Ribery
Ribery with the Champions League trophy | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Die Roten’s most iconic French player.

Ribéry won it all at the Allianz Arena during a glittering 12-year stay in Munich as part of the ‘Robbéry’ combination with Arjen Robben on the opposite flank, scoring 124 goals and providing 182 assists in 425 appearances.

Pretty remarkable considering his injury troubles.

Kingsley Coman
Coman during the Club World Cup final | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Still only 24 years old, Coman already has a ridiculous 21 titles to his name across his time with Bayern, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. Wild.

The winger is still somewhat underrated, but is still managing to have a very productive season under Hansi Flick despite the arrival of Leroy Sané in the summer, as he keeps his injuries at bay.

Corentin Tolisso
Tolisso has already won it all with Bayern | Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

While he has injury problems himself, Tolisso is another who has won it all with Bayern, as well as a World Cup with his country.

He still has fewer than 100 club appearances to his name. Scary stuff.

The former Lyon man is struggling to establish himself in Flick’s side at the moment, however.

Lucas Hernandez
Lucas Hernandez is another World Cup winner | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Another World Cup winner who is a member of this current juggernaut of a Bayern side.

The versatile defender played every game on his country’s road to international glory in 2018, picking up an assist in the final.

Still only 25, the left-back has worked his way into Flick’s plans having been an unused substitute in the Champions League final back in the summer.

Benjamin Pavard
Pavard – yet another World Cup winner | Colin McPhedran/MB Media/Getty Images

Alongside Hernandez, the pair will be hoping to become the modern day Lizarazu and Sagnol at the Allianz Arena.

The languid defender was another to star at the World Cup in Russia before joining Bayern the following year.

He’s even younger than Hernandez, and despite featuring regularly throughout the campaign was also left out of the Champions League final win over PSG.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN-MUNICH-TRAINING
Cuisance is yet to make his breakthrough at Bayern | CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

A man whose story at Bayern is yet to really be written.

Having struggled to break into the side in his debut season, he’s been shipped out on loan to chaos specialists Marseille this campaign.

Amid the tumult that is the southern French club, he has struggled to hold down a place in the team. So, yeah, not looking good. Maybe it doesn’t always come off when you sign a young French player, eh.

Bouna Sarr
Sarr’s time at Bayern could be short-lived | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Another piece of business with Marseille, Sarr was drafted in during the summer to provide some cover at right-back.

However, despite a decent start, injuries have taken their toll. He soon lost his place in the side and last played in the shock cup defeat to Holstein Kiel in mid-January.

At 29, it doesn’t look particularly good for Sarr going forward.

Tanguy Nianzou
Nianzou made his Bayern debut in November | Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The latest in a long line of French recruits, the summer’s free signing from PSG was born the year that Alou Diarra (see entry no.4 on this list) left the club.

One for the future, the 18-year-old has spent most of the season so far injured, only managing a 21-minute cameo against Stuttgart back in November.

The centre-back made 13 appearances for PSG before departing the French capital and will surely be hoping to one day partner his compatriot Upamecano at the heart of the Bayern defence.





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