Unbelievably, Bayern Munich were not selected to take part in the first edition of the Bundesliga in 1963 but since gaining promotion a few years later, the Bavarians have gone on to become the dominant team in Germany.
Bayern’s first period of dominance came during the late 1960s and 70s led by greats such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, and Sepp Maier. During this highly successful period the club won five German Championships, four German Cups, three Champions Leagues and a UEFA Cup.
Although the 1980s were another successful period, the club experience several years of off-field mismanagement and underachievement until the sleeping giant re-awoke at the turn of the millennium. Since then, Bayern have dominated German football, led by both fantastic managers and players alike. Countless German internationals have lined up in the club’s famous red shirts backed up by wonderful players from all four corners of the world.
However, not every transfer Bayern have completed in recent years can be as successful as the 2014 Robert Lewandowski one – Bayern have been to blame for some poor business over the last 20 years or so, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the poorer signings for the club during that period.
15. Pepe Reina
The current Napoli stopper Pepe Reina was signed by Pep Guardiola in a £2.1 million deal in the summer of 2014. The Spaniard was signed as cover for number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and it remained that way during his stay with the Bavarians.
Reina managed to make just three appearances for the Bayern Munich first team in outings against Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg respectively.
In his last game for Bayern against Augsburg in May 2014, the keeper was sent-off in the 13th minutes for a foul on Raúl Bobadilla. Augsburg scored the resulting penalty to condemn Bayern to a 0-1 home defeat.
14. Andreas Herzog
The Austrian midfielder was signed by the Bavarians in 1995 for a fee of £1.78m, however the play-maker failed to settle in Southern Germany and returned to his former club Werder Bremen after just one season.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Herzog at Bayern as he made plenty of appearances in his solitary season with the club and was even part of the team that won the UEFA Cup in 1995. Although the Austrian didn’t get a taste of the final, sitting on the bench for both legs, the midfielder picked up a medal after his club defeated Bordeaux 5-1 on aggregate.
13. Andreas Görlitz
The German right-back was signed from city rivals 1860 Munich in 2004 and made a promising start to his Die Roten career. The defender started several games for Bayern and even made his full international debut with Germany before sustaining an injury that would see him out of action for almost a year.
Sadly for the player, it seems that he never fully recovered from his injuries and was released to FC Ingolstadt in 2010 after several loans and seasons playing with Bayern’s second string in the German regional leagues.
Görlitz eventually ended his career with the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS after yet another injury plagued season where he managed just three appearances for the club.
12. Edson Braafheid
One of Louis van Gaal’s signings while in charge of Bayern Munich, Edson Braafheid was a £1.40 million signing from FC Twente.
In a World Cup year, unfortunately for the Dutch left-back, he was unable to secure a starting spot in the Bayern Munich line-up so decided to go out on loan with Celtic in the Scottish Premiership. The move turned out to be successful and was chosen to compete at the 2010 World Cup where the Dutch finished as runner-up behind Spain.
Braafheid managed to play just 19 games for the Bavarians before securing a permanent transfer to Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim on a free.
11. Landon Donovan
USA’s all-time leading scorer was a Bayern Munich loan signing during Jurgen Klinsmann’s spell in charge of the German giants. Although Donovan’s spell with Munich wasn’t a disaster for either the player or the club, it has to go down as a strange signing.
It wasn’t the forward’s first spell in Germany after starting his career with Bayer Leverkusen before returning to America on loan with San Jose Earthquakes and then permanently with LA Galaxy.
Donovan managed to play in seven games for Die Roten without registering a single goal before returning State-side to finish as a runner-up against Real Salt Lake.
Donovan retired from football at the end of the 2014 MLS season after leading LA Galaxy to the championship – the player’s sixth in total.
10. Julio dos Santos
After being named the Paraguayan Footballer of the Year in 2005, the youngster was signed from Cerro Porteño in his native Paraguay after a £1.89 million fee had been agreed between the clubs.
The 23-year-old midfielder failed to dislodge first choice midfielder Michael Ballack from the team and competition from others which meant his chances were limited. Dos Santos only managed 10 games for the first team before being shipped out on loan to Wolfsburg where he suffered a major injury.
From there, dos Santos’ German career never recovered and was eventually released to Brazilian club Atlético Paranaense after hugely underwhelming loan spells in both Spain and Brazil.
9. Danijel Pranjic
Croatian utility man, Danijel Pranjic was a £5.39 million signing from Dutch club Heerenveen in 2009. Pranjic didn’t really make an impact during his first season in Germany after failing to hold down a regular starting spot due to the form of others.
Although he played more in his second season in Munich, he was unable to keep his place going into his third season with the club and was eventually released at the end of the campaign after limited appearances.
Since leaving Bayern on a free transfer in 2012, Pranjic has gone on to represent Sporting Lisbon, Spanish club Celta Vigo and current club Panathinaikos who are currently third in the Greek Super League.
8. Takashi Usami
The Japanese forward was once regarded as the next big thing out of Asia but failed to live up to his name-tag during his brief stint with Bayern. In total the Japanese international played just five times for the first team before a loan spell with Hoffenheim and a return to J. League outfit Gamba Osaka in 2013.
Since returning to the J. Legaue, Usami who is still only 23-years-old, has re-established himself as a goal-scorer and the rumors are that he will once again be snapped up by a European club in the not too distant future.
7. Vahid Hashemian
Vahid Hashemian was another Iranian who didn’t ‘cut the mustard’ at Bayern Munich after compatriots Ali Daei and Ali Karimi.
Hashemian was signed by Bayern after he had netted 16 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for the much un-fancied Bochum in the 2003-04 season. The Iranian was signed for just £1.40 million so was seen as a calculated gamble.
Unfortunately for Hashemian, the striker failed to replicate his form at Bochum and was sold to Hannover 96 just a year later for £910,000. During his time with Die Roten he scored just one solitary goal against Freiburg in the German Cup.
6. Lukas Podolski
German international legend Lukas Podolski played for Bayern Munich in the early part of his career, but his stint in Bavaria has to go down as a failure after being offloaded back to his first club FC Köln.
After a very successful period with Köln, Podolski was signed by Bayern for £7 million in 2007 with huge hopes placed upon his young shoulders. Unfortunately for Podolski, he failed to make a serious impact at the club due to a mix of injuries and competition against Miroslav Klose and Italian Luca Toni at the striker position.
After three years with the club, the striker returned to Köln and has gone on to represent Arsenal, Inter Milan and Galatasaray as well as scoring 48 goals in 126 games for the German national team.
5. Tobias Rau
By the time Tobias Rau joined Bayern in 2003, the left-back had already been capped at senior level for Germany and promised to go on to big things at the Bavarian club.
Unfortunately for Rau, his career at Bayern never really took off due to several injuries. Even after regaining fitness, the Germans faced stiff competition for a starting spot from more established regulars Frenchmen Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu.
After just 19 first team games with the club, he moved on to Arminia Bielefeld in 2005 after just two years in Munich. At Bielefeld, Rau’s career continued to be blighted by injuries and retired in 2009.
4. Sebastian Deisler
Once hailed as German football’s golden boy, Sebastian Deisler’s career never really took off due to persistent injuries throughout his time playing the sport.
Deisler broke onto the German footballing scene with Borussia Mönchengladbach before moving onto Hertha Berlin and finally Bayern where he played until he retired at the age of 27.
The right winger was signed by Bayern for £6.30 million in the summer of 2001 irrespective of his injury problems. After joining the club, the talented winger’s problems persisted and in four-and-a-half years in southern Germany, Deisler managed just 90 appearances for the club.
3. Marcell Jansen
When Jansen signed for Bayern Munich in the summer of 2007, the youngster was already one of the biggest talents in Europe at his position. The full-back was signed from his home-town club Borussia Mönchengladbach for £9.80 million to become the long-term successor of Zé Roberto and Bixente Lizarazu.
Things didn’t quite go as planned for the youngster after several injuries and falling out of favor with coach Jürgen Klinsmann, so he was off-loaded to Bundesliga rivals Hamburg after just one year.
After leaving the south for the north of Germany, Jansen became an inportant part of the Hamburg team making 187 appearances before retiring at the age of 29 after his club failed to offer him a contract extension.
2. Jose Ernesto Sosa
The talented Argentine was a £6.30 million signing from Estudiantes in 2007 after impressing as a youngster at the club.
Although the midfielder showed glimpses of his immense talent at Bayern, Sosa was too inconsistent to nail down a full-time starting spot at the club and left the club after several seasons of obscurity.
Sosa only managed two goals in 53 games for the Bavarians before calling time on his career in Germany. Since leaving the club, Sosa has had a somewhat interesting career with playing stints in Italy, Ukraine, Spain (picking up a league championship with Atlético Madrid) and Turkey where his is currently playing with Besiktas.
The centre-back was once regarded as one of Brazil’s brightest youngsters but Breno’s European adventured turned sour after being sent to prison for arson.
The youngster joined Bayern Munich for a fee of £8.40 million and made a total of 33 appearances for the first team with injuries preventing him from more. Off-field problems culminated with the player’s house going up in flames.
After an investigation, Breno was charged over his connection with the fire that burned down his rented villa and received a prison sentence of three years and nine months.
On his release, Bayern re-employed the defender in a coaching capacity and he is now back in Brazil trying to rebuild his playing career with boyhood club São Paulo.
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