2013 was a glorious year for Bayern Munich. They won the treble consisting of the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and the Champions League. Led by coach Jupp Heynckes, they had a solid squad filled to the brim with experienced players. The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm are legends of the club, and they were right in the middle of their prime then. Fast forward six years and most of those players have left the club. That being said, Bayern have done a remarkable job of transitioning into a new era.
As of now, only five players who were part of the 2012/13 squad are still at the club. Manuel Neuer is still the man between the sticks, and he is the club captain now. Thomas Muller is the vice-captain. Arguably, both of them are past their prime and have entered the twilight of their career. Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng are also there, but both of them are on the wrong side of thirty. David Alaba is the only player who is still at the level he was six years ago.
Aside from these five, many great servants of the club have left. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are two of the latest as they were in Munich till last season. The duo of inverted wingers was brilliant for Bayern over the years. Robben has made more than 300 appearances for the Bavarians, and his French teammate has more than 400. Now two youngsters have replaced both of them.
Serge Gnabry started the majority of last season on the right wing, and Kingsley Coman did the same on the left side. Coach Niko Kovac preferred the youth, and it was not without reason. Both Gnabry and Coman are hugely talented, and they have enormous scope for improvement. Considering the age of Robben and Ribery, it was a logical move to make.
Similar transitions have taken place across the pitch. Philipp Lahm was one of the great right-backs the club has ever seen, arguably the greatest. But Bayern have found a player as similar to Lahm as one could hope for. Joshua Kimmich is a creative midfielder playing at right-back, and he carries out both roles impressively. He registered 13 assists in the Bundesliga last season.
In defense, they arguably have the best young talent. Niklas Sule has been joined by the new recruits Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard. All three of them are young and versatile and should be the mainstays in the Bayern backline for years to come. The likes of Leon Goretzka, Jann-Fiete Arp, and Alphonso Davies are also there to contend for places in the coming years.
As clubs like Manchester United will tell, moving on from great players and managers is a tough ask. Bayern faced a similar task, and they have done admirably so far. Next season will be a better indicator of the same, but they have the players to contend with the elite. It will be fascinating to see how the new crop fares where the old excelled so impressively.