Over the decades, several great footballers have successfully and unwittingly established themselves as the faces of their respective clubs. So much so, that whenever we think of a particular club, we associate it with one or more familiar faces instinctively.
One of the key factors to being a successful club is to maintain the inflow of fresh talents, whose contributions pave the way for success and glory with time. Throughout the history of world football, we have seen many football clubs pitching legendary squads and winning various titles across their own country and also in other continents, by outclassing other opposing teams, simply by their unmatched skills and mutual understanding among the players.
Having such players on a team helps a manager to develop his game-plan, centering around them. It not only has a positive impact on the team but also helps in uplifting the performance of other players on the team as everyone starts trying to give their best on the pitch.
So to become one of the best club management should maintain the influx of promising prospects into the club via Grassroot level programmes, youth academies and the global transfer market. This is where the importance of a decent scouting system comes into perspective.
There is always something special about the power of three. Throughout the ages, there have been stories about a hero’s journey through hardship. It’s a solo act. Similarly, there have been tales of duos going through a series of trials and obstructions, with only their persistence and determination making them stronger to overcome the hurdles coming their way. But football is a team game. No matter the level of individual talent, it ain’t possible for just a single player to drive a team towards glory. Hence we have seen various successful trios emerging throughout footballing history, who formed the pillars of their respective teams.
Trios of Bayern Munich
The power of three can be justified through the plausible concept of a geometrical triangle; its physical stability and sturdiness. If we look into famous stories of The Three Musketeers, Three Amigos and The Three Stooges, we see the effect of such formidable groups of three. The story of one person connects to the other somehow, a person gets inspiration from the other and they
work unitedly towards achieving a common goal. The world of football records many incredible stories and memories of such legendary trios.
Bayern Munich, one of the greatest clubs in footballing history, have had their fair share of club icons throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. However, coming to the 21st century, a particular group of three stands out among all others.
A deadly trio was taking shape in the forms of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who formed a perfect and lethal triangle at the heart of Bayern Munich. Bastian had come into the Bavarian ranks through the club’s youth academy and had spent most of his playing time as a winger until then, Franck had been brought in as a prospect a couple of years ago, while an out-of-favour Arjen Robben had been brought in from Real Madrid that very year.
All three of them were extremely talented but hadn’t yet realised their true potential. Louis van Gaal, who was the Bayern manager back then, helped shape the future of the team which would see the club dominating German football for years as well as making a name in Europe consistently.
He decided to try Schweinsteiger as a holding midfielder, a decision which was met with raised eyebrows back then. But that decision would turn out to be one of the best gambles ever as Bastian established himself as one of the greatest midfielders ever in the history of the game.
His successful ventures with both the DFB as well as Bayern earned him the title of Der Fussballgott and made him beloved of the fans. Franck was always there for the team, helping out whenever and wherever possible. His performances with Bayern throughout the years made him one of the most remarkable wingers ever to have played the beautiful game.
But most importantly, his understanding with Arjen Robben would turn out to be the major factor behind Bayern’s treble-winning season back in 2013 under legendary manager Jupp Heynckes.
Arjen Robben, though was extremely talented as a player, was deemed to be selfish in front of goal. That was soon to change, however, with the birth of Robbery. Those classic cut-ins, the Robben-street, those trademark left-footed curlers from outside the box were indeed a class apart! Franck helped shape Arjen’s nature and his friendship with him made Arjen Robben a team player. Even in his last competitive Bundesliga game for the Bavarians, Arjen decided to pass the ball to a teammate despite having a better opportunity to score himself. Their friendship and mutual understanding had eventually led them to this.
2009 onwards saw the dominance of Bayern in Germany as well as in Europe. Like every story about success, there were many heartbreaks on the way. The 2010 Champions League final loss to Inter Milan, the back to back Bundesliga title wins by rivals Borussia Dortmund and most importantly the 2012 UCL final loss to Chelsea in Munich would prove to be equally important in what was about to come, the history they were going to create together.
Arjen Robben cutting in off the right onto his left foot, you know the rest… 🇳🇱💥pic.twitter.com/0E0dEVbn7q
— 90min (@90min_Football) August 29, 2022
The most remarkable and important year for the Bavarians in this century. Despite having an incredible season, Bastian and Arjen were among the players who had missed their spot-kicks in the 2012 final. They would make up for that a year later, however. Under Jupp Heynckes, the team went on to win the European treble that year, a moment for which the Bavarians had been waiting quite a while.
Bastian winning the ball from an opposition player in the defensive third, the forward runs from Robbery, Bastian distributing the ball towards them with a defence-splitting pass, Ribery toying with the opposition defence before finally setting up Robben to slot the ball home.
Such beautiful counter-attacking play became characteristic of the Jupp era. They won the Bundesliga title and the DFB Pokal. They finally lifted the 2013 UCL trophy, with Ribery providing the pass to goal for Robben. It was the moment of pride and glory the Bayern fans had been waiting for.
Liebe @FCBayern Fans, der Abschied, den ihr mir vor 4 Jahren in der Allianz Arena ermöglicht habt, war überwältigend und hat mir einmal mehr gezeigt, was es bedeutet, Teil der @FCBayern Familie zu sein🔴⚪ Ihr seid weltklasse!👏🏼 #Throwback pic.twitter.com/39N2WiUe5X
— Bastian Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) August 28, 2022
Ribery grabbed the third spot in the Ballon d’Or standings due to his exceptional performance. Bastian was voted German player of the year. The sorrows of the previous year were forgotten, the heroes were welcomed with open arms. At the heart of this success lay the formidable trio who established themselves in Europe with style.
Bastian won the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany, thereby adding to the long list of honours he had bagged already. He ultimately left for Manchester United in 2015, thereby bringing his Bayern career to an end. The robbery went on to play for a few more years before both of them decided to call it a day after securing the domestic double for Bayern in 2k19.
Both of them scored in their last ever league match for the Bavarian giants. Bastian got inducted into the Bayern Munich Hall of Fame. Many players will come and go, but the names of these three will always remain etched in the hearts of Bayern fans, or every true football fan for that matter. Football will need more Bastians, Francks and Robbens in the years to come.
Servus Basti, Servus Franck, Servus Arjen.