German giants Bayern Munich have continued their tradition of swiping players from their domestic rivals by finalising deals for a pair of stars.
Earlier today (19 January) the Bavarian side confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The Swiss shot-stopper moves from Borussia Monchengladbach on a deal until June 2025. For Bayern, Sommer fills a glaring need that they currently have in their squad.
The team’s No.1, Manuel Neuer, will miss the rest of the 2022/23 season after a horrific injury while skiing. So, the arrival of a keeper with European and Bundesliga experience is useful as Bayern look to compete in the Champions League as well as domestically.
But Yann Sommer may not be the only arrival that the Bavarians announce this window. Bayern Munich are also near to completing the signing of Konrad Laimer from title rivals, RB Leipzig. The Austrian midfielder has reportedly signed a contract with Bayern, per Fabrizio Romano. He is now set to join them in July on a free transfer.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side overcame competition from the likes of Liverpool to secure Laimer’s services.
For many who have followed the Bundesliga, though, this is not a surprising move. Bayern Munich have taken star players from their rivals for many years – with these signings forming the core of their success in recent seasons.
Bayern Munich: the stars that they have swiped from their rivals in recent years
Laimer is likely following two of his former Leipzig teammates to the Allianz Arena. In the summer of 2021 – after Leipzig finished runner-up to Bayern in the league – Munich plucked two of the Red Bull side’s key men. They signed Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer and Dayot Upamecano, severely weakening their direct rivals.
Upamecano has since developed into one of Bayern’s regular centre-back options. Similarly, in 2019, Bayern Munich bolstered their defensive options by getting Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart. The versatile World Cup-winning defender is now a prominent choice in defence.
Additionally, Bayern Munich swiped Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, and Joshua Kimmich from domestic rivals. This midfield trio were all key pieces in the Bavarian’s triumphant run to the 2020 Champions League title.
However, even though Munich pick and choose from across all Germany, arguably no other team has had so many players controversially leave as Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund and Bayern: a feeder rivalry?
In recent years, Dortmund have generally been the one Bundesliga side that can hold a candle to Bayern. Unfortunately, though, they often play second fiddle to their “Der Klassiker” counterpart.
But this is an achievement in itself. Back in the 2000s, Dortmund were dangerously close to bankruptcy, in hundreds of millions of debt. They even accepted a loan from Bayern to help ease money pains. Their fight back to the top of club football is therefore an admirable one.
Despite this, BVB are not a club that can easily spend big, even years after their financial woes. This means that they lose players regularly – even to their bitter foes.
For example, Robert Lewandowski’s free transfer to Bayern is one of the most high-profile moves between the two German giants. Similarly, the likes of Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze have also played on both sides of Der Klassiker.
Some critics believe that Munich’s dominance in Germany trivialises the competition in the Bundesliga. With these recent moves for Sommer and Laimer, it looks like Bayern’s power shows no signs of letting up.
Featured image credit: Getty