Despite offloading Arturo Vidal, Juan Bernat and Sebastian Rudy, the German champions boast a star-studded squad, leading to the omission of some bit-part players — most notably Franck Ribery and Renato Sanches.
Wantaway Robert Lewandowski is still hugely important, but look no further than goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the key to success.
This list is not extensive and has been ranked according to varying factors. Some players still with a part to play have been omitted. Performance, potential, the ability to make an impact and influence the course of a game, other options in that area of the field, the ability or inability to replace them and market value have all played a part in selecting the 15.
1. Manuel Neuer
Missed most of last season through injury, but the return of their captain and leader to peak fitness provides a massive boost to new boss Niko Kovac in his debut campaign.
2. Robert Lewandowski
Bayern’s top scorer has banished any thoughts of a transfer (at least until next summer) and will again fire the goals to lead the treble charge.
3. Jerome Boateng
Write Boateng off at your peril. The fact remains that Bayern didn’t lose with him on the pitch in 29 games last season and were 1-0 up in the Champions League semifinal first leg against Real Madrid before he went off injured. Both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain missed a trick by not getting a deal done for one of the best central defenders in the world.
4. Arjen Robben
Fit and firing after a rare injury-free preseason, the 34-year-old flying Dutchman will relish his final swansong in a Bayern shirt.
5. Thiago Alcantara
Could easily have departed in the summer, Bayern will be looking for the silky Spaniard to unlock defences come the business end of the Champions League.
6. Joshua Kimmich
One of the best crossers of the ball in the game, regularly providing the ammunition for Lewandowski to fire home. That said, however brilliant he is going forward, Kimmich still has work to do on his defensive side of the game.
7. James Rodriguez
Hopes are high that the Colombian can follow up an outstanding debut season in Germany. However, he’ll find it more difficult without the magisterial Spanish-speaker Jupp Heynckes in charge. Furthermore, despite a water-tight Bayern buyout clause at the end of the season, there are way too many noises emanating from his camp that he is yearning for a potential return to Madrid.
8. Kingsley Coman
The France winger’s untimely ankle injury in February was a key factor in Bayern’s treble hopes floundering towards the end of last season. Coman suffered an unfortunate reoccurrence in the Bundesliga opener but will return in late autumn to provide the speed needed for the next treble bid. A fit Coman can make everyone forget 35-year-old Ribery, who doesn’t make the list, having failed to score a Champions League goal since March 2015.
9. Thomas Muller
The only Bavarian in the squad, he’s has been below par for more than two seasons and Bayern badly need Muller to return to his Raumdeuting best as soon as possible.
10. Javi Martinez
With Vidal and Rudy moving on, Bayern find themselves short of options in defensive midfield, meaning it’s imperative Martinez remains fit to act as a reassuring shield in front of a potentially creaky backline.
11. Mats Hummels
Not the quickest but certainly one of the most elegant centre-backs in the game today.
12. Leon Goretzka
The supremely talented 23-year-old free transfer signing from Schalke could easily have joined Barcelona, but opted to move to Bavaria intent on starting his club silverware collection.
13. Corentin Tolisso
Buoyed by winning the World Cup with France, Bayern’s record signing might enjoy extra game time in a deeper role following Vidal’s Auf Wiedersehen.
14. David Alaba
The Austrian’s star has been on the wane in recent seasons and would benefit from more competition for his spot than the disappointing Juan Bernat could provide.
15. Niklas Sule
It’s a matter of time before Bayern’s youngest centre-back will replace either of his elders as the defensive rock for club and country.