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From Papin to Ribéry

Pavard and Hernández continue French success story

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Aux Champs Elysées rang out across the Allianz Arena in honor of Franck Ribéry for twelve years and even after his departure the French flag is still flying high at FC Bayern. Kingsley Coman signed for the German record champions in 2015, and he was joined two years later by Corentin Tolisso. Now the duo has more support from La Belle France. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez joined the Bayern family on 1 July. The quartet with the two new signings for the defense follows a long and successful tradition of French players at FC Bayern.

Jean-Pierre Papin paved the way to the German neighbors with his move to Munich in 1994. Up to 1996, he played 40 games for FCB scoring six goals along the way. That includes the unforgettable scissor kick in the home game against KFC Uerdingen. Up to now, he has been followed by the previously mentioned Coman, Tolisso and Ribéry (2007 to 2019) plus Valérien Ismaël (2005 to 2008), Willy Sagnol (2000 to 2009) and Bixente Lizarazu (1997 to 2006 with the exception of six months at Olympic Marseille from June 2004). The final two were perhaps the best pair of full-backs in the world for a number of years and they helped FCB win the Champions League in 2001.

 

Bixente Lizarazu on Bayern new signing Lucas Hernández
"He plays exactly the same way I used to."

Now there could be another pair of French wingers with Hernández (left) and Pavard (right) capable of playing on the flanks. Lizarazu, who won the World Cup in 1998 as a left-back just like Hernández in 2018, sees certain similarities in his successor: "I see a lot of left and right backs who have problems defending and are only good going forwards. But Lucas Hernández is good in defense and in attack. He is really impressive has loads of potential. Bayern have made the right choice. He plays exactly the same way I used to."

FC Bayern have had predominantly positive experiences with French players. Tolisso and Coman are already shaping up to continue that history. Whenever they are on the pitch, they show their value to the team and they could provide important help for Hernández and Pavard in terms of settling in.

Moving to a strange city and joining a new club is never easy but it is more straightforward if there are a few familiar faces there. The quartet has known each other for years from the national team and Tolisso, Pavard and Hernández won the World Cup together in Russia in 2018 (Coman was ruled out through injury). They already know all about the Champs-Élysées and they should soon feel right at home at the Allianz Arena when the fans sing their French songs.

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