Philippe Coutinho’s arrival at Bayern Munich has certainly caused a stir at the club with the expectation that a world class player of his ilk will impact positively on the Bayern first-team. The arrival from Barcelona does however follow in the footsteps of a long line of fellow Bavarian Brazilians- some absolute legends, others wholly more forgettable.
Bayern’s first foray into the Brazilian transfer market came back in the summer of 1991 after Uli Hoeness, coach Jupp Heynckes and his assistant Egon Coordes took a trip to South America in the spring to scout players.
They returned to Europe and duly signed midfielder Bernardo from São Paulo for as well as striker Mazinho from Club Atlético Bragantino. The defensive midfielder, who was capped six times for Brazil however failed to settle and made only four Bundesliga appearances for the club (two starts and a total of 170 minutes).
Bayern sold him back to Internacional in January. The most interesting story from his short spell in Bavaria came on a pre-season boat trip on the Isar with the Bayern squad. Klaus Augenthaler is reported to have thrown the Brazilian overboard before shouting warnings about crocodiles! Bernardo swam for his life much to the amusement of the onlooking passangers.
Bernardo’s compatriot had a more successful stay in Bavaria remaining for four seasons, although the final two only saw him appearing sporadically. His overall record was 49 league games with 11 goals scored. He picked up a Bundesliga winners medal in 1993-94.
After returning from a brief loan back in his homeland, he fell foul of Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who substituted him after just 32 minutes against city rivals 1860 Munich after a dismal display. He never played for Bayern again and returned to Brazil with Flamengo in January 1995.
If Bayern’s first experiment with Brazilians was hit and miss, their next couple of signings really hit the taget. As would later become the norm, Bayern didn’t sign right-back Jorginho from Brazil, but rather waited to see him prove himself in the Bundesliga (with Bayer Leverkusen) before signing him.
He notched up 67 league appearances for Bayern and scored six goals. He was a member of the 1993/94 Bundesliga title winning side and enjoyed a fantastic summer by winning the World Cup with Brazil in the USA.
Giovane Elber (1997-03)
Giovane Elber cost Bayern the sum of DM 12.5 million from VfB Stuttgart in 1997 and it was definitely money well spent. Elber has gone down in Bayern folklore thanks to the bucketful of goals he scored.
In six seasons with Bayern he scored 92 Bundesliga goals in 169 appearances, won four league titles, three DFB Pokals, and the Champions League in 2001. Until Claudio Pizarro broke his record last season, he was the foreign player with the most Bundesliga goals with 133.
Elber can also claim to have invented the famous ‘Bierdusche’ (beer shower) that happens whenever Bayern celebrate a trophy win. It is said to have started back in 1998 when the Brazilian opted to drench trainer Giovanni Trapattoni after their DFB Pokal win.
Paulo Sergio (1999-02)
1994 World Cup winner Paulo Sergio had already had success with Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma before switching to Bayern in 1999.
Three years in Bavaria saw him make 77 Bundesliga appearances with the left-winger scoring eight times. He attained two league titles, one DFB Pokal and was an extra-time substitute in Bayern 2001 Champions League triumph. Paulo Sergio actually took and missed Bayern’s first penalty in the shoot-out against Valencia.
Zé Roberto (2002-09)
Alongside Giovane Elber, José Roberto da Silva Júnior (or Zé Roberto for short) must go down as Bayern’s greatest-ever Brazilian. He moved to the Bundesliga in 1998 having already won the Spanish title and Champions League with Real Madrid. After three years at Bayern’s Brazilian nursery (aka Bayer Leverkusen), he switched to FCB in 2002.
Six seasons later he was firmly entrenched the hearts of Bayern fans helping them win four Bundesliga titles and four DFB Pokals. He was also named in Kicker Sportmagazin’s Team of the Year three times.
Bayern’s colossus of a central defender was another graduate from the Werkself finishing school for talented Brazilians. Indeed, the defender with the impressive eye brows scored for Leverkusen in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in 2002 (the same year he helped Brazil win the World Cup in Japan/ South Korea).
Five seasons with Bayern saw him become the leader and cornerstone of their defence and he racked up 144 appearances. However when Louis van Gaal took over and couldn’t guarantee him a starting place, he got the hump and jumped ship to Inter Milan.
At the San Siro, he came back to haunt Bayern as he was a member of the Nerrazurri side, which beat Bayern in the 2010 Champions League final.
His time in Germany might be best remembered for the incident where he tried to burn down his own house, but on the pitch Breno Vinicius Rodrigues Borges never really lived up to the recommendation that Bayern sign him made by Giovane Elber.
He arrived in 2008 and made just 21 appearances in his four years at the club with injuries seriously limiting him. After being released from prison following his conviction for arson, Bayern helped him out with a job as U-23 trainer.
Luiz Gustavo (2011-13)
Bayern paid €17 million to Hoffenheim when signing Luiz Gustavo in 2011 and Ralf Rangnick complained at the time that the Sinsheim were being robbed at that price. The combative midfielder made 64 Bundesliga appearances helping to win the historic treble in 2013.
Three seasons at VfL Wolfsburg followed before he moved to Marseille. This summer he transferred to Fenerbahce in Turkey.
The emotional departures of both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry at the end of last season took the headlines, but joining them in the Bayern Munich departure lounge was the long-serving full-back Rafinha.
After five seasons with Schalke the Brazilian looked to hav turned his back on the Bundesliga when he signed for Genoa in 2010, but after one season in Italy he returned with Bayern signing him for €5.75 million.
Eight years and 265 appearances later, Rafinha departed amidst emotional scenes taking with him seven Bundesliga titles, four DFB Pokals as well as a Champions League medal. He will go down in Bayern legend as the most German Brazilian they have ever had.
The man and the haircut became a fans’ favourite at the Allianz Arena following his arrival from Borussia Mönchengladbach. Alongside Jerome Boateng, he formed the mainstay of Bayern’s historic 2013 treble side.
A year later however, his Bayern team mates were to bring him his lowest moment in football with Germany’s 7-1 World Cup semi-final win against the Selecao.
2015 saw him move to Wolfsburg and he now plays under Patrik Vieira at Nice in Ligue 1.
Douglas Costa (2015-17)
Talent was never the issue with Douglas Costa, but his temperament never seemed to fit at the Allianz Arena. Bayern paid €30 million to Shakhtar Donetsk for his services in 2015 and he was seen as the natural heir to either Robben or Ribéry.
When Costa went public with his concerns over his lack of game time under Carlo Ancelotti, Uli Hoeness accused the Brazilian of indiscipline and trying to engineer a new contract/ move away. He was ultimately sent out on loan to Juventus, who have since made the move permanent.
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