Gerd Müller, born on November 3, 1945, was a German professional player who played for Bayern Munich, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and the German national soccer team.
Müller’s goal-scoring ratio at club and national level was so impressive that he is still regarded as one of the most lethal goal scorers ever to bless the sport. Nicknamed as “Bomber der Nation” or “Der Bomber” for his exceptional goal-scoring abilities, the striker’s records speak for themselves.
With an unprecedented goal ratio of 68 goals in 62 appearances at the national level and 365 goals in 427 matches in the Bundesliga, the German player has set many records and won several accolades during his illustrious career.[wptb id=8657]
Gerd Müller started his soccer career in his hometown, Nördlingen. However, he caught the eye of several major clubs after he notched a mind-blowing 180 goals in one season for TSV 1861 Nördlingen before moving to Bayern Munich in 1964. One of the most decorated soccer teams globally, Bayern was still trading in the Regional South League, a division below the Bundesliga when Müller first joined the club.
After moving to Bayern Munich, it took Gerd Müller some time before earning his place in the squad. Due to his short legs and muscular thighs, which gave him the appearance of a weightlifter, Gerd was nicknamed “short fat Müller” by the then Bayern coach, Tschik Cajkovski.
However, his ability with the ball and intelligence inside the penalty box was of no match, and he soon became the indisputable striker for Bayern Munich.
At Bayern, the player was surrounded by many upcoming star players like Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. Together, they led the German club to an era of unprecedented dominance to become one of the most famous soccer clubs during the 1960s and 1970s. In his 16 years’ spell with Bayern, “Der Bomber” largely contributed to the Golden Era of the German club.
The striker won many titles with the Bayern Munich, namely four German Championship/Bundesliga (1969, 1972-74), four German Cup/DFB Cup (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971), three consecutive European Championship/UEFA Champions League (1974-76), one Intercontinental Cup/FIFA Club World Cup and one European Cup Winners’ Cup/UEFA Europa League.
Gerd Müller and Bayern Munich – A match made in heaven
With a keen nose for goals, lightning speed, and perfect ball control, Müller caused panic inside the penalty area. In total, he scored 566 goals for Bayern Munich, making him the club’s greatest striker to date. The player also remains the all-time highest scorer in Germany’s top flight, with 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games while playing for Bayern.
Between 1966 and 1979, he was the top flight’s leading scorer on seven occasions. During the same period, “Der Bomber” consistently scored at least 20 goals in each campaign. In addition, he remains the only player to be crowned the first division’s top scorer in 3 consecutive campaigns (1971-72 to 1973-74).
Moreover, in the 1971-72 season, the forward scored 40 goals, a record that lasted until the 2020-21 campaign, where Robert Lewandowski managed 41 goals. He also held the record for most goals scored in a single calendar year, with 85 strikes in 1972, before Lionel Messi surpassed this figure in 2012.
On the European stage, Gerd Müller was as fearsome as in his native country. He had an unparalleled talent in front of goals, which helped Bayern Munich impose their dominance in European competitions. Moreover, the player was the ideal penalty-box striker, making him Europe’s top scorer twice (1970, 1972).
During his peak years, the forward collected several personal accolades. He was crowned German Soccer Player of the Year in 1967 and 1969. Besides, he was also voted European Soccer Player of the Year in 1970.
Gerd Müller International Career
Gerd Müller played for Germany between 1966 and 1974 and scored an impressive 68 goals in only 62 games. His goal ratio is unmatched to date. However, it took 40 years until someone finally surpassed Müller to become the all-time top scorer of the German national team. Miroslav Klose broke the record for most international goals for Germany in 2014, where he scored 69 goals in 132 games.
The German forward is fondly remembered for his heroics in the 1974 World Cup Final. He scored the winning goal against the Netherlands to send a whole nation into euphoria. This remarkable achievement made him a legend. He scored 14 goals in World Cup tournaments, a record only broken in 2006 by the Brazilian Ronaldo. However, it took Ronaldo twice the amount of games to surpass Gerd Müller’s figures.
As well as winning the World Cup, Müller played an instrumental part in helping Germany win the European Championship in 1972. He was the top scorer in the competition with 4 goals. Two of the goals came against the Soviet Union in the final.
After the world cup victory in 1974, the player retired from international soccer at the age of 28. He was apparently unhappy with the German Football Association since the players’ wives were not allowed to attend the post-tournament celebration while other officials’ wives were authorized.
Life After Bayern Munich
After his international retirement, Gerd Müller played for five years at Bayern Munich before moving to Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the United States in 1979. He played for another three years before hanging up his boots.
Unfortunately, after his retirement, the player slumped into alcoholism. Luckily, many of his former Bayern teammates and friends successfully persuaded him to join a rehabilitation program. After his treatment, he was welcomed back to Bayern Munich as coach to the youth team.
The local fans highly regarded Müller’s Jersey, the number 9 shirt he wore during his illustrious career at Bayern Munich. The striker’s Jersey and other apparel released by Adidas under the Gerd Müller name is still a fan’s favorite and is widely available in Bayern’s official apparel store.
However, the shirt number has since rolled down over the years to other great Bayern players, namely Giovane Elber and Robert Lewandowski.
Gerd Müller Death (November 3, 1945 – August 15, 2021)
Gerd Müller passed away on August 15, 2021, in Wolfratshausen, at the age of 75. Previously, in late 2015, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The man himself was someone who lived and breathed soccer, and his death has undoubtedly left the whole soccer fraternity in deep sadness and nostalgia.
Gerd Müller Tribute
“The news of Gerd Müller’s death deeply saddens us all. He’s one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern, his achievements are unrivaled to this day and will forever be a part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German soccer. As a player and a person, Gerd Müller stands for FC Bayern and its development into one of the biggest clubs in the world like no other. Gerd will forever be in our hearts.” – Oliver Kahn
“A true Legend. Not only for Bayern Munich and Germany but also for the soccer world. The best striker in history. My condolences to his family, friends, and Bayern fans. RIP Gerd Müller” – Pep Guardiola
“Today is a sad, dark day for FC Bayern and all its fans. Gerd Müller was the greatest striker there’s ever been and a fine person and character of the soccer world. We’re all united in deep mourning with his wife, Uschi, as well as his family. FC Bayern wouldn’t be the club we all love today without Gerd Müller. His name and memory will live on forever.” – Herbert Hainer (Bayern President)
Gerd Müller is the most important soccer player Germany has ever had. Him alone.” – Paul Breitner
“The true glory years of FC Bayern date back to the early 1970s. It is no coincidence that this period saw Müller at the peak of his powers and neither would it be an exaggeration to say that without der Bomber, that success would not have been possible.” – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
“If it hadn’t been for him we might still be living in the old woodshed!” – Franz Beckenbauer
Gerd Müller’s Record
Club Level[wptb id=8748]
International Level[wptb id=8753]
Gerd Müller’s Trophy Cabinet
Bayern Munich[wptb id=8763]
West Germany[wptb id=8773]
Gerd Müller Awards
Gerd Müller has won some prestigious awards during his time as a soccer player. The German striker won the Soccer Player of The Year (Germany) awards in 1967 and 1969. In 1970, the player clinched the famous Ballon d’Or. The player also won the Bundesliga Top Goal-scorer and the European Top Scorer award on several occasions.
End Of Line
Gerd Müller will be remembered forever as one of the best soccer players and strikers in soccer history. His amazing performances throughout his illustrious playing career made him a soccer legend. Soccer fans from all over the world will talk about this great striker over the years.
Rest In Peace, Legend!