Gerd Müller

Gerhard "Gerd" Müller (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛʁt ˈmʏlɐ]; 3 November 1945 – 15 August 2021)[2] was a German professional footballer. A striker renowned for his clinical finishing, especially in and around the six-yard box, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of the sport.[3]

Gerd Müller
Gerd Müller c1973.jpg
Müller with Bayern Munich in 1973
Personal information
Full name Gerhard Müller
Date of birth (1945-11-03)3 November 1945
Place of birth Nördlingen, Germany
Date of death 15 August 2021(2021-08-15) (aged 75)
Place of death Wolfratshausen, Germany
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1958–1963 1861 Nördlingen
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1963–1964 1861 Nördlingen 31 (51)
1964–1979 Bayern Munich 453 (398)
1979–1981 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 71 (38)
Total 555 (487)
National team
1966 West Germany U23 1 (1)
1966–1974 West Germany 62 (68)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

At international level with West Germany, he scored 68 goals in 62 appearances, and at club level, in 15 years with Bayern Munich in which he scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches, he became – and still is – record holder of that league. In 74 European club games he scored 65 goals. Averaging over a goal a game with West Germany, Müller was, as of 11 July 2021, 21st on the list of all time international goalscorers, despite playing fewer matches than every other player in the top 48. Among the top scorers, he has the third-highest goal-to-game ratio. He also had the highest ratio of 0.97 goals per game in the European Cup, scoring 34 goals in 35 matches.[4]

Nicknamed "Bomber der Nation" ("the nation's Bomber") or simply "Der Bomber",[3] Müller was named European Footballer of the Year in 1970. After a successful season at Bayern Munich, he scored ten goals at the 1970 FIFA World Cup for West Germany where he received the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. In 1972, he won the UEFA European Championship and was the top goalscorer, scoring two goals in the final. Two years later, he scored four goals in the 1974 World Cup, including the winning goal in the final.

Müller held the all-time goal-scoring record in the World Cup with 14 goals for 32 years.[5] In 1999, Müller was ranked ninth in the European player of the Century election held by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and he was voted 13th in the IFFHS' World Player of the Century election.[6] In 2004, Pelé named Müller in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[3]

Club careerEdit

Bayern MunichEdit

 
Müller autographing a football in 1967. To his left are Franz Beckenbauer and Werner Olk.

Born in Nördlingen, Germany, Müller began his football career at his hometown club TSV 1861 Nördlingen. Müller joined Bayern Munich in 1964, where he teamed up with future stars Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier. The club, which would go on to become the most successful German club in history, was then still in the Regionalliga Süd (Regional League South), which was one level below the Bundesliga at the time. After one season, Bayern Munich advanced to the Bundesliga and started a long string of successes. With his club, Müller amassed titles during the 1960s and 1970s: he won the German Championship four times, the DFB-Pokal four times, the European Champions' Cup three consecutive years (the first West German team to win it; Müller scored in the 1974 final replay and the 1975 final), the Intercontinental Cup once, and the European Cup Winners' Cup once.[7]

An opportunistic goal-scorer, Müller also became German top scorer seven times and European top scorer twice. Müller scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches for Bayern Munich, 53 goals over the second-most successful Bundesliga scorer, Robert Lewandowski.[7] He held the single-season Bundesliga record with 40 goals in season 1971–72, a record that would be held until Lewandowski scored 41 goals during the 2020–21 season.[8] Müller averaged a goal per game or better in seven of his 14 seasons. He scored 68 goals in 62 German international games.[7] He held the record for most goals scored in a calendar year, striking 85 goals in 1972,[9] until his total was surpassed 40 years later in 2012 by Lionel Messi.[10]

Fort Lauderdale StrikersEdit

After his career in the Bundesliga Müller went to the United States, where he joined the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (based in the Miami area) of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1979.[11] He played three seasons with this team, scoring 38 goals,[11] and reaching, but losing, the league final in 1980.[12]

International careerEdit

 
Müller (right) celebrating after winning the 1974 FIFA World Cup. To his left is Wolfgang Overath.

Müller scored 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany.[7] He was Germany's all-time leading scorer for almost 40 years until surpassed by Miroslav Klose in 2014, though Klose required over double the number of caps to do so, scoring his 69th goal in his 132nd appearance.[13] Müller's international career started in 1966 and ended on 7 July 1974 with victory at the 1974 World Cup at his home stadium in Munich.[14] He scored the winning goal for the 2–1 victory over Johan Cruyff's Netherlands in the final. His four goals in that tournament and his ten goals at the 1970 World Cup combined made him the all-time highest World Cup goalscorer at the time with 14 goals. His record stood until the 2006 tournament, coincidentally held in Germany, when it was broken by Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who also required more matches than Müller to achieve his tally.[5] Müller also participated in the 1972 European Championship, becoming top scorer with four goals (including two in the final) and winning the Championship with the West German team.[7]

Müller quit playing for West Germany after the 1974 World Cup triumph following an argument with the German Football Association at the post-tournament celebration, when officials' wives were allowed to attend but players' wives were not.

Life after footballEdit

 
Müller in 2007

After Müller ended his career in 1982, he fell into a slump and suffered from alcoholism. However, his former companions at Bayern Munich convinced him to go through alcohol rehabilitation. When he emerged, they gave him a job as a coach at Bayern Munich II. He held the position from 1992 until he retired in 2014 due to health problems. There is also a collection of apparel released by sporting giants Adidas under the Gerd Müller name. It is part of the Adidas originals series. In July 2008, the Rieser Sportpark, in Nördlingen, where Müller had begun his career, was renamed the Gerd-Müller-Stadion in his honour.[15][16]

On 6 October 2015, it was announced that Müller was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.[17] He died on 15 August 2021 in a nursing home in Wolfratshausen, aged 75.[18][19]

Style of playEdit

In his book, Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football, author David Winner writes, "Müller was short, squat, awkward-looking and not notably fast; he never fitted the conventional idea of a great footballer, but he had lethal acceleration over short distances, a remarkable aerial game, and uncanny goalscoring instincts. His short legs gave him a low center of gravity, so he could turn quickly and with perfect balance in spaces and at speeds that would cause other players to fall over. He also had a knack of scoring in unlikely situations."[20]

Müller used extreme acceleration and deceptive changes of pace to get to loose balls first, and bypass defenders.[21] His teammate Franz Beckenbauer has emphasized Müller's unusual speed: "His pace was incredible. In training I have played against him and I never had a chance."[22]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

A goals tally in bold indicates that Müller was the competition's top scorer for that season.

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[23]
Club Season League Cup Europe[a] Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Comp Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
TSV 1861 Nördlingen 1962–63 Bezirksliga Schwaben 3 4 3 4
1963–64 Bezirksliga Schwaben 28 47 28 47
Total 31 51 31 51
Bayern Munich 1964–65 Regionalliga Süd 26 33 6[b] 6 32 39
1965–66 Bundesliga 33 15 6 1 39 16
1966–67 Bundesliga 32 28 4 7 CWC 9 8 45 43
1967–68 Bundesliga 34 19 4 4 CWC 8 7 46 30
1968–69 Bundesliga 30 30 5 7 35 37
1969–70 Bundesliga 33 38 3 4 EC 2 0 38 42
1970–71 Bundesliga 32 22 7 10 ICFC 8 7 47 39
1971–72 Bundesliga 34 40 6 5 CWC 8 5 48 50
1972–73 Bundesliga 33 36 5 7 EC 6 11 5[c] 12 49 66
1973–74 Bundesliga 34 30 4 5 EC 10 8 48 43
1974–75 Bundesliga 33 23 3 2 EC 7 5 43 30
1975–76 Bundesliga 22 23 6 7 EC 6 5 1[d] 0 35 35
1976–77 Bundesliga 25 28 4 11 EC 4 5 4[e] 4 37 48
1977–78 Bundesliga 33 24 3 4 UEFA 6 4 42 32
1978–79 Bundesliga 19 9 2 4 21 13
Total 453 398 62 78 74 65[24][25] 16 22 605 563
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1979 NASL 25 19 2[f] 0 27 19
1980 NASL 29 14 7[f] 2 36 16
1981 NASL 17 5 17 5
Total 71 38 9 2 80 40
Career total 555 487 62 78 74 65[26] 25 24 716 654
  1. ^ Includes European Cup (35 appearances/35 goals), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (25/20), Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (8/7), UEFA Cup (6/4)
  2. ^ 6 appearances (6 goals) in Bundesliga promotion play-offs
  3. ^ Appearances in the DFB-Ligapokal
  4. ^ Appearance in the UEFA Super Cup
  5. ^ 2 appearances (3 goals) in the UEFA Super Cup, 2 appearances (1 goal) in the Intercontinental Cup
  6. ^ a b Appearances in NASL play-offs

InternationalEdit

Appearances and goals by national team and year[27][28]
National team Year Apps Goals
West Germany Friendlies – 1966 1 0
Friendlies – 1967 1 1
UEFA Euro 1968 qual. 3 6
Friendlies – 1968 1 0
1970 FIFA World Cup qual. 6 9
Friendlies – 1969 3 2
Friendlies – 1970 5 2
1970 FIFA World Cup 6 10
Friendlies – 1971 4 7
UEFA Euro 1972 qual. 7 6
Friendlies – 1972 3 8
UEFA Euro 1972 2 4
Friendlies – 1973 8 7
Friendlies – 1974 5 2
1974 FIFA World Cup 7 4
Total 62 68

Müller scored 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany. His 14 goals in FIFA World Cup tournaments were a record between 1974 and 2006. This score was bettered in 2006 by Brazil's Ronaldo, and eight years later by German Miroslav Klose, who also broke Müller's record for goals for Germany.[29][30] However, Müller managed to score eight hat-tricks in his international career.[31]

HonoursEdit

Bayern Munich[3][32][33]

West Germany[3][32]

Individual

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Mason, Peter (16 August 2021). "Gerd Müller obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
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  5. ^ a b "World Cup Rewind: Ronaldo sets all-time goals world record". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
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  7. ^ a b c d e "Gerd Müller ist tot". Süddeutsche.de (in German). 15 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
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External linksEdit

Records
Preceded by FIFA World Cup top goalscorer
7 July 1974 – 27 June 2006
Succeeded by