Germany mourns Gerd Müller, one of the most prolific and efficient strikers in football history. With both Bayern Munich and West Germany, he has won more trophies than anyone can dream of. Müller had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
“What am I supposed to do with that little fat one?”
Gerd Müller signed for Bayern Munich in 1964, at the age of 18. He thought he would get more playing opportunities at Bayern than at Munich 1860, which also showed interest.
That seems silly now, but then Bayern played in the Regionalliga Süd, while Munich 1860 played a series higher in the Bundesliga.
At Bayern, trainer Cajkovski did not have a good eye for the new striker with his remarkably short legs. “What am I supposed to do with that little fat one?” he wondered. “He looks like a weightlifter.”
In the beginning, Müller mainly kept the bench warm, but once he was allowed on the field, there was no stopping him.
Everything that has become of Bayern is thanks to Gerd Müller.
More than 1200 goals
With Müller, captain Beckenbauer, Breitner, Hoeness and goalkeeper Maier, trainer Udo Lattek molded the best team in Europe. Müller was there when Bayern won the European Cup I, the former Champions League, three years in a row. In 1974 he scored twice in the final against Atletico Madrid. He also scored a goal in the final against Leeds the following year.
Müller was also a goal machine in his own competition. In total, he would score more than 1,200 goals for Bayern in 15 years. 7 times he was top scorer in the Bundesliga. It gave Bayern 4 titles, according to icon Franz Beckenbauer in large part due to the inexorable striker: “Everything that has become of Bayern, it owes to Gerd Müller.”
Müller scored few brilliant goals, but he was clinically efficient. The German verb ‘Müllern’ is named after him. It means something like fumbling the ball into the goal.
Müller scored few brilliant goals, but was clinically efficient.
The nation’s bomber
Muller made his international breakthrough at the 1970 World Cup. Although Pelé stole the show with Brazil and became world champion, no one missed Müller’s efficiency. In Mexico he became top scorer with 10 goals. ‘Der Bomber der Nation’ was born.
In 1972 the first title with the national team followed. West Germany became European champion. At the Heysel, the Germans defeated the Soviet Union 3-0, with almost naturally 2 goals from Müller. In the semi-finals he had already won 2 against the Red Devils.
Müller (center) became European champion in 1972 and world champion with West Germany in 1974.
“Most important footballer in German history”
Müller celebrated the absolute highlight in his own country, when he scored the winning goal in the final of the World Cup. He thus saddled the Netherlands with the greatest football trauma ever.
Surprisingly, Müller retired as an international immediately afterwards. He had then scored 68 goals in 62 international matches. He was only 28. For Jupp Heynckes, who also played with him, he was “the most important football player in German history”.
After his career, he became addicted to alcohol, but with the help of his friends at Bayern, he overcame his problem. In 2013, something strange happened. He went missing at a training camp in Trento, Italy. Afterwards he was found completely confused.
Two years later it was clear what was going on. Muller had Alzheimer’s disease. He slowly languished in a nursing home. He was 75 years old.
In 2015, Müller was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Steekkaart Gerd Müller
Born: 3 november 1945
Passed away: 15 augustus 2021
Nickname: The nation’s bomber
1963-1964 TSV 1861 Nördlingen (Dui)
1964-1979 Bayern Munich (Dui)
1979-1981 Fort Lauderdale Strikers (VS)
1966–74 West Germany (62 caps/68 goals)
– 4x Champion of Germany
– 4x German Cup win
– 3x European Cup for National Champions
– 1x European Cup Winners Cup
– European champion in 1972
– World Champion in 1974
– Golden Ball (1970)
– 7 times German top scorer
– 365 goals in 427 matches in the Bundesliga (record)
– 1,319 goals in 1,060 matches for Bayern and Germany combined