Gerhard "Gerd" Müller ( [ˈɡɛrt ˈmʏlɐ]; born 3 November 1945) is a German retired footballer. A prolific striker renowned for his clinical finishing, especially in and around the six-yard box, he is regarded as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.
At international level with West Germany, he scored 68 goals in 62 appearances, and at club level, after 15 years with Bayern Munich, he scored a record 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games and an international record of 66 goals in 74 European club games. Averaging more than a goal a game with West Germany, Müller is now 12th on the list of all time international goalscorers, despite playing fewer matches than every other player in the top 25. Among the top scorers, he has the third-highest goal-to-game ratio.
Nicknamed "Bomber der Nation" ("the nation's Bomber") or simply "Der Bomber", 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. 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. 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. In 2004, Pelé named Müller in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.
Born in Nördlingen, Germany, Müller began his football career at the 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 '70s: he won the German Championship four times, the DFB-Pokal four times, the European Champions' Cup three times, the Intercontinental Cup once, and the European Cup Winners' Cup once.
A supremely opportunistic goal-scorer, he also became German top scorer seven times and European top scorer twice. Müller scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches for Bayern Munich, almost 100 goals more than the second most successful Bundesliga scorer, Klaus Fischer. He holds the single-season Bundesliga record with 40 goals in season 1971–72, a record that is particularly impressive because unlike other top-flight national leagues, the Bundesliga only has 18 teams and therefore only 34 games per season. Müller averaged a goal per game or better in seven of his 14 seasons. He scored 68 goals in 62 German international games. He held the record for most goals scored in a calendar year, striking 85 goals in 1972, until his total was surpassed 40 years later by Lionel Messi.
After his career in the Bundesliga he went to the United States, where he joined the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1979. He played three seasons with this team, scoring 38 goals, and once reaching, but losing, the league final in 1980. He was a 2nd-team NASL All Star in 1979.
Müller scored 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany. He was Germany's all-time leading scorer for almost 40 years until he was surpassed by Miroslav Klose in 2014, though Klose required more than double the amount of caps to do so, scoring his 69th goal in his 132nd appearance. 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. 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 goal. His record stood until the 2006 tournament, coincidentally held in Germany, when it was broken by Brazilian striker Ronaldo, though he also required more matches than Müller to achieve his tally. 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.
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. 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.
In October 2015, it was announced that Müller is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
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 strangely 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."
The impression that Gerd Müller was not very fast may stem from his short appearance. He did not run very much, but this is rather typical of people with fast-twitch muscle fibers – they rely on short bursts of speed. Speed and agility were always Gerd Müller's greatest assets – and this enabled him to reach an extreme acceleration and be first to the ball. He also regularly soared higher than much taller defenders while jumping for the ball. His team mate 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."
A goals tally in bold indicates that Müller was the competition's top scorer for that season.
Müller scored 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany. His 14 goals in FIFA World Cup tournaments was a record between 1974 and 2006. This mark 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.Bayern Munich
Bundesliga: 1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74
DFB-Pokal: 1965–66, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1970–71
Regionalliga Süd: 1964–65
European Cup: 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1966–67
Intercontinental Cup: 1976
FIFA World Cup: 1974
European Championship: 1972
Ballon d'Or: 1970
German Footballer of the Year: 1967, 1969
Voted best Player 40 Years Bundesliga 1963–2003
Bundesliga Top Scorer: 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978
European Golden Shoe: 1970, 1972
FIFA World Cup Golden Boot: 1970
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1970
UEFA European Championship Top Scorer: 1972
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1972
European Cup Top Scorer: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977
FIFA Order of Merit: 1998
FIFA 100: 2004
Golden Foot: 2007, as football legend
Bravo Otto: Gold award: 1973, 1974; Silver award: 1975; Bronze award: 1972, 1976