Bayern Munich and Germany great Gerd Muller has died at the age of 75, leaving a remarkable legacy.
Muller spent 15 years at Bayern as a player and remains the club’s all-time leading scorer.
He also led West Germany to a European Championship triumph in 1972 and World Cup glory two years later.
Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at the remarkable career of one of European football’s true giants.
Muller made 607 appearances in all competitions for Bayern, helping the Bavarian club to four league titles, four DFB-Pokal triumphs and three European Cup successes in the process.
Renowned for his close-range finishing, Muller scored 566 goals, making him Bayern’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Indeed, Muller spent his entire Bundesliga stint with Bayern, having come through the ranks at 1861 Nordlingen before moving on to the United States to bookend his playing career with Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
His best scoring season for Bayern came in 1972-73, when he netted 66 times in 49 appearances in total, averaging 1.34 goals per game.
Following the news of his death, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn said: “The news of Gerd Muller’s death affects us all deeply. He is one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern, his achievements are unmatched to this day and will forever be part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football.
“As a player and as a person, Gerd Muller stands like no other for FC Bayern and its development into one of the largest clubs in the world. Gerd will be in our hearts forever.”
KING OF THE BUNDESLIGA
Muller’s tally of 365 goals from 427 appearances still leads the way in the Bundesliga. Across his time in the German top flight, he finished as the top scorer in a record seven seasons, scoring over 30 times on at least five occasions.
Current Bayern star Robert Lewandowski, with 278 strikes in 351 games, is Muller’s nearest rival in that regard.
Only in May was one of Muller’s long-standing Bundesliga records broken, as Lewandowski scored 41 goals in 2020-21. Muller had set the record for the most in a single campaign (40 from 34 matches) in 1971-72.
Muller also helped himself to 32 hat-tricks in the Bundesliga, with no player having scored more in the history of the competition. In fact, no one else has more than 14.
Another record that remains unbroken is Muller’s feat of scoring in 16 consecutive Bundesliga games, which he achieved in 1969-70.
Muller did not save all of his scoring exploits for Bayern, of course. He was also Germany’s record goalscorer until 2014 with a haul of 68 from 62 caps.
His tally – one that has only been surpassed by Miroslav Klose (71), who played more than twice as many matches (137) – spanned an eight-year career with Die Mannschaft, with Muller making his West Germany debut in 1966 and retiring from international football in 1974.
It was Muller who scored the winner for West Germany in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands at his home ground in Munich – his fourth goal at the tournament.
Two years earlier, ‘Der Bomber’ had become the first player to score four times in a single European Championship tournament as he led West Germany to Euros glory – the striker netting twice in the semi-final against Belgium before also getting a double in a 3-0 win over the Soviet Union in the final.
To this day, only two other players have scored twice in a Euro final – both of those have been German (Horst Hrubesch in 1980 and Oliver Bierhoff in 1996).
While he tasted success in 1972 and 1974, Muller’s finest individual performance at an international tournament came at the 1970 World Cup, as he won the golden boot with an extraordinary 10 goals in six games. Only Just Fontaine (13 in 1958) and Sandor Kocsis (11 in 1954) have plundered more in a single World Cup.
West Germany only managed to claim third place, however, with the famous, Pele-inspired Brazil team of that era going on to triumph in Mexico.
Though the four goals he added in 1974 ensured Muller was the World Cup’s record scorer (14) until he was surpassed by Ronaldo (15) in 2006 and then Klose (16) in 2014.