Legendary German striker Gerd Müller has died at the age of 75. The forward has scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany, including the game-winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
During 15 years at Bayern, Muller scored a record 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games and 66 goals in 74 European appearances.
Bayern President Herbert Hainer said in a statement: “Today is a sad and gloomy day for FC Bayern and all their fans. Gerd Müller was the greatest striker there was ever, and a remarkable person and figure in world football. We are all united in deep mourning with his wife Uschi and his family. FC Bayern wouldn’t be the club we all love today without Gerd Müller. His name and his memory will live on forever.
Müller started his career at TSV Nördlingen, scoring well over one goal per game in Germany’s lower divisions before joining Bayern in 1964, when the club were in the second division. Thirty-three league goals in his debut season helped restore the club to the Bundesliga, and in four years Bayern became German champions, a title they’ve won four times in five years. Even more impressive was their streak of three consecutive European Cup victories, from 1974 to 1976, to which Müller contributed 18 goals, including three in two finals.
During his 15 years at Bayern, Muller was seven times top scorer in the Bundesliga, twice German footballer of the year and once Ballon d’Or in 1970. He left in 1979 to follow Pelé and George Best. to the North American Football League, where he played three seasons for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, before returning to Bayern as coach. He remains the all-time top scorer in the Bundesliga.
Müller’s exploits on the international stage were no less impressive. After making his debut in 1966, he quickly racked up more than one goal per game, including 10 at the 1970 World Cup and eight trebles. His last appearance for Germany was the 1974 World Cup final, which took place at Bayern’s Olympiastadion, where he scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory to make his country the world champion. His record of 68 international goals for Germany spanned four decades, until Miroslav Klose surpassed him in 2014 (although Klose took 132 games against 62 for Müller).
In 2015, Bayern announced in a statement that Müller had Alzheimer’s disease.
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn also paid tribute: “The news of Gerd Müller’s death saddens 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 a part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football. As a player and a person, Gerd Müller represents FC Bayern and its development into one of the greatest clubs in the world like no other. Gerd will be in our hearts forever.
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