Club legends honour Gerd Müller on his 75th birthday
Without Gerd Müller's goals, FC Bayern would not be the club it is today. On the occasion of his 75th birthday, companions talk about what made 'Der Bomber' the player and person he is.
M ü ller ' s stature surprised Maier
How did this whole story of success begin? "What have we got here", thought Sepp Maier when Müller stood in front of him for the first time in training after the young striker had signed from Nördlingen in summer 1964. "He was well nourished", recalls the goalkeeping legend. "He had thighs the size of some people's waist. The way he looked, I thought he wouldn't last long with us." But Maier had already revised his opinion after that first session. "Gerd would sidestep like a wild rabbit on the run, had a great shot from a standing position, and he was absolutely inscrutable as a striker."
Hoeneß failed to stop Müller
'Der Bomber' never even lost a practice match in the 70s. Uli Hoeneß clearly remembers how things once got a bit too colourful for him and Paul Breitner in a little game of 'old against young'. The two firebrands decided that they'd go in defence to make sure Gerd didn't score his seven or eight goals again. "As if", Hoeneß says with a grin. "Paul was lying on his behind on the left, me on the right, and Gerd scored goal after goal."
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge joined Bayern in 1974 and found out how Müller would get angry in the shower when he hadn't scored or, in his opinion, had scored too few goals. The current club chairman enjoyed learning at close quarters. "The penalty area was Gerd's domain. One step forward, one back, forward, back, forward, back -- and at some point he had a few centimetres space, which was enough for him", explains Rummenigge. "He had the ability to react like no other centre-forward in the world." And Müller was also impressive in terms of his technique. "His one-twos with Franz Beckenbauer were accurate to the millimetre. I'd say the duo were like [fictional pranksters] Max and Moritz for opposition. There was no match for them."
Kaiser lauds Müller
Who was Bayern's best player? Franz Beckenbauer or Gerd Müller? 'Der Kaiser' himself has a clear opinion on the matter: "Without Gerd, we would never have had that success. He scored the goals and had the mentality that took us forward. I'd perhaps say Gerd wasn't the best player but he was the most important. Sometimes you get classifications like 'most valuable player'. He was that. Gerd was the MVP. In that respect, he was also the most important."
Inspiration, not only for Hainer
"It's tough to put into words what Gerd Müller achieved for German football and FC Bayern", current club president Herbert Hainer says. "Gerd Müller gave many people inspiration for what they could do with their life. He was about football, goals and living modestly. Gerd was adored by fans throughout Germany, even those who didn't support Bayern. He was one of the greatest footballers, but despite his popularity always remained grounded. Gerd Müller embodies what FC Bayern still stands for today."
Bowing to Müller the footballer and person
Hoeneß has a message for his long-time strike partner on his 75th birthday: "Dear Gerd, I hope you can enjoy all the congratulations and homages you receive for your 75th birthday. You were a great footballer, but above all you are a great person. I know many, many people feel that way too. And every single one of us at FC Bayern feel that way with all our hearts. We're eternally grateful to you."
Franz Beckenbauer experienced everything with Gerd M ü ller, his long-time roommate at Bayern: