Franz Beckenbauer: "Gerd Müller is the origin"
Tuesday marks the 75th birthday of Gerd Müller, one of the greatest players in the history of Bayern Munich and German football. In FCB colours, he scored an astonishing 1,251 times in 998 games between 1694 and 1979, while his 365 strikes in the Bundesliga remains the record to beat. Franz Beckenbauer was his teammate, partner-in-crime for one-twos and his long-time roommate. With Der Bomber 's birthday coming, it's brought up special memories for Der Kaiser.
Beckenbauer lauds Müller
"I'm often asked about Gerd Müller's importance for FC Bayern and German football," Beckenbauer said. "And my answer is that football is very much about goals. You can play well, but without goals you won't win. Gerd Müller was quite simply the greatest guarantee of goals in the history of football." According to one of the greatest players ever, it was Müller's goals that "launched Bayern into the international sphere in which is finds itself today. Gerd is the origin. In my eyes, he's the most important player in the history of FC Bayern. Sometimes you get classifications like 'most valuable player'. He was that. Gerd was the MVP. In that respect, he was also the most important."
Incredible thirst for goals
The way he scored goals was incredible, recalls Der Kaiser . "He had that absolute desire to score. So much so, that in his eagerness to score he'd even take out his own teammates. I still remember the opening game at the Olympiastadion in Munich against the USSR. Uli Hoeneß was completely alone in front of goal and then suddenly Gerd flew in from behind and sent the ball and Uli over the line. It was his goal, which was the important thing for him."
Just as important as his goals was his mentality and carefreeness. "Whenever we had concerns before a game, Gerd didn't want to know any of it," Beckenbauer recalls. "He'd always say in his unique dialect, 'Ah, stop it. We'll beat them easily'. Gerd was the one who gave me the ease I needed. I was never one to have great doubts, but if I ever had concerns that something might go wrong, Gerd would wipe those thoughts away from me. 'What could happen, Franz? We can do it!'"
Also unstoppable in training
Despite everything he did, Beckenbauer added with a smile that people would sometimes be annoyed with him in training because he kept scoring there as well. "What he did with us was basically an insult, we thought. Sometimes Katsche Schwarzenbeck and I would say we didn't care today, today we'll give him a good thrashing if necessary. But we still never caught him. He kept running alone towards goal. If I hadn't experienced Gerd up close every day, I wouldn't have believed it."
Good friends forever
Beckenbauer himself was a great of world football but still said, "I had the great fortune of playing alongside Gerd Müller -- and also sharing a room for many years. We weren't just teammates but sworn friends. Gerd was like a brother to me. I'm sure people will still talk about Gerd Müller in 100 years. And they'll still wonder how he scored so many goals. He was a phenomenon."
In the footsteps of Der Kaiser -- watch the grand Franz Beckenbauer documentary: