Bayern Munich's most important player
There are few other players in the history of world football who you automatically associate with the simplest but also most difficult aspect of the Beautiful Game, which is scoring goals. Gerd Müller was all about goals. Der Bomber never stopped scoring them until the title he was aiming for was won. The phenomenon that is Gerd Müller will occupy people's minds forever, as it's already done for generations.
Oliver Kahn on Gerd Müller: "A goalscorer at its finest"
Current Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn recalls a conversation he had on the occasion of Müller's 75th birthday a year ago when asked he if was glad he never had to keep goal against Müller. "Absolutely, absolutely," he said. "He had an incredible feeling for the situation in the penalty area and how he had to move. A goalscorer at its finest." Kahn had the utmost respect for the sort of players who you always managed to lose track of. "And then the game was over, the striker had scored the decisive goals again, and you were wondering if he'd been there at all." According to Kahn, Müller played in a "very, very important, decisive phase for FC Bayern. The club created its legendary status in the 70s on the basis of players like Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeneß, Sepp Maier and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who were decisive factors along the way."
Sepp Maier on Gerd Müller: "His thighs were the width of other people's waist"
"What have we got here?" was the first thought Sepp Maier had when he saw the young Gerd from Nördlingen for the first time in training at Säbener Straße. "He was well fed," the goalkeeping great once said. "His thighs were the width of other people's waist. The way he looked, I thought he wouldn't last long with us." But Maier had revised his opinion as soon as the first session was over. "Gerd would sidestep like a rabbit on the run, had a great shot from a standing position, and was absolutely inscrutable as a striker."
Coach Zlatko 'Cik' Cajkovski always used to keep training going until his team had won -- and he always put Müller in his team. Der Bomber never lost a practice game 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 said 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 on Gerd Müller: "The penalty area was Gerd's domain"
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 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", Rummenigge once explained to club magazine '51'. "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."
Franz Beckenbauer on Gerd Müller: "We never would've had that success without Gerd"
Who's Bayern's best-ever player? Franz Beckenbauer or Gerd Müller? It's a common question, but Der Kaiser himself has a clear opinion on the matter, as he explained for his long-time roommate's 75th birthday: "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."
Herbert Hainer on Gerd Müller: "He stood for football, goals and humility"
Herbert Hainer once sat with a few friends in Munich's Olympic Park after Germany won the 1974 World Cup to toast the new world champions, for whom Müller had scored the winning goal in the 2-1 final victory over the Netherlands. "It's tough to put into words what Gerd Müller did for German football and FC Bayern", the current club president said. "Gerd Müller stood for football, goals and humility. He was an inspiration to an incredible number of people for what you can make of yourself."