Nördlingen honours Gerd Müller
Gerd Müller's hometown of Nördlingen has erected a statue of him as an eternal reminder of FC Bayern's unique striker idol. In addition to widow Uschi, daughter Nicole and other relatives, Bayern president Herbert Hainer and honorary president Uli Hoeneß – a former teammate of Der Bomber – also travelled to Nördlingen for the ceremonial unveiling on the occasion of his birthday. Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder and former companions such as Sepp Maier, Franz 'Bulle' Roth, Peter Kupferschmidt, Rainer Zobel and Werner Kern were also present. Müller would have turned 77 on 3 November, but he died a year ago in August.
It was "a wonderful gesture on the part of the city to honour Gerd Müller with his own memorial, because there were few footballers like him who inspired entire generations," said Hainer in his speech: "Gerd Müller was unique on the pitch and beyond. A modest idol, a quiet hero, a role model." In front of around 150 invited guests, the Bayern president referred to the special circumstances in Nördlingen that paved the way for the young Gerd: "The cobblestones in the streets of his hometown made Müller a footballer that people all over the world still rave about today. He managed to score the most impossible goals because he learned from childhood, right on his doorstep, to master even the balls that everyone else missed." Nördlingen, says Hainer, "is the place that brought a world star on his way, as a footballer and as a person, because in his hometown he learned from his childhood to always remain down-to-earth."
"There will never be a player like him again"
Müller made history - with the Germany national team and above all with FC Bayern. He won the European Cup three times and also the Intercontinental Cup with the Munich team, and he was a world and European champion with Germany. "There was never a player like him before, not after - and there never will be again," Hainer said, recalling an anecdote once told by Dutchman Arie Haan, Müller's opponent in the 1974 World Cup final in Munich, which Germany won after a typical Müller goal: "As a defender, Haan said, you always knew with a striker, okay, he has a strong right foot, he always makes a certain turn, watch out for his heading, he's quick and so on... With Gerd Müller you only had to watch out for one thing: his nose! And you see the problem - it's impossible to watch out for a nose..." Without Müller and his many, many goals, Hainer said, "FC Bayern would never have become what it is today. FC Bayern fans and football fans around the globe will remember him forever - and with him his hometown of Nördlingen - the proverbial home of all goals, because 'Hadde', as you call him here, grew up between five massive city gates."
The Nördlinger Ries, Hainer said at the end of his speech, was once formed by the impact of a meteorite. "If people had lived back then, they would have heard this impact in Australia. And it's the same with Gerd Müller: a man from Nördlingen who moved the whole world. Dear Gerd, thank you for everything you have given to football and to us!"
Gerd Müller also received a special honour with a new award in his name: