The Bomber

Gerd Müller

Only one striker has run up 40 goals in a Bundesliga season: Gerd Müller, the diminuitive, stocky Bayern centre-forward, who in 1972 set the league record which stands to this day. He was the league's leading scorer on no less than seven occasions: 1967,1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1978. He was Europe's top scorer twice (1970, 1972), German Footballer of the year twice (1967, 1969) and was voted European Footballer of the year in 1970.

Müller collected all these honours with Bayern. He came to the club in 1964, having begun his career in his home town of Nördlingen, where he was born on 3 November 1945. He completed an apprenticeship as a weaver while living at home.

But Müller had always lived and breathed football. He made the break into the big time with Munich, as the club and player proved a perfect fit. Coach Zlatko 'Tschik' Cajkovski was a proponent of a modern attacking style, and his 'short, fat Müller' as the coach liked to call his protege, had an unparalleled talent for scoring goals.

And he elevated his trade to the brink of perfection. The way he took his chances has been described as unforgettable, and soon a new verb entered the language: to müller. Gerd Müller became a synonym for the ideal penalty-box striker, enough to give opposing goalkeepers everywhere a panic attack. In 427 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern he scored 365 goals - a record that, to this day, no one anywhere in the world has been able to match. Muller's goals were largely responsible for Bayern's golden years at the end of the Sixties and in the Seventies.

The 'Bomber' won the championship with Bayern on four occasions (1969, 1972-1974), the German Cup a similar number of times (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971), collected three European Cup winners' medals (1974-1976), one Cup Winners' Cup (1967) and the World Club Cup (1976). 'If it hadn't been for him we might still be living in the old wood shed!' Franz Beckenbauer said of his team-mate, who always remained modest and honest.

Gerd Müller left Munich in 1979 and played a final season with Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the USA before bringing down the curtain on his outstanding career. He returned to Bayern in 1992 and has been employed as a youth and amateur coach since that time. He wasalways happiest in the penalty area, but his true home is at Bayern.

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