Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said, “Football is a simple game complicated by idiots”. Whether he was right, wrong or somewhere in between is up for debate. But if ever there was someone who showcased the simpler side of football, it was Gerd Müller.
The legendary Bayern Munich and Germany striker, who passed away on August 15 (Sunday), was known for doing one thing well – scoring goals.
You could argue that this is true for any striker. But Müller’s addiction to finding the back of the net earned him several goalscoring records. That they have stood the test of time is a testimony to their greatness.
Modern football is a very different game from how things were in the late 1900s. Yet with this in mind, Muller’s goalscoring numbers are surreal.
365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games for Bayern Munich. 66 in 74 European games. 68 in 62 international games, 14 of which came in the World Cup.
der bomber, as he was nicknamed, never saw himself as the best creative presence or runner. No, his talent was goalscoring – and he was going to do it anyhow.
Müller is remembered as someone who did not have any major physical attributes. Legend has it that he couldn’t run, didn’t have much stamina, but could trap them. This is not true at all.
Müller was Peace – at short distances, ie. But that was all he needed. His game revolved around making quick runs into the box and providing the finishing touch. As such, he has never had the fitness of an endurance athlete.
But an often overlooked feature is its low center of gravity. This allowed him to move beyond defenders at pace and find spaces, and greatly aided his goalscoring exploits.
Gerd Müller and Bayern Munich supremacy – a match made in heaven
Müller’s exploits with Bayern Munich are well known. What is often forgotten, however, is that when he signed with the Bavarian giants, he was nowhere near the force he is now.
Müller signed with Bayern when they were in the second division, winning promotion with them a year later. This would be the beginning of his era of dominance.
Müller’s goals took them to the DFB Pokal, the Cup Winners’ Cup, their first of four Bundesliga titles and three straight European Cups.
Today’s Bayern owe a lot to Müller, something they acknowledged when announcing his passing.
“FC Bayern World is still standing today. The club and all its fans are mourning the loss of Gerd Müller, who passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 75.
“Today is a sad, dark day for FC Bayern and all its fans,” said Bayern president Herbert Hainer.
“Gerd Müller was the greatest striker of all time, and a fine man and character in world football. We are all in deep grief with his wife Ushi and his family.
“FC Bayern would not be the club we all love today without Gerd Müller. His name and memory will live on forever.”
Indeed, the world of football is poorer without Der Bomber. But his legacy and achievements will live on forever.