Gerd Muller, a legendary striker for Bayern Munich and West Germany, died Sunday at the age of 75.
Muller, nicknamed “Der Bomber,” was the last player to reach double figures in goals at a World Cup after scoring 10 at Mexico in 1970. He notched the game-winner against the Netherlands in the final four years later and netted four goals throughout that World Cup run.
He also won the 1972 European Championship with West Germany and finished that success with a tournament-high four goals.
Muller amassed 68 goals over 62 international appearances for his country.
Some of his feats at club level may never be surpassed. He scored 30-plus goals in 12 consecutive seasons for Bayern Munich, racking up a remarkable 566 goals in 607 competitive appearances for the Bavarians. He finished as the Bundesliga’s top marksman seven times, and his 365 goals in Germany’s top flight is a record.
Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski incredibly beat Muller’s long-standing mark of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season last term.
“He would be the first to offer congratulations, to say, ‘Well done, boy. You did well,'” said Muller’s wife Uschi before Lewandowski equaled the record and then notched his 41st and final goal of the campaign a week later. Uschi Muller spoke on her husband’s behalf while he battled severe dementia in a nursing home in south Munich.
Muller won all of his club honors during his 15-year stay with Bayern Munich, a haul that included four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, three European Cups, and one European Cup Winners’ Cup. He later served as a youth coach for the club.
“Today is a sad, dark day for FC Bayern and all its fans. Gerd Muller was the greatest striker there’s ever been, and a fine person and character of world football,” said Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer.
“We’re all united in deep mourning with his wife Uschi as well as his family,” he continued. “FC Bayern wouldn’t be the club we all love today without Gerd Muller. His name and memory will live on forever.”
He started his career with local club TSV 1861 Nordlingen and ended his playing days with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a team that participated in the North American Soccer League.