Gerd Müller, a prolific centre-forward who won multiple trophies with both Bayern München and West Germany, has passed away at the age of 75.
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Germany and the football world are in mourning for Gerd Müller, one of the most clinical centre-forwards of all time and a serial trophy winner for Bayern München and West Germany, who has died at the age of 75.
Nicknamed 'Der Bomber', Müller made history with both club and country. For Bayern, he scored a remarkable 566 goals in 607 competitive games, winning the European Champion Clubs' Cup in three consecutive years between 1974 and 1976, while his total of 68 strikes in 62 appearances for West Germany included a double in the final of the 1972 UEFA European Championship and the winner in the 1974 FIFA World Cup decider.
"Gerd Müller was one of the greatest strikers we have ever seen, whose name is known not just in Germany or Europe but all over the world, thanks to an incredible talent for scoring goals which has been almost unrivalled to this day," said UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin.
"On behalf of the European football community, I would like to express my sadness at the passing of a true great, and send my condolences to his family, friends and former team-mates at this difficult time."
Born in Nördlingen, Müller began his career with local side 1861 Nördlingen before joining Bayern in 1964, where his 15-year spell also brought triumphs in the 1966/67 European Cup Winners' Cup, the 1976 Intercontinental Cup and four titles apiece in the Bundesliga and German Cup.
"Today is a sad, dark day for FC Bayern and all its fans," said Bayern president Herbert Hainer. "Gerd Müller was the greatest striker there's ever been, and a fine person and character of world football.
"We're all united in deep mourning with his wife Uschi as well as his family. FC Bayern wouldn't be the club we all love today without Gerd Müller. His name and memory will live on forever."
Müller, who ended his playing days with Fort Lauderdale Strikers, likewise caught the eye with his individual feats, not least an incredible ratio of 0.97 goals per game in the European Cup – the record for a player having contested at least 20 games. Three of his 34 strikes in the competition came during victorious finals, a double against Atlético Madrid in the replayed 1974 decider preceding a goal against Leeds United in 1975.
He also finished as Bundesliga top scorer in seven seasons, and his total of 365 goals in the German elite remains unmatched. He struck 40 of those in a single campaign in 1971/72, another longstanding benchmark that was finally surpassed by Robert Lewandowski last term.
"The news of Gerd Müller's death deeply saddens us all," added Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn. "He's one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern; his achievements are unrivalled to this day and will forever be a part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football.
"As a player and a person, Gerd Müller stands for FC Bayern and its development into one of the biggest clubs in the world like no other. Gerd will forever be in our hearts."
For West Germany, Müller was no less effective. He finished top scorer with ten goals at the 1970 World Cup, the same year he won the Ballon d'Or, and followed up with four strikes at the 1972 European Championship – where his two goals in the final helped his nation defeat USSR 3-0.
Two years later, he registered another four goals at the 1974 World Cup, including the winning effort in a 2-1 final defeat of the Netherlands to lift the trophy.
"With Gerd Müller, we lose a big piece of German football history," said Germany Football Association (DFB) vice-president Peter Peters. "We are affected and deeply sad. Our sympathy goes to his relatives, who have had difficult times and to whom we wish a lot of strength in this situation. At the same time, we are full of respect and gratitude for Gerd Müller's life's work. For me, he is the best striker in the history of football."