As the football world mourns Gerd Müller, UEFA.com pays tribute to his incredible goals-per-game record in the European Cup.
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Gerd Müller, who has passed away at the age of 75, left an indelible legacy on the European game. As football remembers his superb achievements, strikers everywhere still compete to match his goals-per-game ratio in the European Cup.
'Der Bomber' was the prolific spearhead of a Bayern side that won the club's first three European titles in consecutive seasons between 1973/74 and 1975/76. Altogether, he managed 34 goals in the continent's flagship club competition, including a double in the 4-0 defeat of Atlético Madrid in the replayed 1974 final and Bayern's second as they saw off Leeds United 2-0 in the decider the following year.
More impressively, Müller rattled in his 34 strikes in just 35 games – giving him a goals-per-game ratio of 0.97. Among players to have contested at least 20 matches in the UEFA Champions League/European Champion Clubs' Cup, he stands well clear of his nearest challenger, former AC Milan and Juventus forward José Altafini (0.86).
Müller's closest rival on the list among active players is Harry Kane, whose ratio of 0.83 represents 20 goals from 24 appearances. However, Erling Haaland will be aiming to set a new standard this season. The 21-year-old Dortmund striker has fired 20 goals in 16 UEFA Champions League matches, for a tally of 1.25 per game, and will surpass Müller's standard even if he fails to find the net in his next four outings.
Top goals-per-game averages in UEFA Champions League/European Champion Clubs' Cup*
0.97: Gerd Müller (Bayern München) – 34 goals in 35 games
0.86: José Altafini (Milan, Juventus) – 24 goals in 28 games
0.85: Ferenc Puskás (Budapest Honvéd, Real Madrid) – 35 goals in 41 games
0.84: Alfredo Di Stéfano (Real Madrid) – 49 goals in 58 games
0.83: Harry Kane (Tottenham) – 20 goals in 24 games
0.82: José Águas (Benfica, Austria Wien) – 18 goals in 22 games
0.81: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 120 goals in 149 games
0.76: Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 134 goals in 176 games
0.76: Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern München) – 73 in 96 games
0.76: Jean-Pierre Papin (Marseille, AC Milan, Bayern München) – 28 goals in 37 games
0.75: Eusébio (Benfica) – 47 goals in 63 games
0.74: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV, Manchester United, Real Madrid) – 60 goals in 81 games
*Only players who have featured in 20 or more matches are included in this list