60 years of Bundesliga

Gerd Müller: the Bundesliga's record goalscorer


Few stand for Bundesliga records quite as prominently as goalscorer supreme Gerd Müller. The “Bomber der Nation” and former star striker for Bayern Munich still holds an almost unattainable record two years after his death, which struck him far too early at the age of 75.

What do you think of when you hear the number 365? Many might associate it with the number of days in a (none-leap) year. In Germany, however, perhaps every second person is likely to think of Gerd Müller, who scored an incredible 365 goals in just 427 Bundesliga games. Of course, the “Bomber der Nation” is by far No.1 on the all-time Bundesliga top scorers chart, as any seasoned Bundesliga follower would know. And for those who were unable to witness his goalscoring prowess for themselves in the 1960s and '70s, they were likely told it as a child by their parents or grandparents.

Until not too long ago, it was thought that 300 Bundesliga goals mark might never again be surpassed. Only the incredible Robert Lewandowski is in second place behind Müller with 312 Bundesliga goals. Third to 10th place on the list are followed by other illustrious names such as Klaus Fischer (268 goals), Jupp Heynckes (220), Manfred Burgsmüller (213), Claudio Pizzarro (197), Ulf Kirsten (182), Stefan Kuntz (179), Dieter Müller and Klaus Allofs (177 each).

The first chapter of Müller's success story was written as a 19-year-old on Matchday 3 of the 1965/66 season, when he scored Bundesliga goals one and two in Bayern Munich's 4-2 win over Eintracht Braunschweig. The brace is also another category in which the 1974 FIFA World Cup winner is unrivalled in the Bundesliga. Müller scored two or more in 87 Bundesliga games - another record. The Nördlingen native also has the lupenreiner record to his name (a hat-trick scored entirely in a single half and without another player scoring in between), something he achieved seven times!

Watch: How Lewandowski broke Müller's 40-goal record

But even according to the more commonplace definition of a hat-trick in English-speaking countries (three or more goals in a game by one player), Müller comes out on top. He scored at least three goals in one game 32 times, and six times in the 1971/72 season alone! On the other hand, Lewandowski, who is second by this measure, scored “only” 16 hat-tricks.

Müller and Lewandowski almost disputed the record Bundesliga goals in consecutive games, but with his 15-match scoring streak, the Pole again comes out in second, with Müller having managed to score in 16 Bundesliga appearances in a row between 27 September 1969 and 3 March 1970. Müller was also frighteningly consistent throughout his Bundesliga career.

In 13 of his first 14 Bundesliga seasons, Müller scored double digits. The “worst” of these 13 seasons was the first in 1965/66, when he managed “only” 15 goals. A series of 13 consecutive seasons with at least 10 Bundesliga goals is another record, as is his winning of the Torjägerkanone as the Bundesliga's top scorer on seven separate occasions (1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1978). Only Lewandowski has matched thet number of top scorer titles. Müller was also Europe's top scorer in 1970 and 1972, Germany's Player of the Year in 1967 and 1969 and European football's equivalent in 1970.

Watch: The Bundesliga's striker evolution

In addition to all these Bundesliga records and individual awards, there are also a few titles that Müller collected during his time in the Bayern jersey alongside teammates Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier & Co.

Müller was a Bundesliga champion four times (1969, 1972, 1973, 1974) and DFB Cup winner three times (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971). He also won the UEFA Champions League's predecessor, the European Cup thrice (1974, 1975, 1976), one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1967) and the Intercontinetal Cup once (1976). With the national team, Müller was also a European champion (1972), World Cup winner (scoring the winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final) and World Cup top scorer (10 goals at the 1970 World Cup).

The Bavarian boy, who ended his international career early in 1974, scored his last Bundesliga goal as a 33-year-old against Kaiserslautern on 18 November that year. Even though it ended Müller's success story in the Bundesliga, it was only the beginning of a legend that will live on long after his death. The myth of the number 365 will only end when Müller's all-time record is broken. Until then, many more generations are set to hear about the exploits of the “Bomber der Nation.”

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