Harry Kane has inherited Bayern Munich's No.9 shirt from Robert Lewandowski. - © DFL
Harry Kane has inherited Bayern Munich's No.9 shirt from Robert Lewandowski. - © DFL
60 years of Bundesliga

Bayern Munich's history of great No.9s


New Bayern Munich signing Harry Kane joins a long line of players who have worn the club’s No.9 shirt. bundesliga.com takes a look at six of the very best to do so...

Gerd Müller

Where else to start but the immortal Müller? Not only is Der Bomber probably Bayern’s greatest-ever number nine, he is also arguably the best to have ever graced German football and is a true giant of the game.

Making his debut as an 18-year-old in 1964 when Die Roten were still in the Regionalliga Sud, one division below the Bundesliga, Müller’s goals over the next 15 years fired him and his teammates to the top domestically, continentally and internationally.

Watch: An ode to Gerd Müller

He was the German top flight’s Torjägerkönig seven times, and scored at least 25 goals in as many different campaigns. Unsurprisingly, he was a key component of a hugely successful side that lifted four Meisterschales and three European Cups - the latter of which came in consecutive campaigns between 1973 and 1976.

While another member of this list went on to beat Müller’s record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga term, it will take something almost incomprehensible to surpass the Nördlingen native’s hauls of 523 Bayern and 365 Bundesliga goals.

Jürgen Klinsmann

Klinsmann’s time as a player in the Bavarian capital was short but undeniably sweet. While he only spent two years on the club’s books before moving to Sampdoria, that was more than enough time to get his hands on two trophies and go down as a fan favourite.

He actually only shouldered the responsibility of being Bayern’s number nine for one campaign, 1995/96, but it was a particularly impressive one. Although Klinsmann and Co. were beaten to the Bundesliga title by Borussia Dortmund, the future U.S.A manager finished second in the league’s goalscoring charts with 16 strikes, one behind Stuttgart’s Fredi Bobic.

Jürgen Klinsmann played for and coached Bayern. - Imago

It was in the UEFA Cup where he truly shone, however. In just 12 outings, he buried 15 strikes, setting a record that would stand until 2011 when it was beaten by Porto’s Radamel Falcao.

Had Klinsmann joined a little earlier in the 1990s, he may well have inspired Bayern to silverware during what was a barren period by their standards, but his two-year cameo remains memorable.

Giovane Elber

Klinsmann vacated the number nine shirt for the 1996/97 season, instead choosing to wear number 18, meaning Elber, who made the move to Bayern in 1997, was the next man to shoulder the ultimate attacking responsibility.

It is fair to say the Brazilian was unfazed by what was expected from him. Bar his maiden campaign, when he scored 21 goals to Carsten Jancker’s 23 strikes, he was Bayern’s leading goalscorer in each season before departing at the end of the 2002/2003 term.

Giovane Elber fired Bayern to a string of titles. - Imago

His performances also earned the medals they deserved, as Munich marched to four Bundesliga titles and three DFB Cups with Elber leading the line. There was heartbreak in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League final as Bayern blew a one-goal lead in injury time to succumb 2-1 to Manchester United, but they finally stood on top of the European podium two seasons later, with the former Stuttgart ace playing a key role throughout that successful run.

Such was his status amongst supporters, he was warmly celebrated upon his return to the Olympiastadion, Bayern’s then-stadium, despite scoring for new club Lyon in a 2-1 Champions League victory.

Luca Toni

Toni’s 'DJ' goal celebration has become iconic, and Bayern supporters saw it an awful lot during the Italy international’s two-year spell at the Allianz Arena. After considerable success in Serie A, the striker did not waste time in troubling Bundesliga defences.

In 2007/08, his first league campaign, Tonigol struck 24 times in 31 matches, five more than any other player in the division, as Bayern won the title by a dominant 10 points. He added 11 goals in 10 UEFA Cup games and five goals in four DFB Cup matches - two of which came in the final as Dortmund were dispatched 2-1 - to take his overall tally to 39, a momental return.

Luca Toni made a seamless transition from Serie A to the Bundesliga. - Imago

The following season was not quite as successful as Wolfsburg pipped Klinsmann’s men to top spot in the Bundesliga, but Toni still managed 18 goals in all competitions. He left in January 2010 having barely played in the first half of the 2009/10 term, a rather unceremonial exit for a player who was a delight to watch.

Toni was so popular in Bavaria, German comedian Matze Knop released a song in honour of Bayern’s scoring sensation!

Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic boasted a similar scoring record to Toni. He rocked up as part of a mini revamp designed at redressing the balance following Dortmund's back-to-back title wins under Jürgen Klopp, and, boy, did he deliver.

The Croatian hit 21 goals in 2012/13, including the opener in the Champions League final against Dortmund, as Bayern won an unprecendeted treble. Eighteen Bundesliga goals followed under Pep Guardiola in 2013/14, with only Lewandowski scoring more leage wide (20). Indeed, only one Croatian national - Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric - has tallied more single-season goals in Bundesiga history (20).

Nevertheless, the arrival of Lewandowski later that summer spelled the end of his two-season stint as Bayern's no-frills attacking spearhead par excellence.

Mario Madzukic helped shaped Bayern's new era of dominance. - imago

Robert Lewandowski

If anyone was going to beat Müller’s records, both for Bayern and in the Bundesliga, it was going to be Lewandowski. And, while he left for Barcelona before he could do either, his 41 goals during the 2020/21 campaign is a league record that should remain untouched for the foreseeable future.

Before that, though, there were three seasons in which the Poland international scored at least 30 Bundesliga goals, while he never netted fewer than 25 strikes in all competitions in any campaign.

Watch: Robert Lewandowski's 41-goal Bundesliga season

Lewandowski’s time at Bayern coincided with the club’s domestic dominance and, while it was a team full of quality throughout his stay, it is hard to imagine them racking up as many Bundesliga titles without their talisman’s goals.

His final campaign ended with 50 goals in 46 matches and another league title. As the successor to Lewandowski’s throne, Kane has some very big shoes to fill.