60 years of Bundesliga

Manni Burgsmüller: Borussia Dortmund's original penalty area trickster


Manfred Burgsmüller bagged Bundesliga goals by the hatful for the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen. He is particularly fondly remembered by BVB fans.

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Dortmund's 5-1 win against Augsburg on the opening weekend of the 2019/20 season had a sombre moment before kick-off. Borussia fans packed onto their legendary Yellow Wall paid a fond tribute to Manni Burgsmüller, a club legend who had died three months earlier.

The striker known for his trickery had played 447 times in the Bundesliga for four different clubs: Rot-Weiss Essen, Dortmund, Nuremberg and Bremen. His 213 goals make him one of only five players to break the 200-goal mark in the German top flight. It is no surprise that BVB fans, in particular, were eager to express their sympathies for Burgsmüller's passing at the age of 69. His 135 goals make him the top Bundesliga goalscorer in the club's long and distinguished history. 

Manfred Burgsmüller also scored 34 Bundesliga goals for Werder Bremen, his last of four clubs in the German top flight. - imago sportfotodienst

"I loved watching him play football. He is the highest ever scorer at our club. A Borussia great," said BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. The man from nearby Essen enjoyed his best spell in football in Dortmund between 1976 and 1983. Burgsmüller smashed in goal after goal, rattling five in one game alone on 6 November 1982, in an 11-1 win against Arminia Bielefeld. "He had the kind of instinct for goal that few footballers have," says Watzke. 

Surprisingly, the legendary goal poacher was never crowned top goalscorer in an individual Bundesliga season. Twice he finished a campaign as second top scorer (in 1980/81 behind Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and in 1981/82 behind Horst Hrubesch). Burgsmüller managed the extremely impressive feat of reaching double figures for goals in 11 consecutive Bundesliga seasons - only Gerd Müller has recorded a longer such series.

The tricky penalty area operator scored his final goal in the Bundesliga on 5 August 1989 (for Bremen against Dusseldorf) at the age of 39 and 226 days old. That made him the oldest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, until the record was beaten by Mirko Votava and then Claudio Pizarro. There is one record Burgsmüller still holds to this day - the oldest scorer of a brace in Bundesliga history, with two goals for Bremen against Dortmund on 11 September 1987 at the age of 37 years and 263 days. His sporting career wasn't finished there, as the irrepressible Burgsmüller switched to American Football, playing for Rhein Fire until the ripe old age of 52 in 2002.

Borussia Dortmund fans paid a moving tribute to Manni Burgsmüller following his death in 2019. - imago images / Jan Huebner

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