WORLD CUP : Legend

The most notorious goalpoacher of his generation, Gerd Muller began his career in his birthtown club in Nordlingen before moving to Bayern Munich as an 18-year old in 1964. He made international debut in 1966 against Turkey and quickly established himself in the team.

Muller had a special talent for scoring. Virtually all his goals came from inside the penalty area and most of them out of nothing. Twisting and turning away from defenders and great positioning helped him score an incredible 68 goals in only 62 appearances for his country and 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games.

The World Cup in Mexico 1970 saw “Der Bomber” at his best. He knocked in 10 goals in 6 matches including successive hat-tricks against Bulgaria and Peru. It earned him the Golden Boot as topscorer and later a European Player of the Year Award, but there was no World Cup winning medal to go with it. Italy won 4-3 — despite two Muller goals — in a dramatic semi-final.

A winner’s medal was instead picked up in the following European Championship final in 1972 where West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3-0. The most treasured chapter of his glorious career though was written in 1974. West Germany hosted and won the World Cup. He missed out on the topscorer title, but made up for that by scoring the match-winning goal in the final against Holland with one of his typical finishes — his fourth in the tournament.