Legendary German striker Gerd Mueller dead at 75

Berlin (AFP) –


Legendary German striker Gerd Mueller died in the early hours of Sunday at the age of 75, his former club Bayern Munich confirmed, as tributes were paid to the footballer nicknamed "The Bomber".

"Today, the world of FC Bayern stands still," the Bundesliga giants wrote on their website with the famous club logo coloured black.

During a glittering career, Mueller scored a record 365 goals for Bayern in the Bundesliga during the 1960s and 70s, as well as scoring 68 times for West Germany in 62 internationals.

"Today is a sad, black day for FC Bayern and its fans," said Bayern president Herbert Hainer.

"Gerd Mueller was the greatest striker there has ever been -- and a fine person, a personality in world football.

"Without Gerd Mueller, FC Bayern would not be the club we all love today.

"His name and the memory of him will live on forever."

For the last few years, Mueller had been suffering from dementia.

He leaves behind his wife Uschi and a daughter.

- 'Greatest goal-scorer' -

Former England captain Gary Lineker described Mueller as "the greatest penalty box goal-scorer I’ve ever seen".

"Very sorry to hear that Gerd Müller has passed away. Loved watching him as a child and learnt so much from doing so," Lineker wrote on Twitter.

2014 World Cup winner Bastian Schweineteiger, who was coached by Mueller earlier in his career at Bayern, also acknowledged the striker's contribution to the game.

"Thank you, Gerd! Without this man, @FCBayern would not be like it is today and most of our careers would probably not have been possible," the former Germany captain wrote on Twitter.

"My thoughts are with his family, I am grateful to call him one of my coaches."

Largely thanks to his goals, Mueller made history for both Bayern Munich and West Germany.

He scored an unbelievable 566 goals in 607 competitive games for FC Bayern.

"Without Gerd's goals, we'd still be in our old wooden hut on Saebener Strasse (the club training ground)," Franz Beckenbauer once said of his former Bayern and West Germany team-mate.

Mueller was part of Bayern teams which won four Bundesliga titles and dominated the former European Cup -- now the Champions League -- lifting the trophy three consecutive seasons from 1974-76.

Mueller -- seen playing in the 1974 World Cup against East Germany -- retired from the international game shortly after with a then record goal tally of 68
Mueller -- seen playing in the 1974 World Cup against East Germany -- retired from the international game shortly after with a then record goal tally of 68 STAFF AFP/File

Mueller's Bundesliga record of 40 goals scored in a single season stood from 1971/72 until current Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored for the 41st time in 2020/21 last May.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn described Mueller as "one of the greatest legends in the history of FC Bayern".

"His achievements are unmatched to this day and will forever be part of the great history of FC Bayern and all of German football," Kahn added.

With the West German national team, Mueller won the 1972 European championships and the World Cup on home soil in 1974, scoring the winning goal in the final in Munich against the Netherlands.

After his career, he stayed with the club for a long time as a coach for the youth teams.