Top 100 World Cup Moments (From the Aussie P.O.V.): 62-Das Bomber! (1974)

Ok if you could for a moment picture Ron Jeremy in a 1970s German strip. Now picture him as an alcoholic with a big mo. Now picture him as a record goal poacher for Germany and (until 2006) the World Cup. Now mix that all together and whip lightly for over a minute and you’ll get Gerd Muller. The barrel-chested surly striker started off with his hometown club TSV 1861 Nordlingen before moving to Bayern Munich at age 19 where he played a part in their dominating side that won three European Cups in a row and numerous other titles.

For West Germany he got his chance in the side following the 1966 World Cup when new blood was needed. Much like his club record, Muller was unstoppable for his country and scored a goal a game. He had scored 17 goals in 19 games when the 1970 World Cup came along. Would this be the time when Muller would be found out?

Hardly. Despite being squat, awkward looking and not exactly fast he had major plusses to his game. His burst of speed over short distances was unbeatable while his squat legs gave him a low centre of gravity which meant he could turn a much more athletic player inside out.

At the 1970 World Cup Muller was unstoppable. He scored in the opening match against Morocco (a 2-1 victory) and then scored hat tricks against both Bulgaria and Peru. In the quarter finals he scored the winner for the West Germans in extra time to complete their amazing comeback against the holders England and then scored twice in the classic 4-3 loss to Italy in the semi-finals. He ended up with 10 goals and the golden boot, his 10 goals in one tournament have only been topped by Just Fontaine in 1938 and the Hungarian Sandor Kocsis in 1954.

In between World Cups the West Germans won the European Championship (Muller scoring 4 goals in two games including the final) and hosted the 1974 World Cup with much expectation on doing the double. Whilst still at the top of his game at club level Muller initially struggled in the opening round with only one goal in three games (that being against Australia). In the second round he again lacked the prolific tap-in form of 1970 but his goals were still vital, a late goal in the 2-0 over Yugoslavia and then the winner in the 1-0 virtual semi-final against Poland that sent West Germany in to the final.

Against the magical Dutch side Muller made sure his last ever goal for West Germany would be the most important of his career. With minutes to go before half time and the score locked 1-1 a fine piece of textbook poaching by Muller put West Germany ahead 2-1. West Germany held on and had won the World Cup with Muller to thank. His goal in the final was also his 14th which set a new all-time goal record for the World Cup, a record that was broken by Ronaldo in the 2006 World Cup (ironically) in Germany.

In all he played for West Germany 62 times and scored an amazing 68 goals with a World Cup winners medal, third placed medal and some 13 trophies with Bayern Munich including the 1970 European Footballer of the Year gong and three European cups. Following his retirement from international football Muller would play on for Bayern Munich until 1979, when he jumped ship to the US and played with Fort Lauderdale until 1982. Following his retirement Muller struggled with life and football.  He slipped into alcoholism and nearly ruined his life if not for the help of his former Bayern Munich teammates who got him into rehab along with a job as an assistant coach with the Bayern Munich B team, where he still is to this day.

Like Puskas he wasn’t the model athlete that you get today but his goal scoring record is unquestionable and is one of the greats through his dour effectiveness in the biggest of big games, and that surely is a memorable moment.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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