German football has always produced great strikers. Some of the very best forwards of all time played in the Bundesliga. Top class strikers like Karl-Heinz Riedle, Ulf Kirsten, Rudi Völler, Jürgen Klinsmann, Mario Gomez, Roy Makaay, Stephane Chapuisat, Giovane Elber, Fredi Bobic, Martin Max, Ebbe Sand, Dimitar Berbatov, Manfred Brugsmüller, Claudio Pizarro, Stefan Kuntz, Klaus und Thomas Allofs, Fritz Walter, Uwe Seeler, Horst Hrubesch or Miroslav Klose would have deserved to be on this list. However, we only name the five best strikers of all time.
#5 Jupp Heynckes
As coach Jupp Heynckes won the Triple in 2013 with Bayern Munich, becoming a legend. As a player Jupp Heynckes was also one of the very best the Bundesliga has ever seen. With 18 years of age, Jupp Heynckes made his debut for Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he scored 50 goals in 82 games. Since Jupp Heynckes wanted to win the championship and did not see the chance to do that with Mönchengladbach, he forced a move to Hannover 96. In three years and 86 games Jupp Heynckes only scored 25 goals. The team was not successful, so Jupp Heynckes decided to return to Mönchengladbach. In the meantime, the club had brought in young and talented players, who were hungry for titles. This turned out to be a golden decision for Jupp Heynckes. He won four Bundesliga championships (1971, 1975, 1976, 1977) as well as the DFB Pokal in 1973 and the UEFA cup in 1975. In 1974 and 1975, he was the top scorer in Bundesliga and scored 168 goals in 226 games during his second era in Mönchengladbach. With 220 Bundesliga goals in total, he is number four in the all-time scoring list.
#4 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is known for being an executive for Bayern Munich. Sometimes, people tend to forget how good a forward he was in the 1970s and especially in the 1980s. With 18 years of age, he joined Bayern Munich and played alongside Gerd Müller in the opening stages of his career. Bayern Munich were pretty successful in Europe at that time and won the European Champions Cup three times in a row from 1974 to 1976. To gain a place in such a great side and play an important role speaks for Rummenigge’s qualities. His scoring figures are impressive, considering he played alongside Gerd Müller at the start of his career. In the following of this post, we will see that Gerd Müller is a legend in German football. Bayern’s system from that time solely focussed on bringing Gerd Müller into finishing positions. This was a disadvantage to Rummenigge, and still he managed to play an important role.
When the older generation retired at the end of the 1970s, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s time had finally come. 1980 he was scoring champion with 26 goals and led Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga championship. In that same year, he was voted European footballer of the year, which underlines his place in world football. He was surely one of the best players of his time. In 1982, he was voted again as European footballer of the year and also led Bayern into the final of the European Champions Cup. Unfortunately, Bayern Munich lost that final against Aston Villa.
In 1984, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge moved to Inter Milan for a transfer fee of 11 Million D-Marl, making him the second highest transfer up to that date behind Diego Armando Maradona. He scored 162 goals in 310 Bundesliga games.
#3 Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is the only active player on this list. The Polish plays for Bayern Munich and is on the edge of winning the scoring title in Bundesliga for the fifth time. In 2010, Robert Lewandowski joined Borussia Dortmund coming from Poland. At first, it was not easy for him, but he exploded in the 2011/12 season, when his rival Lucas Barrios was injured and Lewandowski got more playing time. He scored 22 goals and led Borussia Dortmund to the championship. He also scored three goals in the DFB Pokal final against Bayern Munich. In the semi-final of the 2012/13 Champions League season game against Real Madrid, he scored four goals. With his move to Bayern in the summer of 2014, he was acknowledged as the best Bundesliga striker by far. In 187 games for Bayern, he has scored 158 goals. His performance against Wolfsburg in 2015 is legendary, as he came off the bench when Bayern were down 0:1. Within nine minutes, he was able to score five goals. In the following years, it will be interesting to follow Robert Lewandowski. If he keeps going at this rate, there is a chance he might advance in our list.
#2 Klaus Fischer
Despite his height of 1,78m and his skinny body, Klaus Fischer was one of the best forwards in Bundesliga history. He is known for a lot of bicycle kicks. In 535 Bundesliga games, he scored 268 goals. He played for TSV 1860 Munich, Schalke 04, 1.FC Köln and VFL Bochum. He had his peak at Schalke, where he is still considered as club legend. With 182 goals, he is without doubt the best scorer in the club’s history. Finishing second in Bundesliga in 1972 and winning the DFB Pokal in that very same year are his biggest accomplishments. People also might remember the 7:0 win over Bayern Munich in 1976, when Klaus Fischer scored four goals. His bicycle kick goal in the national game against Switzerland in 1977 was voted as goal of the century.
#1 Gerd Müller
The “Bomber der Nation”, as Gerd Müller is still called in Germany, is the most successful striker in Bundesliga history, having scored 365 Bundesliga goals. Gerd Müller was scoring champion seven times and still holds the record for most goals in a season with 40 goals in 1971/72. At the world cup in 1970, he became also scoring champion with 10 goals. He reached this honour of becoming scoring also four times in the European Champions Cup. Gerd Müller was a key figure in Bayern Munich’s rise, leading them to both national and international titles. Especially the three consecutive wins in the European Champions Cup from 1974 to 1976 are linked to Gerd Müller and his goals. With the German national team, he won both the world championship in 1974 and the European championship in 1972. In 62 national games, he scored 68 goals. Gerd Müller is one of the best strikers, the world has ever seen.