Since the inaugural 1963 season, the Bundesliga has seen many goal scoring legends. Uwe Seeler, Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are just a few names that come to mind. They have contributed as prolific goalscorers not only for their clubs in the league, but at the international level as well. Although the Bundesliga started off late compared to other popular leagues in Europe, its characters, storylines and moments, along with its goals and goalscorers, have always reminded fans of how exciting and enthralling the league has been over the last fifty years.
In the history of the Bundesliga, spectacular goals have always indeed been important in creating the electrifying stadium atmosphere of the most watched professional football league in the world in terms of average match attendance. It was only since 1966 that an award was given to the player finishing the season as the top scorer in the league. The German football magazine “Kicker” sponsored a miniature artillery for the top scorer as the award. It is formally named Kicker Torjägerkanone, meaning kicker top scorer cannon.
Unsurprisingly, the Bundesliga top goalscorers of all time list is dominated mostly by the Germans; this chart includes only one foreign and active player. Since 2000, the Top Goalscorer Award has gone mainly to foreign players, but the first three decades saw the award won by German players mostly. Without further ado, these are the top 10 goalscorers in Bundesliga history.
10. Johannes Löhr – 166 Goals
Johannes Löhr remains till this date one of the best players and arguably the most prolific striker to have played for FC Köln in the Bundesliga. During his 14 years of professional footballing at the club, Löhr scored a total of 166 goals in 381 league appearances, making him the top goalscorer in club’s history. He was the Bundesliga’s Top Goalscorer during the 1967/68 season with 27 goals. Löhr had made his senior career debut from Sportfreunde Saarbrücken in the Oberliga and the Regionalliga, scoring 53 goals in just 60 matches. He also played for West Germany from 1967 to 1972. Later, Löhr went on to manage the West German team that won the Bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.
9. Claudio Pizarro – 172 Goals (and counting)
The only non-German player and the only active footballer on this chart, Claudio Pizzaro stands as the 9th highest goalscorer in the Bundesliga history. He has played for 5 different clubs in his professional career, and two of those are clubs from the Bundesliga, namely Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. Pizarro’s record of 172 goals with a rate of 0.47 goals per game comes from an even more interesting record – he has scored against every Bundesliga club he has ever faced. The 35-year-old was an eminent figure in the Bayern Munich side that clinched the Bundesliga and the German Cup double in 2003.
8. Klaus Allofs – 177 Goals
Klaus Allofs made his debut in the Bundesliga playing for Fortuna Düsseldorf in 1975. He spent nearly 6 seasons at the club, scoring 71 goals in 169 matches. Allofs would then join Köln and score a total of 88 goals in 177 matches, before playing for Werder Bremen in the last three years of his career. By 1987, he was already amongst the top goalscorers in German football history. Overall, the 57-year-old scored 177 goals in 424 Bundesliga games with a goal rate of 0.42 per game. He finished as the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer during the 1978/79 and 1984/85 seasons.
7. Dieter Müller – 177 Goals
The same goalscoring record as Klaus Allofs, but a much better goal rate puts Dieter Müller as the 7th highest goalscorer on our list. Müller scored 177 goals in his Bundesliga career, averaging 0.58 goals per game; this includes scoring 159 goals for FC Köln alone. On 17 August, 1977, he scored 6 goals in Köln’s 7–2 win over Werder Bremen. Unluckily, the TV-records of those goals are not available today as the cameramen were on strike that day. Müller was the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer in 1976/77 and 1977/78 seasons, and helped Köln win the Bundesliga in the latter season.
6. Stefan Kuntz – 179 Goals
Stefan Kuntz’s 16 years of professional footballing in the Bundesliga alone saw him play most notably for FC Kaiserslautern, VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld and Bayer 05 Uerdingen. During those stints, that lasted from 1983 till 1999, he scored 179 league goals in 449 competitive appearances. He was the Bundesliga’s top scorer in 1985/86 and 1993/94 seasons. Kuntz is currently the chairman of FC Kaiserslautern. An interesting record about Kuntz is associated with his international career – with 25 caps and 6 goals under his name, none of these matches ever ended in a defeat for Germany. This stands to date as a German record for the most caps without defeat.
5. Ulf Kirsten – 182 Goals
Ulf Kirsten’s 182 goals in 350 Bundesliga matches all came during his 13-year stint at Bayern Leverkusen. Kirsten was considered one of the most prolific and dangerous strikers in the league, but his contributions for Leverkusen were, by and large, less appreciated due to the club regularly finishing runners-up to either Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich. Kirsten has finished as the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer on three different seasons. He won the coveted EFFIFU Award for being the most prolific striker in the 1999/2000 season. Off the pitch, Kirsten gained popularity through Braun’s sponsorship by which his thick beard was used in the advertisements of the company’s electric shavers!
4. Manfred Burgsmüller – 213 Goals
Manfred Burgsmüller played mainly as a striker, occasionally as a midfielder, during his 17 seasons of professional football, all in the Bundesliga. He played for six different clubs, most notably for Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen, scoring 213 goals in 447 league matches. He was a key player in the 1987/88 Werder Bremen squad that won the Bundesliga at the era when Bayern Munich were the most dominant team in the league. Burgsmüller’s best goal record stands as 27 goals in the 1980/81 season which helped North Rhine-Westphalia finish in the seventh position in the league table.
3. Jupp Heynckes – 220 Goals
Popular as a player for Borussia Mönchengladbach and as a manager for Bayern Munich, Jupp Heynckes is one of the names in German football that will not be forgotten in a foreseeable future. Playing as a striker, he spent most of his career in Mönchengladbach in its golden eras of the 1960s and the 1970s during which the club won 5 Bundesliga titles. Jupp Heynckes was a key figure in the latter era scoring 168 goals in just 226 appearances for the club. In between those two eras, Heynckes also played for Hannover 96. He today stands as the third highest goalscorer in Bundesliga history with 220 goals scored and a goal rate of 0.6 per game. He was the league’s top scorer in 1974 and 1975.
2. Klaus Fischer – 268 Goals
Loved by many for his bicycle kicks and prolific goal scoring abilities, Klaus Fischer spent his entire career in the Bundesliga, playing for four different clubs. The highlight of his career was made with FC Schalke 04. Playing for the club from 1970 until 1981, Fischer scored 182 league goals, which remains until this date as Schalke’s club record. Overall, the 64-year-old scored 268 league goals in the league, making him Bundesliga’s second highest goalscorer, behind only Gerd Müller. Fischer ended his footballing career in 1988, after a four-season stint at VFL Bochum.
1. Gerd Müller – 365 Goals
Any list about German football and goals will remain incomplete without Der Bomber, Gerd Müller. Very few would refuse to call him the most prolific goalscorers of all time in terms of goal rate. Müller is a seven-time Bundesliga top scorer, two-times European top scorer and joint-second top scorer in World Cup with Miroslav Klose. Müller’s rise in Bundesliga and Europe as one of the most prolific and dangerous strikers came during his 15 years spell at Bayern Munich, during which he scored an astounding 398 goals for the club in just 453 appearances. In the Bundesliga, he scored a total of 365 goals with a very noteworthy goal rate of 0.85 per game, making him the top goalscorer in the 51-year history of the league. Today, Müller’s record stands as one of those which may never be broken.