Football

Mueller will be World Cup's greatest scorer

Germany legend Gerd Mueller believes namesake Thomas will make World Cup history

Miroslav Klose is just one goal away from becoming the World Cup's all-time top scorer, but another Germany star has been tipped to top the tally.

German legend Gerd Mueller has backed compatriot Thomas Mueller to become the greatest scorer in Finals history.

"Der Bomber", who won the World Cup Golden Boot in 1970 with 10 goals, told Sport Bild: "I'm sure that Thomas Mueller will surpass the World Cup scoring record because he still has another one or two World Cups ahead of him.

"He will defend his Golden Boot title."

Mueller scored five times at South Africa 2010 to win the Golden Boot and already has three goals to his credit in Brazil - after his hat-trick against Portugal.

Gerd Mueller held the all-time goalscoring record at the World Cup with 14 goals - a mark that stood for 32 years until it was broken by Brazil's Ronaldo against Ghana in the Round of 16 of the 2006 World Cup.

RECORD

Ronaldo's all-time record stands at 15.

Klose recently overhauled Mueller's record of 68 goals for Germany, while the younger Mueller has so far struck 20 times for Germany in 50 caps.

Mueller, 24, can add to his tally when Germany meet Ghana in their second group game in Fortaleza on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

He may not be the most technical player. He may not even impose himself on games like some other players do, but there are few who combine ruthless efficiency with timing and instinct the way he does.

The strikes against Portugal were characteristic Thomas Mueller goals: effective, opportunistic and scrappy.

He is not an out-and-out forward, he's not a winger, nor is he an attacking midfielder in the traditional sense.

Mueller is hard to define even by today's standards, but that's what makes him such a unique and dangerous player.

Manager Joachim Loew has rotated a dozen attacking players in the last four years, but Mueller has always been a constant for Germany.

The comparison with his namesake Gerd Mueller is inevitable and appropriate.

Both score goals in every way, with every and any body part, and do so consistently at the biggest stage.

As a boy Mueller played for TSV Paehl, and in one season scored 120 of the team's 165 goals

A move to nearby Bayern Munich was inevitable and the goals flowed as he progressed up the club's ranks.

Juergen Klinsmann, then the Bayern Munich coach, handed him his club debut in 2008 but it was the German's successor at Bayern, Louis van Gaal, who gave the youngster his trust.

"With me, Mueller always plays," announced the Dutchman.

And he was true to his word, using him as a striker or on the right wing.

Mueller describes van Gaal as his "mentor".

The Bayern Munich man serves as a constantly reliable outlet, a player who will take the pressure off others by turning a poor pass, touch or cross into a goal. And his personality is ideal for the dressing room.

"Even just in terms of the atmosphere in the team, Thomas is extremely important," said Andreas Koepke, Germany's goalkeeping coach. "He laughs out on the pitch and in the changing room before matches, when the tension is off the scale.

"He's always the life and soul of the party and is unbelievably important to our game." - Wire Services.

World Cup