Sven Ulreich is once again the unsung hero in FC Bayern’s victory in Istanbul. Despite his top form, the goalkeeper has to go back to the bench on Saturday.
Julian Buhl reports from Istanbul
After celebrating until well after midnight at FC Bayern’s victory party in Copenhagen (2-1), Sven Ulreich was one of the first to leave FC Bayern’s banquet after the record champions’ 3-1 victory at Galatasaray in Istanbul Player.
Shortly before the exit, one of the noble fans who had traveled from Munich stopped him again. But when this last selfie wish was fulfilled, Ulreich disappeared from the ballroom of the posh team hotel Raffles and went to his room before midnight at 11:51 p.m.
In the speech by CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen immediately beforehand, Ulreich was not mentioned by name this time. After his world-class save in injury time in Copenhagen, he said: “It’s really not easy as a goalkeeper: either you’re the idiot – or you just saved it. Today you saved it.”
Ulreich keeps calm in “hell”.
But even if Dreesen didn’t say it explicitly again: Ulreich once again played a big part in the success against Galatasaray. In the first half, in which Bayern set a negative record with 16 (!) shots on goal allowed, Ulreich kept his team in the game with several brilliant deeds.
In the “Hell of Istanbul”, as the Gala Stadium is also called, he was one of the few to keep calm, especially in the early stages, and prevented Galatasaray from taking the lead on several occasions (7th, 9th, 38th). He only had no chance when Mauro Icardi chipped his penalty into the middle of the goal (30′).
“That was cheeky. I was really still thinking about whether I should stop,” Ulreich joked afterwards in the catacombs of the stadium in a conversation with reporters, in which t-online also took part. He laughed: “But then again they say, why doesn’t he jump?”
Ulreich once again proves his value for Bayern
In any case, Ulreich impressively demonstrated his value for the team and the club. Whenever he is needed, Ulreich is there and you can fully rely on him, Dreesen recently summed up quite aptly.
In the absence of regular goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (broken tibia and fibula), Ulreich has proven this once again this season. He is currently in top form and saved his team important points with his actions in added time in Leipzig (2:2), in Mainz (3:1) and against Manchester United (4:3). But what will happen to him now that Neuer’s comeback is approaching, which is scheduled for Saturday against Darmstadt?
Ulreich: “I know my role”
Of course he is always happy when he plays, said Ulreich: “But I know my role at FC Bayern. If Manu is there and is fit, he will play.” Ulreich, on the other hand, is only intended and planned as a temporary hero at Bayern. “Manuel fought his way back and I’m happy for him because it was just a long road for him,” continued Ulreich. “If Manu plays at the weekend, he will make a good comeback.”
Despite his very convincing performances and his top form, Ulreich is willing to make way for Bayern’s number one, whose tried and tested deputy he has been for years, and to take his place on the substitutes’ bench. He would never lay claim to Neuer’s regular place.
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