FC Bayern: Man of the Year! How Sven Ulreich once became a hero


Sven Ulreich returned to FC Bayern in the summer and is again in the goal of the record champions due to the quarantine of Manuel Neuer. Confidence in the now 32-year-old is high. That is also due to a time that almost ended in Germany’s World Cup goal.

If you ask Oliver Kahn what he learned from his mistakes as a goalkeeper, give Titan, who has since been promoted to chairman of the board of FC Bayern, some time. Because it doesn’t immediately occur to him. And then he realizes he hasn’t learned anything. “To put it bluntly, I only learn from mistakes how not to do something,” Kahn once said in an interview with Socrates magazine.

He made a particularly big mistake in the 2002 World Cup final when he failed to hold a shot from Rivaldo and Ronaldo converted the rebound. “What should I have learned for myself there? That next time I’ll hold Rivaldo’s ball? That’s a groundbreaking insight,” said Kahn. There were certainly other goalkeeper mistakes of this caliber. Like Toni Schumacher in the 1986 final against Argentina.

Exactly these two errors were recalled several times in May 2018. This was thanks to Sven Ulreich, who misjudged a back pass from Corentin Tolisso in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, giving Karim Benzema a goal to make it 2-1. This is one of the reasons FC Bayern missed the Champions League final and Ulreich felt the power of the criticism for days

Bayern’s Ulreich: flawless in eight months – and then that …

That Ulreich was even allowed to make this mistake was also due to a match in the Bernabeu. In the quarterfinals of the first leg against Real on April 18, 2017, Neuer suffered a hairline fracture in his left metatarsal bone and was therefore out for the rest of the season. Ulreich represented Neuer. Neuer’s return was short-lived as he suffered another metatarsal fracture on September 18, 2017 and was out again until the end of the season. Except for the miserable evening in Madrid, when Ulreich was actually quite brave, Ulreich was an absolute topper at Bayern.

Even then Ulreich was mature enough to properly assess the situation: “I made a mistake, there is no doubt about it. But eight months earlier I had made almost no mistakes and I played a good season. take your milliseconds I reacted wrong in this situation.”

The subsequent negative coverage left Ulreich cold. “That’s how it often goes in sport. You can do a thousand good deeds, but that one bad one ultimately sticks with many people. That’s a shame, but that’s also part of football.” Although there was a lot of criticism outside the club, Ulreich was protected internally with everything possible. It was appreciated that when Ulreich struggled, the world’s best goalkeeper was almost forgotten for a long time. Almost twenty times he did not concede a goal.

Sven Ulreich: Only unhappy under Carlo Ancelotti

For Uli Hoeneß, Sven Ulreich was even “the man of the year”. “He has helped FC Bayern a lot to realize this turnaround. He should definitely renew his contract,” Hoeneß said in early August 2018. And of course, a short time later, there was the signature – the reward for the great work. “He’s there and doing things that are not part of the simple goalkeeper ABC,” said Thomas Müller of his colleague, who has always been highly respected since his arrival in Munich in 2015.

There was only one brief phase where Ulreich felt uncomfortable in Munich: under Carlo Ancelotti. Ulreich’s savior became the successor of Jupp Heyncke. “It was extremely important that Heynckes gave me self-confidence and expressed his confidence. Before that it was really the case that Carlo Ancelotti was not into me, had little faith in me and communicated little,” Ulreich once told the kicker. Ulreich failed, looked insecure – with Heynckes he was #SvenTheWall again, as staged by FC Bayern’s social media department. In fact, he was traded in as a candidate for the 2018 World Cup. Neuer was still not fit, Ulreich, on the other hand, played consistently strong and the national coach publicly praised the former Stuttgart.

“Sven Ulreich has shown impressive performances for Bayern in recent months. He is very strong in one-on-one and has also improved football at Bayern,” said Low, adding: “He is in focus for the 2018 World Cup in Russia .” Müller and other colleagues also campaigned for World Cup goalkeeper Ulreich, but Löw ultimately chose Kevin Trapp as third goalkeeper. On the other hand, there was recognition from FC Bayern fans who voted him Player of the Season. Before Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Co. He is the prototype of a fan favorite. A silent hero, on the spot from 0 to 100 if necessary.

Toni Tapalovic lets Ulreich return

The fans of the record champions were very happy when Ulreich returned to Säbener Straße at the beginning of this season. Alexander Nübel, whose arrival once caused Ulreich to refocus, was awarded to Monaco for two years and “Ulle” returned as Neuer’s representative. He played regularly at Hamburger SV, but when the promotion failed, he didn’t want another year in the second division. When Bayern thought about a solution to replace Nübel, goalkeeper coach Toni Tapalovic stormed forward and advised the bosses to bring Ulreich back.

Tapalovic is not only a confidant of Neuers, but also developed a trusting relationship with Ulreich. “He invested a lot of time in me,” Ulreich once said. The Bayern bosses relied on Tapalovic and it suited them that Ulreich was looking for a new club and now has a reliable partner in the squad again.

Since Manuel Neuer was infected with the corona virus during his holiday in the Maldives, Ulreich was again in Bayern’s goal at the start of the second half against Borussia Mönchengladbach. He hasn’t been the happiest player conceding goals, but still: for Julian Nagelsmann, with countless failures, it’s the smallest person that worries him. Ulreich was also an important point of contact during the difficult summer preparations with many failures. In the test match against 1. FC Köln, he even gave him the captain’s armband.

He will deal with the fact that he had orientation problems here and there during his comeback. If you ask Sven Ulreich what he has learned from his mistakes as a goalkeeper, he doesn’t have to think twice. He is a good judge of himself.

Sven Ulreich: performance data at FC Bayern

contest Spell Goals against Playing without conceding a goal
Bundesliga 46 43 16
Champions League 13th 15th 4th
DFB cup 12th 19th 3
DFL Super Cup 1 2
total 72 79 23
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