Manuel Neuer (l.) and Sven Ulreich (r.) are firm friends despite the former keeping the latter on the Bayern Munich bench. - © imago images
Manuel Neuer (l.) and Sven Ulreich (r.) are firm friends despite the former keeping the latter on the Bayern Munich bench. - © imago images
bundesliga

"Manuel Neuer's clearly the best goalkeeper in the world" - Bayern Munich No.2 Sven Ulreich

Sven Ulreich has not played competitive football since May, but the Bayern Munich shot-stopper says there is no shame in playing second fiddle to Manuel Neuer.

Ulreich has been with Bayern since 2015, when he swapped VfB Stuttgart for the Allianz Arena, but he has only played 44 Bundesliga games in that time - 29 of which came in the 2017/18 season when Neuer was out with a fractured metatarsal.

Watch: Ulreich starred as Bayern foiled his former club Stuttgart in December 2017

"I knew what the situation was when I first signed with Bayern," Ulreich explained to German daily Augsburger Allgemeinen. "It's all good, especially since I had the year in which I played a lot, but clearly it made me restless before.

"If Manuel makes a save during the game the crowd applauds and I sit on the bench and I think to myself, 'boah'. Of course, I get praise from the coach when I make a save in training, but it's a bit different to celebrating with 70,000 people."

Making saves is something Neuer has done with unerring regularity in his career, with nearly half of his Bundesliga games - 48 percent - resulting in clean sheets.

Watch: Neuer at the vanguard of Germany's goalkeeping masterclass

Another shut-out in the 4-0 Klassiker win against Borussia Dortmund and a penalty save for Germany in their 4-0 win over Belarus in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying in recent weeks suggest that Neuer is back to his best. Ulreich might have to settle for praise in training for some time yet.

"He's clearly the best goalkeeper in the world," he concluded. "But that's why there's no shame sitting on the bench here. I'm honoured to be here. It's a world class club, and if I'm the No.2 here I don't have to hide," before adding with a smile.

"If he had a little cold it wouldn't be too bad!"