Sven Ulreich returns to the Bayern Munich goal as Manuel Neuer is ruled out for a fortnight. - © imago images / imagebroker
Sven Ulreich returns to the Bayern Munich goal as Manuel Neuer is ruled out for a fortnight. - © imago images / imagebroker

Sven Ulreich: Bayern Munich's reliable returning goalkeeper

With Bayern Munich No.1 Manuel Neuer ruled out for a fortnight with a calf injury, the record champions will once to turn to Sven Ulreich in the critical stages of the Bundesliga season.

Neuer, 33, will definitely miss next week's Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen, the DFB Cup semi-final against the same opposition a few days later, the Matchday 31 clash against Nuremberg and potentially the Matchday 32 meeting with Hannover.

Bayern have a slender single-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table and losing their first-choice custodian is hardly the best news coach Niko Kovac could have received. However, with Ulreich to fall back on, he need not be overly concerned; Ulreich is, after all, Bayern's reigning Player of the Season.

Ulreich replaced Neuer for almost all of the 2017/18 campaign, and was later voted Bayern Munich's Player of the Season. - imago images / MIS

Neuer was sidelined with a broken foot in September 2017 and when it became clear that he was going to miss the entire first half of the season, the record champions did not panic. They had no reason to either, with Ulreich waiting in the wings and ready to do what he had been bought from VfB Stuttgart to do: ensure Neuer would not be missed when absent.

Ulreich had joined Bayern from Stuttgart in the summer of 2015, but he had only pulled on the first-team gloves six times in the Bundesliga prior to the 2017/18 campaign. That changed when Neuer spent practically the whole of last season on the sidelines, but not only did Ulreich step up to the plate, he hit anything opposition strikers aimed at him out of the ballpark as Bayern successfully defended their Bundesliga title, repelling more than 72 per cent of shots on his goal.

That record ensured his contribution to Bayern's silverware collection was significant, and he finished ahead of Joshua Kimmich and James Rodriguez in a fans' poll for Player of the Season.

Ulreich helped Bayern to the 2017/18 Bundesliga title, and is now bidding to do the same again. - Getty Images

With arguably the safest back-up hands in world football, Bayern can head into the season's run-in with confidence as 30-year-old Ulreich steps in once again, looking to see his team-mates safely home to a seventh straight Bundesliga title.