Javi Martinez (l.) and Tom Starke (r.) helped Bayern Munich to victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. - © imago
Javi Martinez (l.) and Tom Starke (r.) helped Bayern Munich to victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. - © imago
Bundesliga

Javi Martinez: "Tom Starke looks 50, but plays like he’s 28"

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez heaped praise on 36-year-old team-mate Tom Starke after the goalkeeper stepped in at the last minute to replace the injured Sven Ulreich against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 15.

"I see Tom every day in training and I don’t know how old he is," Martinez said after the 1-0 triumph on Saturday that took Jupp Heynckes' charges eight points clear at the top of the table. "He looks 50, but plays like he’s 28. He's a role model for all young goalkeepers."

The veteran custodian, who was making his 100th Bundesliga appearance, gave a quick-witted reply to the Spaniard, claiming it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black: "Obviously Javi didn’t look in the mirror this morning!"

Starke came out of retirement at the start of the season following Manuel Neuer’s injury, which pushed Ulreich up the pecking order for the defending champions. When he pulled up in the warm-up against Frankfurt, Starke stepped in and kept a clean sheet.

Thomas Müller joined Martinez in praising on the "superhuman" Starke, while also making a light-hearted dig at his age.

"Tom shows superhuman skills in training," the Germany international said. "He still has the calf muscles to jump high and far enough. Only the hairs on his head are not quite long enough."

Starke may be called upon again on Wednesday when Bayern host bottom club Cologne on Bundesliga Matchday 16.

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