Stats & Links: Player Of The Month – November
It’s not even been three months since Sven Ulreich was “done”. In the bitter 2-2 draw against VfL Wolfsburg, after initially leading 2-0, the former Stuttgart player parried a Maxi Arnold free-kick into his own net. A complete blackout. The criticism that’s been around since Ulreich’s arrival surfaced immediately: The former U21s international isn’t good enough for the German record champion.
A few months later the public perception has changed. New manager Heynckes recommends the club to extend the back-up goalkeeper’s contract, which expires in summer, as soon as possible.
Heynckes’ role in Ulreich’s revival simply can’t be overlooked. He’s repeatedly mentioned, that the constant signals of trust from Heynckes since day one have played a massive part in him getting out of his poor spell.
On the line “Ulle” has always been good, but it’s other aspects where you can see Ulreich’s development best. Last season there were always sounds of discomfort in the Allianz Arena when the ball was played back to the back-up goalkeeper. Now, he conveys a certain level of assurance. His passes are thought through and reach their intended target more often. Additionally, against Celtic Glasgow he also provided his first assist in a Bayern shirt.
In the big game against Borussia Dortmund he repeatedly proved his quality in one-on-one situations. In the 30th minute he made a huge save against Yarmolenko running through on goal. Later in the game he denied Yarmolenko (44′) and Aubameyang (75′) with superb reflexes.
In October, as well as the start of December he showed, that he can save penalties too. Bayern advanced to the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal after saving Timo Werner’s penalty. In the game against Hannover he denied Füllkrug from the spot after the penalty had to be retaken.
For Ulreich himself it’s all the more annoying to be out injured considering his current form. As Neuer’s recovery plan is slightly delayed, the Swabian can underline his important to FC Bayern even further in the new year.
A relaxing situation for the club. Starting goalkeeper Neuer can recover at his own pace, while Ulreich replaces him on a high level. A situation, that was rare in the past. This emphasises the back-ups significance even more.
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