Tuesday night. It’s getting late in Madrid. Happy, cheering people in white clothing can be seen everywhere. The atmosphere is great. But down on the lawn sits a man wearing gloves. He stares into the green void, has his head down. For the many Madrileneans it is only a small black dot on the bright playing field. He doesn’t interest them very much.
For Bayern fans, however, the tragic figure of the evening sits there. The man who was burdened with the impossible task of replacing Manuel Neuer for almost an entire season. He really didn’t have it easy in Munich. Since his arrival at Säbener Straße, he has often been used on short notice. Frequently he also blundered.
Ulreich had a hard time with the backdrop that once Pepe Reina, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, occupied this position behind Neuer. Criticism kept pelting down on him. But then came the chance. Ulreich had to step in for a long time.
The start was rough again and so scepticism arose. But Sven Ulreich fought for approval. His performance was getting better and better. He held Bayern in the Pokal against Leipzig. Against Paris, he showed for the first time that he can also be the important support in the Champions League at a high level, which Neuer has always been and will always be. These are just two of many examples.
As a fan of Bayern, Neuer was sometimes slipping into the subconscious. There can be no greater compliment for Ulreich.
But now he sits there. Sweaty, sad, empty, cold, completely disillusioned. With the kick-off of the second half, perhaps he made the mistake of his life. His share in the elimination of FC Bayern was therefore huge. His great save should not change this perception any more, which prevented the 3:1 for the hosts.
Shit happens! Ulreich unfortunately joins a small but decisive chain of errors, which consists of significantly more individuals than him. Or in other words: he belongs to the collective. The team as a collective has missed opportunities, made offers for the opponent and collectively did not score the one decisive goal or prevented it.
The entire team must and will grow as a result. No matter how often the near future holds setbacks for FC Bayern. No matter how bitter this latest defeat is. In the end, the boys will get up, wipe their mouths and try again.
And so Ulreich too rose from the cold green of Santiago Bernabeu at some point, because it goes on and on. This was preached by another goalkeeper who failed in an even bigger game in 2002.
Both have in common that their team would probably not have been so successful without them. Ulreich has grown beyond himself. He improved with the ball at his foot, became a beast on the line, gained calm, which was transferred to his front men, and probably played the season of his career.
A stupid mistake doesn’t change anything. Ulreich is not only the player of the month April, because his mistake happened in May. He receives this award because he has risen from critical consideration as a sporadic Neuer replacement to a Neuer replacement with heart, passion and great achievements. Because he has saved Bayern’s ass more often than any internet troll could laugh at him on Tuesday.
But of course also because he played great in April. Against Sevilla, in the Bundesliga, but also against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who could only be defeated so clearly because Ulreich prevented the setback at the right moment.
The Miasanrot editorial staff says: Thank you, Ulle! Thank you for the continued great season, the great month of April and the many wonderful moments with you. And maybe soon you’ll be sitting on the grass in Berlin. Then with ease and composure because you just won the DFB Pokal.
Links of the week
Bayern Munich’s bad luck story a familiar feeling as Real Madrid march on | Raphael Honigstein | ESPNFC
Real Madrid-Bayern Munich tie defined not by mistakes but by beauty and bravery | Graham Hunter | ESPNFC
Current MiaSanRot articles
Three Things We Noticed: FC Bayern Reserves – TSV 1860 3:1 (2:0) | Martin | Dennis