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All in the head

Chorus of praise for ‘Mr Reliable’ Tom Starke

Tom Starke’s record this season - three appearances, three victories and no goals conceded - represents goalkeeping perfection, and makes him unofficially the best part-time employee in German football. The 32-year-old kept another clean sheet on Saturday thanks to a penalty save from Nürnberg’s Timmy Simons – using his head. “It was great and good for me," said Starke, “I want it to carry on."

On the day after the match, Starke was grinning from ear to ear as he plied his trade on the Säbener Strasse practice ground. The spot-kick against his forehead had left no trace, nor was he complaining of a headache. It's clear Starke is as happy as can be in Munich. He has already claimed a title winner’s medal, and could still collect honours in the DFB Cup and Champions League this term.

Praise from all sides

“I'm a part of it," commented Tom, whose acknowledged role is as backup to Germany's number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. However, when called upon, Starke has instantly risen to the occasion, in a 4-0 cup victory over Kaiserslautern, or a tight 1-0 win in the league away to his former club Hoffenheim. “He's come in, saved a penalty, and kept a clean sheet. He's a great character and a perfect fit with Bayern," enthused FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“Maybe I'll play at least one more game," the shot-stopper mused. His aim is to continue contributing to the club's effort to break the Bundesliga's goals against record, which currently stands at 21 in a season. With 29 of the 34 fixtures complete, Neuer and Starke have only let in 13 between them. On Saturday, head coach Jupp Heynckes joined in the chorus of praise: “In my opinion, Tom has become an even better goalkeeper with Bayern than he already was."