Ulreich aims to ‘get stuck in and grow'
Sven Ulreich was the only new face in the squad when Bayern resumed training ahead of the new season on Wednesday. "It was fun and the team have given me an outstanding welcome," the 26-year-old former Stuttgart player reported. "I immediately noticed the high standards in training. But everything else going on around us... it's a totally different world. I'm really looking forward to my job here."
Matthias Sammer said Ulreich's courage, dependability and reliability were impressive, and described the new number 23 as "the ideal type of player we wanted" to be backup keeper, "a player with experience of the Bundesliga, in the middle of his career and with the potential to develop. He's been to hell and back with Stuttgart, his nerves are strong, he's authentic and he's always prevailed."
Ulreich is well aware of Manuel Neuer's status as the undisputed number one at FC Bayern. However, the golf-loving Swabian who keeps two dogs still chose to join FCB after 176 Bundesliga appearances for his first club. "I'm grateful to Stuttgart for my 17 years there, but I was looking for a new challenge. Then FC Bayern made me an offer, and you don't say no."
Aiming to train with the best
Wednesday was Ulreich's first workout at the Säbener Strasse with goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic and fellow keepers Tom Starke and Ivan Lucic. Neuer is on vacation until 11 July. "I believe it's the right step for me," continued Ulreich, "I wanted to train with the best players in the world, and especially Manu. He's transformed the way keepers play in recent years and I can learn from him. I aim to keep developing every day."
The 1.92 metre player promised he would use training sessions to "get stuck in" and join Neuer "in pushing each other. And I'll be ready if called upon." He is also determined to play his part in a successful outcome to the campaign, as his only major honour so far was winning the German U-19 championship in 2005.