Chorus of praise for debutant Ulreich

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Sven Ulreich sat down, poured a glass of water, took a sip -- and suddenly heard his name being called. "Dear Sven," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in his speech at the post-match banquet in Zagreb, "congratulations on your first Champions League appearance." The debutant smiled. "You did everything right today," added the FCB chairman, "you've won and you've kept a clean sheet."

On Wednesday evening Ulreich showed several times why Bayern signed him as Manuel Neuer's backup last summer. The 27-year-old made vital saves with quick reactions in dangerous one-on-ones. He missed one cross, but fortunately nothing happened. "I was lucky because there were two or three situations where I was able to excel," commented Ulreich: "All in all, it went very well."

'A big personality'

The Swabian radiated confidence. "He's kept a clean sheet. Without any mistakes, as it should be," enthused Thomas Müller. Philipp Lahm too was impressed by the keeper's performance: "He kept us in the game towards the middle of the first half. We weren't well-organised in some situations, but Sven was there. That's important," the captain added. "We have to be able to count on our players, and I can absolutely count on him."

Ulreich's aspiration is just that: give everything in training every day, to be ready when Manuel Neuer is sidelined or awarded a breather like in Zagreb. "It's not so easy," explained Pep Guardiola, "you have to be mentally strong." Ulreich is a "big personality. A huge compliment! I'm very satisfied with him." When Ulreich had finished his water he treated himself to a glass of red wine -- just reward for the chorus of praise from all sides.


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