'Starke the octopus' is back

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Suddenly he was back. Some Bayern fans had to rub their eyes in disbelief when they saw the name Tom Starke in the starting eleven against Eintracht Frankfurt. With Sven Ulreich’s late withdrawal the veteran keeper was thrown in at the deep end.

“During the warm-up I found out that Ulle was struggling,” said the 36-year-old, who technically retired in the summer. After Manuel Neuer’s injury he started training again and with Sven Ulreich’s absence he was back on the pitch. “I thought it was all over,“ joked Starke, as he made his 100th Bundesliga appearance.

Praise from all sides

“The game went really well,” said a pleased Starke after the 1-0 win, in which he time and time again stepped up and made key saves to protect the lead. There was high praise from his teammates. “We all see how Tom performs in training. He’s always on form, so we felt very comfortable with him in goal,” commented Niklas Süle.

“To be just thrown into the team and deliver such an effortless performance like that, well I’m not surprised. That sets Tom apart. We can always rely on him,” said an enthusiastic Thomas Müller. Jupp Heynckes was also impressed: “Tom performed brilliantly, especially when you consider he’s 36 and had already retired.”

Starke himself didn’t want to overstate his contribution. “If I’m needed, I’m ready. I’ve already been doing that for a few years, I’ve still got energy.” He proved this yesterday in an impressive manner. “He looks about 50 and is as fit as a 28-year-old,” said Javi Martínez who couldn’t help having a little dig. However, it’s clear Bayern are happy they have “Starke the Octopus” (Süle) as their Mr Reliable.

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