Ulreich's huge saves "keep us in games"
Thomas Müller was named Man of the Match in the breath-taking win over Bayer Leverkusen. His three goals and generally impressing performance meant he deserved the honour, but the world champion did not want to accept the praise all for himself. Speaking on TV post-match, he wished to heap it on the whole team for their performances before singling out one man in particular for special attention.
“We can’t forget Ulle,” the forward insisted when speaking of goalkeeper Sven Ulreich. His saves kept Bayern’s lead secure and ensured progress to the final. With the score still at 2-1, he stuck out a firm hand to prevent Karim Bellarabi’s powerful effort from flying into the bottom corner. When Müller saw it back on replay, he was almost lost for words. “Wow, super reaction,” he said astonished. “He does things that you don’t find in the goalkeeping coaching manual but keep us in games. We can only thank him for that.”
“Outstanding” – “Sensational”
Ulreich was again there when needed in the second half to once more deny Bellarabi an equaliser. The Leverkusen man tried to strike from close range this time but Bayern’s No.26 stuck out a fist to make the save. “There were numerous occasions where Sven Ulreich denied them. For me, he’s outstanding,” praised coach Jupp Heynckes.
“That was a sensational save,” added Hasan Salihamidzic. “I’m proud to have him here and that he signed a new contract. He’s a pillar in this team,” the sporting director continued. It goes without saying that calls for his inclusion in Germany’s World Cup squad quickly followed. For Müller, the 29-year-old would be an “excellent option with a log or arguments in his favour.”
And what about the man himself? He was first of all simply pleased about making it to the final on his 50th appearance for Bayern. “I’m glad I could help the team. We really wanted to get to the final. We’re looking forward to the trip to Berlin. It’s one of German football’s greatest experiences.” He did not want to discuss anything else.
Full focus on Bayern
“The World Cup would be a huge honour for me, but I’m just concentrating on my job here at Bayern. I want to continue performing,” said Ulreich looking ahead to the coming games. “I’ll try to perform for as long as I can play,” he added with the knowledge that Manuel Neuer is on his way back to fitness.
And that itself is one of the strengths of Neuer’s back-up and the team as a whole, as Müller made clear. The team is at the forefront of everything, and whenever someone is needed, they stand up. In Leverkusen that was Ulreich as he saved Bayern to the final in Berlin.