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Sven Ulreich explains the pressure of being Manuel Neuer’s backup

Tough shoes to fill for Sven, and he’s had quite a few mishaps thus far.

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has not had the best of it for Bayern Munich since he’s had to step in as Manuel Neuer’s replacement. Neuer’s likely to remain on the sidelines with a broken metatarsal until the beginning of 2018, so Ulreich has been tasked with filling the shoes of the best goalkeeper in the world.

Speaking in an interview at Bayern’s new partnership launch with Audi (via ESPN FC), Ulreich admitted that it’s quite difficult to fill the void left by Neuer:

“If you let in a goal, you know people are thinking Neuer would have saved it. Manu is the world's best goalkeeper so it's not easy to replace him. But I'm not Manuel Neuer, I'm Sven Ulreich. I always give everything, but it is normal that I cannot keep out every shot on goal. It's [Bayern] one of the biggest clubs in the world and it's a very intense time — but I'm really happy to be able to play for a club like this. Of course it's not easy. It gets inside your head when you make a mistake. But mistakes are part and parcel of a goalkeeper's life.”

Ulreich’s shot-stopping ability was brilliantly showcased in Bayern’s penalty shootout win over Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Supercup final in August, but he’s made a handful of mistakes in the appearances he’s made since Neuer’s re-injury. Most notably, Ulreich’s botched attempt at a save on Maxi Arnold’s free kick on Bundesliga match day 6 against Wolfsburg really put him under the proverbial microscope — the strike did have a fair amount of dip and swerve, but Ulreich should’ve done far better.

Since Neuer’s been ruled out, Bayern’s goal difference in the three matches Ulreich has played across all competitions has been minus-3 (4 goals for, and 7 goals against). Mistakes aside, though, Ulreich remains confident that he’s made improvements and said that he’s looking forward to Bayern’s upcoming fixtures, both domestic and in the Champions League:

“I think my next two games [after Wolfsburg; against Paris Saint-Germain and then Hertha Berlin, respectively] were better and I hope my next mistake is a long way off. Really we have to win every game because we are five points behind Dortmund. We have to win our Bundesliga games, and the Champions League games [against Celtic] coming up. I've heard that it's a great atmosphere there [at Celtic], but it will be a normal game for me. It will be a great experience to play in this stadium in front of these fans, and I hope we produce a good standard there.”

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