As some readers of Bavarian Football Works may or may not already know, I’ve been a massive Liverpool fan since I was about 14 years old (I’m now 27) and have also been a Bayern Munich supporter since the 2011-2012 season. For me, the meaning behind You’ll Never Walk Alone and Mia San Mia go together like peas in a pod and have made me appreciate both fan bases beyond what words can even describe; they’ve both taught me so much on what it means to be a true supporter of either club.
With that said, I’ve endured a great deal of heartache in the past two months up until now (especially now!) with the way in which both Liverpool and Bayern Munich handed Real Madrid deciding goals by way of colossal goalkeeping errors.
The lowest of low points in the Champions League
To cut straight to the chase and address the elephant in the room, it’s no secret that both Sven Ulreich and Loris Karius made colossal errors in Champions League matches against Real Madrid. For Liverpool, Karius’s two massive errors gifted Madrid goals in the final and it was an awkward blunder from Ulreich in leg two of the semifinals that gifted Karim Benzema the go-ahead, winning goal on aggregate. Matches are won and lost as a team, but both keepers are certainly going to have a hard time having those moments fade away, as the repercussions were so costly.
There’s a reason why the Champions League is revered as the greatest competition in club football and reducing the amount of mistakes made on such a grand stage is what separates the great teams from the elite. Unfortunately for Bayern and Liverpool, the errors made by Ulreich and Karius had so much influence on each respective match. By stark contrast, Madrid are a team that are incredibly good at limiting mistakes of any severity; and it’s the difference between them lifting Ol’ Big Ears instead of Bayern or Liverpool.
At a human level, you simply can’t help but feel for both keepers; they don’t need any reminding of what happened. Sleepless nights, constant over-thinking, dealing with the press - all side effects that they have to live with most days of their lives. Yes, they’re professional athletes in peak physical condition, but they’re also humans, too - mistake will happen.
Heart-breaking images that say it all:
We’re all human; Ulreich and Karius included
Ulreich and Karius should not let their mistakes define their seasons. We all know that football is a game of confidence, and it’s incredibly hard to come by after blows like the ones they experienced, but they’re human after all. The support showed by both sets of fans after seeing their respective keeper(s) slip-up emulated what it means to be a true supporter, and offered a template for what to do when these things happen. Seeing the fans still applauding a completely distraught Ulreich and Karius after either match is almost as tear-jerking as the losses themselves; it’s the type of response you want to see in the face of adversity.
Moving on from their mistakes
Despite the mistakes, neither keeper should let their mishaps define their seasons. Both came in to difficult situations in a position where errors are far more noticeable and consequential. Ulreich came in to replace Manuel Neuer; arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, and Karius was the number one keeper for Liverpool as they progressed to the Champions League final for the first time in 11 years; both dynamics require filling considerably large shoes. With that said, both keepers should be able to take their mistakes, learn from them, and hold their heads high for everything they accomplished with their respective sides this season. To echo myself a little bit here; you win as a team, and you lose as a team; plain and simple.
Mia San Mia and You’ll Never Walk Alone, everyone!