Sven Ulreich featured for Bayern Munich for the first time since the first round DFB-Pokal win over Bremer SV in the 2-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach to open the Rückrunde. Manuel Neuer was unavailable for selection as he was still in coronavirus quarantine in the Maldives, but he’s since returned to Munich and Sabener Strasse.
For what it’s worth, having not played since the end of August, it was always going to be a difficult task for Ulreich to step in a do a job, but neither of Gladbach’s goals were really his fault and, as a collective, Bayern just wasn’t good enough to take full points, or even one point for that matter.
There’s certainly an argument to be had that if Neuer had been in goal, perhaps two goals wouldn’t have been let in, but that’s all just a fugazi at this point. Ulreich recently expressed his concern for the DFL letting the Gladbach match go ahead with all of the corona cases Bayern had, but in a recent interview with Bild, Neuer’s backup was able to stay in a light hearted mood.
In the interview, Ulreich joked about the sentiment that former manager Pep Guardiola had put forward back when he was Bayern manager in playing Neuer in midfield instead of in goal. Julian Nagelsmann was not spoiled for choice at all with the players he had available for selection for the ‘Gladbach match and really had to tap into Bayern’s youth to have enough players to compose a full squad. Ulreich joked that Neuer could’ve deputized an outfield position had he been available for selection and not quarantined in the Maldives. “It’s always a nice gimmick for the media. In my opinion, Manu is the best goalkeeper in the world in terms of football, and theoretically he could also play in the field. He would have the necessary physique, and from his footballing class he would certainly be able to do it. Unfortunately we didn’t have him, otherwise we could have made an interesting line-up in theory - me in goal and he on the six or something,” Ulreich said.
Ulreich also has zero doubts that Neuer will eventually sign another contract extension at Bayern, with his current contract with the club expiring next year. With the way he performs day in and day out on the training pitch and in matches, Ulreich feels that his compatriot will be Bayern’s number one keeper for at least a few more years. “I don’t know how long he wants — but why should he think about quitting? I see him in training all the time, he’s in top shape. It has a tremendous quality that it calls up every week. I think he can play for a few more years,” he explained, regardless of what that means for his own fortunes of getting playing minutes.