Sven Ulreich is a backup for a reason.
The Bayern Munich goalkeeper undoubtedly will rue the fateful goal he conceded to Karim Benzema on Tuesday in his team’s 2-2 UEFA Champions League draw with Real Madrid. After a fine first-half display, Bayern was within one goal of tying Real Madrid on aggregate score when Ulreich failed to touch Corentin Tolisso’s back pass, allowing Benzema to pounce just 21 seconds into the second half.
Benzema’s goal, his second in the contest, ultimately gave Real Madrid a 4-3 aggregate win in the two-game series.
Ulreich was Manuel Neuer’s understudy in his first two seasons at Bayern Munich, but the foot injury the all-world goalkeeper suffered in mid-September thrust the former backup into the No. 1 position. Ulreich largely has played well this season, helping Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga title and reach the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) final. But his skills, particularly with his feet, pale in comparison to Neuer’s. Players forge “world-class” reputations during key moments in the Champions League. Ulreich only can regret his chance rolling underneath him into Bayern Munich’s goal.
Real Madrid will play either Liverpool or Roma in the Champions League final.
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