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Ulreich won’t let Madrid mistake ruin ‘best’ season

Sven Ulreich sat disconsolately on the pitch after his mistake led to Real Madrid securing a 4-3 aggregate victory in the Champions League semi-final
AFP

Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich insists he will not allow his costly mistake in the Champions League semi-final to spoil the “best season” of his career.

Ulreich completely misjudged a back pass in Tuesday’s second leg in Madrid, gifting Karim Benzema a simple goal in the 2-2 draw and Bayern eventually bowed out 4-3 on aggregate. 

Until the error, the 29-year-old has been outstanding as Bayern’s first-choice goalkeeper since Germany shot-stopper Manuel Neuer fractured his foot in September.

“I won’t let it ruin the season,” Ulreich told Bild in his first interview since the mishap.

“We have had an outstanding season and I have put in several good games at a high level. It’s been my best season.”

Ulreich has kept 17 clean sheets in 44 appearances this season and Bayern are on course for a league and cup double having already wrapped up the Bundesliga title.

However, his momentary lapse at the Santiago Bernabeu led to Real scoring in Bayern’s most important game this season.

With the scores level just after the break, Ulreich somehow missed Corentin Tolisso’s pass, which rolled into Benzema’s path to be tapped into an empty net. 

“When the back pass came in, it looked like Benzema would get a foot to it, so I adjusted for a one-on-one situation,” explained Ulreich.

“But then he went through and I only thought ‘crap, now I can’t get to it with my hand.’

“It was a matter of  milliseconds — I had two thoughts and I didn’t really decide.”

“I have seen it a few times since, it was a mistake because I made the wrong decision.

“In 100 situations, this would happen just once.

“I haven’t made a mistake for eight months… it’s a pity it happened now.”

Ulreich said his Bayern team-mates comforted him after their Champions League exit.

Javi Martinez, James Rodriguez and Jerome Boateng all commented positively when Ulreich apologised in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“The guys have been great, everyone has said that we are a team,” said Ulreich.

“Everyone made it clear: it was not just the mistake (which led to Bayern’s aggregate defeat).”

The shot-stopper still expects to be haunted by his Madrid blunder.

“It’s certain to be a topic later on, mistakes often have a longer association,” said Ulreich.

“That’s also often the case in the Bundesliga.

“You make a mistake, then play eight good games, but the mistake will still be brought up.”

Nevertheless, pundits are tipping Ulreich for a first call-up when Germany’s World Cup squad is announced on May 19.

“It would be a dream to play for my country, but as I have always said, I am not stressing about it,” said Ulreich.

“If the call doesn’t come, so be it.”

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