Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has told ESPN FC he has to fill the boots of “the world’s best” as he stands in for the injured Manuel Neuer.
Speaking at the launch of Bayern’s new partnership with Audi, Ulreich said: “If you let in a goal, you know people are thinking Neuer would have saved it.”
Germany goalkeeper Neuer, 31, was injured in training last month and will be out for at least six months.
And Ulreich, 29, said: “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.
“I’ve learned so much from him in training. I’ve improved my technique, my kicking, my shot-stopping and my reactions.”
Heated exchange on goalkeeping today with Bayern number one Sven Ulreich pic.twitter.com/SAwZwMgDz3
— Mark Lovell (@LovellLowdown) October 11, 2017
Ulreich, who joined the Bundesliga champions from Stuttgart in 2015, added: “It’s different at Bayern because you don’t see much action during games.
“At Stuttgart, you had to deal with shots from the first minute, which is good for a goalkeeper. At Bayern, you might get only one shot on goal and you have to save it. If you do not save that shot, you are in trouble.
“It’s 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.”
Ulreich allowed a speculative Maxi Arnold free kick to slip away from him in the home draw with Wolfsburg that proved to be Carlo Ancelotti’s final league game in charge.
“Of course it’s not easy,” he said. “It gets inside your head when you make a mistake. But mistakes are part and parcel of a goalkeeper’s life.
“I think my next two games were better and I hope my next mistake is a long way off.”
Ulreich was limited to only 40 minutes of Bundesliga action under former boss Pep Guardiola but said: “Pep was very positive and said exactly what he wanted from the players.
“Every training session was at a very high level and he demanded more, more, more. He was a great trainer.
“Ancelotti didn’t speak much but had good tactical plans. [New interim coach] Jupp Heynckes’ first training session was very good and very intensive — and I hope it stays that way.”
Bayern host Freiburg on Saturday in the first game of Heynckes’ fourth spell in charge, looking to close the gap to league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Ulreich said: “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.”
Ulreich’s contract expires next summer and he said last season he would consider moving in order to play regular first-team football.
However, he said: “At the moment, I’m not thinking about my next contract. I will give my best and see what happens.”
Tom Starke, 36, has come out of retirement to provide cover following Neuer’s injury, and Ulreich said: “He’s always on fire in training, so it’s good to have him back. I respect him a lot and we have a good relationship.”