MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich has rewarded goalkeeper Sven Ulreich for impressive performances this season by extending his contract for three years.
The Bundesliga leader says the 29-year-old Ulreich, whose deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign, will stay at the club until at least June 2021.
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Ulreich, who joined from Stuttgart in 2015 as Manuel Neuer’s back-up, has played 23 games for Bayern, most of them this season following the No. 1 goalkeeper’s long-term injury.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said Saturday that Ulreich had put himself in contention for this year’s World Cup squad.
Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said: “The last three years have shown that we can always rely on Sven Ulreich as a goalkeeper as well as a person.
“Especially this season he has played a big part in ensuring we have a big lead in the Bundesliga and also good chances in the Champions League and German Cup.”
Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller scored as Bayern beat Schalke 2-1 Saturday to remain 18 points clear at the top of the standings.
Bayern fans are already counting down the days until Manuel Neuer’s return in goal.
In his absence, Sven Ulreich has earned a pair of starts in Bundesliga play, and the most recent has not ended well. With Bayern leading Wolfsburg 2-0, Ulreich completely botched a simple save leading to Wolfsburg’s first goal, sparking a comeback from the visitors.
As Max Arnold delivered a free-kick 10 minutes after halftime, the ball sailed just over the wall and directly at Ulreich’s head. Instead of catching the attempt or using both hands to parry the shot, Ulreich raised just his right hand and failed to connect fully. The ball glanced off the side of his palm and into the back of the net to bring Wolfsburg a goal back.
The free-kick had decent pace, and it didn’t help that Sebastian Rudy made a poor attempt to block the delivery, but Ulreich won’t want to see a replay of that chance, as he made a hideous attempt to stop the shot. Wolfsburg would eventually equalize with just seven minutes remaining in the match as Daniel Didavi scored a pinpoint header in off the post. Ruddy let Didavi sneak behind him, and Paul Verhaegh delivered a fantastic long ball into the box for the 27-year-old to redirect in. The final whistle marked the first time since March 2004 that Bayern had blown a two-goal halftime lead at home.
The draw means Bayern has failed to put pressure on Borussia Dortmund this weekend, leaving Die Roten level with their Dortmund rivals on 13 points with the latter still to host Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
Neuer likely won’t be back until January thanks to yet another foot injury, leaving Bayern to either continue along with Ulreich and hope he improves, or look for other options either in-house or on the free agent market. Ulreich came over from Stuttgart in the summer of 2015 and has backed up Neuer since.