Sven Ulreich has acknowledged he was caught in two minds as he allowed Karim Benzema to score for Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, leaving Bayern Munich’s reserve goalkeeper distraught at the cost of a rare mistake.
Ulreich failed to deal with a backpass in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Benzema pounced on Tuesday to score his second goal of the match and help to send Madrid through to a final against Liverpool in Kiev later this month.
Having deputised for the injured Manuel Neuer since September, Ulreich has helped Bayern to win the Bundesliga and reach the DFB-Pokal final.
But the 29-year-old’s efforts standing in for the first-choice Germany international are likely to be defined by his aberration on the big stage.
“When the backpass came, it looked as if Benzema was getting to it [first],” he told Sport Bild.
“That’s why I’m prepared for a one-on-one situation.
“But then [it] went through and I thought only ‘crap, now I cannot take it by hand.’
“Then I wanted to take use foot… It’s about milliseconds. I had two thoughts – I did not really decide.
“I’ve watched it once or twice [on television]. It was a mistake because I made the wrong decision. Out of 100 situations, that happens maybe once.
“It was already clear after the 1-1, that we actually need two goals.
“That was independent of the mistake. We might have made it to extra-time, but we would have needed the third goal as well. For our departure [from the tournament], many factors came together.
“It was just a huge disappointment that we were eliminated, that we did not manage to score two more goals. We really wanted to reach the final.”
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) May 4, 2018
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes offered the shot-stopper an endorsement during a news conference on Friday, and Ulreich understands his position means the stakes will always be high.
“This is the lot of the goalkeeper,” he said.
“If you make a mistake as a striker, it’s not that bad. [As a goalkeeper] you cannot make mistakes.
“I have not made one for eight months, now this one. It’s a pity it happened now.”
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