Sven Ulreich has explained why he decided to join FC Bayern München and how he was always destined to be a goalkeeper.
The 29-year-old former German under 21 international joined Bayern from VfB Stuttgart, where he made 220 appearances from 2008 to 2015. He had joined Stuttgart as an outfield player at the age of three in 1998 and finally left after 15 years with a reputation as a talented shot-stopper.
Speaking to Bayern’s official website, Ulreich said: “My dad was a keeper himself.
“He played only in the lower tiers, but it was always nice when he packed his bag. It was always special to me when he packed his gloves.”
He explained: “The coach’s son was the keeper, so I couldn’t play there. He joined another club after two years.”
Despite being behind Manuel Neuer in the pecking order at Bayern, Ulreich said it was an important step for him to take in his career.
“It was the right step for me at that time. I wanted a new challenge, and then Bayern made an offer,” Ulreich added. “Bayern would never sign a poor keeper as a backup for Manu. So it was a great honour to sign the contract.
“No matter how often you exercise, it doesn’t replace match practice. It just takes time to find your rhythm.
“You learn quite a lot when you watch a world-class keeper like him every day. But you can’t copy everything because a lot of Manu’s qualities are just gifts of God.”