Sven Ulreich has opened up about his costly goalkeeping error which saw Bayern Munich dumped out of the Champions League semi-finals; revealing he had two choices, but he did not make the right one.
The scores were level at 1-1 moments into the second half as Corentin Tolisso, under pressure from Toni Kroos, played a short back pass to the 29-year-old custodian.
Although the pass was not the most accurate, the Bavarian shot-stopper would have comfortably reached the ball ahead of the closing-in Karim Benzema. But he appeared to realise late his inability to pick the ball up, and instead, he elected to try and clear with his foot; only for the ball to squirm underneath his body and allow the French striker to score.
It was an error which eventually proved the difference between the two sides, with Real Madrid advancing 4-3 on aggregate, and while speaking to SportBild, as quoted by the Daily Mail, Ulreich recollected the event from his point of view.
“As the back pass came towards me, it looked for a second like Benzema was about to get a foot on it, so I adjusted to a one-on-one situation,” he said. “But then the ball came through, and I only thought ‘uh oh, now I can’t pick it up’.
“Then I wanted to clear it with my feet, but I couldn’t adjust. And then I couldn’t save it with my hand again either. It all happened in the space of milliseconds. I had two thoughts – I just didn’t choose correctly.”
As the full-time whistle sounded, Ulreich, who has been highly praised for his showings in Manuel Neuer’s absence, was left sat alone in Bayern Munich’s half, an image that sums up the heartbreak of his mistake.
“Words cannot describe how disappointed I am over the Champions League exit,” he wrote on Instagram after the match. “We really wanted to reach the final and we gave our best and then this unnecessary mistake happened to me.
“I can’t explain it. I’m sorry…for my team and for you fans.”