By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, April 18 (Xinhua) -- According to his coach, goalkeeper Sven Ulreich is ready to help Bayern Munich beat Real Madrid in the semifinal of the Champions League.
"His development couldn't be more satisfying. When I arrived in October 2017, he was a rather insecure keeper but has made the step towards being world class," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said.
The 29-year-old is said to have made the most significant progress in the Bavarian squad this season. Heynckes singled out Ulreich as a shining example "that trust, confidence and hard work can lift everyone to the highest level."
According to several media reports German national coach Joachim Loew is considering picking Ulreich for his 2018 World Cup squad.
Bayern's keeper could be Germany's number three behind Neuer and Barcelona keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
Recently Bayern extended Ulreich's contract until 2021. "Back in October, he was not really appreciated and did not have much self-confidence. Now we can say he is a real windfall for us," Heynckes emphasized.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called Ulreich's performance "sensational over the entire season" adding that he deserves to be part of the German World Cup squad.
Former German international and TV pundit Thomas Hitzlsperger called Ulreich "the perfect team player" as he "was patiently waiting for his chance and now is delivering at a high level. A performance like that deserves to be rewarded."
Heynckes will have to make a difficult decision if Bayern reaches the final. Contrary to expectations, Manuel Neuer's injury hasn't affected the team's performance due to Ulreich's improvement.
This season Ulreich has played 39 games in the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions League and has only conceded 34 goals. "He has won many games for us this season," Heynckes said and then added that a decision about his line-up in a possible final hasn't been made yet.
"I know about my role here, I am the number two," Ulreich said adding that he is not thinking about the German team.
Ulreich joined Bayern in 2015 and it was thought he would stay on the bench for the rest of his career.
"I've learned to see obstacles as a chance," Ulreich said adding that he had to take responsibility early in his life after his father died when he was only 14.
On his father's deathbed, he promised to make it in professional football. At present, it looks like Ulreich has achieved more than he promised as he is knocking on the door of the German national team.