Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in world football, Manuel Neuer may not return to the pitch until April because of his latest injury.
The 31-year-old Bayern Munich captain has seen just two goals go past him in three Bundesliga appearances this season, Marc Uth's brace on matchday two ruining an otherwise formidable record in between the sticks for the Bavarians this season.
Former VfB Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich is set to fill his compatriot's boots while Neuer recovers from a fractured metatarsal, however, Bayern's 29-year-old shot-stopper could gift Borussia Dortmund the Bundesliga title if his performances don't improve.
Neuer, whose older brother Marcel is an official in the Oberliga Westfalen, has an impeccable record for club and country. Keeping 158 clean sheets across all competitions for Bayern Munich, the former Schalke 04 keeper is one of the Bundesliga's most experienced players and has registered over 31,000 minutes of top-flight football in Germany.
Despite acting as Stuttgart's first choice goalkeeper for a number of years, Ulreich has managed just over half of Neuer's Bundesliga minutes. Despite doing just enough at the Mercedes-Benz Arena to convince Bayern of investing in an understudy to Neuer, Ulreich's 39 clean sheets in his Bundesliga career is far from impressive.
In Bayern's recent hosting of VfL Wolfsburg, Ulreich showed that he is nowhere near the level of Neuer. Not only did he concede a late equaliser to ex-Stuttgart teammate Daniel Didavi, but the 29-year-old embarrassed himself by tamely attempting to stop a 35-yard free-kick, that was hit straight down Ulreich's throat by Maxi Arnold, and grant the Wolves with a way back into the game.
Bayern already sit five points behind Peter Bosz's Borussia Dortmund in the league table. Although the return of Jupp Heynckes at the helm of Bayern will add a much-needed boost to the club, there is now huge importance on the likes of Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba to rediscover their form to keep the dream of securing a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title alive.