Goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has signed a three-year contract extension at Bayern Munich. Photo: @FCBayernFC via Twitter

BERLIN Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich has signed a three-year contract extension, the Bundesliga leaders said Sunday, and has forced his way into contention for Germany with first-choice Manuel Neuer sidelined.

Ulreich was in goal on Saturday as Bayern stayed 18 points clear in the Bundesliga table after Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller netted first-half goals in a 2-1 home win against Schalke.

"He is certainly in our field of vision and the games he has played have been very, very good", Germany's impressed head coach Joachim Loew said after watching Ulreich at the Allianz Arena.

"He looks confident in the one-on-ones and has learned at Bayern how to spark moves from the back."

Ulreich, 29, who would have been out of contract in June, threatened to leave at the start of this season after making just six Bundesliga appearances in the last two campaigns, mainly watching Neuer from the bench.

However, when Bayern and Germany captain Neuer was sidelined by a fractured foot in September, Ulreich  was catapulted into the first-team and has made 27 appearances in all competitions this season, 

With key home friendlies next month against Spain and Brazil, Ulreich's strong performances for Bayern have put the goalie on Loew's radar just four months before the World Cup kicks off in Russia.

"I am very happy that Bayern will continue to rely on me in the future and I can help this big club in the next few years to reach its goals," said Ulreich, who joined Bayern in 2015.

No date has been given for Neuer's so Bayern are more than happy to retain Ulreich's services.

"The past three years have shown that we can always rely on Sven Ulreich," said Bayern's director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic.

"This season, he has played a significant role in making sure we are dominant leaders in the Bundesliga, while we continue to have good chances in the Champions League and German Cup."

Ulreich is the first of four Bayern players would could receive an extension with ageing wingers Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, both 34, and wing-back Rafinha, 32, all out of contract in June.

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