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 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich's Sven Ulreich is man of year and should sign deal - Hoeness

The FC crew grade Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and struggling Borussia Dortmund in the first half of the season.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has hailed back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich as "man of the year" and urged him to extend his contract.

Ulreich, 29, has deputised for injured first-choice Manuel Neuer after the Bayern captain suffered three separate foot fractures last year.

But his contract expires in the summer and he has previously indicated that he would consider moving in order to play regular first-team football.

Hoeness told kicker: "For me, Sven Ulreich is the man of the year. He has performed incredibly in Bayern's turnaround and definitely should extend his contract."

In the final Bundesliga game before the winter break, Ulreich saved a late penalty to secure a 1-0 win against his former side Stuttgart, leading coach Jupp Heynckes to say he was "worth his weight in gold."

In October, Ulreich told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview: "At the moment, I'm not thinking about my next contract. I will give my best and see what happens."

On Wednesday, the keeper had to leave training prematurely after spraining his right middle finger, but the problem is not serious and he told reporters he expected to return to full training on Friday.

Bayern return to Bundesliga action at Bayern Leverkusen on Jan. 12.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

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