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By ESPN Staff

Kraft to be Bayern's No.1 'keeper

Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has confirmed Thomas Kraft is now his first-choice goalkeeper. The 22-year-old, who will make his Bundesliga debut against Wolfsburg on Saturday, has got the nod ahead of veteran Hans-Jorg Butt.

The 36-year-old was the number one at the Allianz Arena for the first half of the season, and Van Gaal has not closed the door on his first-team chances.

"Kraft is the number one goalkeeper, but it could happen that Jorg Butt wins the place back. Both of them know that," Van Gaal told the club's official website.

The Dutch coach had previously strongly hinted he would promote Kraft and was criticised earlier this week by honorary president Franz Beckenbauer for not discussing the decision with sporting director Christian Nerlinger.

Kraft has made two Champions League appearances for Bayern, away to Roma and at home to Basle at the end of the group stage, and Van Gaal is confident he will be able to cope with the pressure.

"I don't know but I have great belief that he will do so," he added.

Bayern have been strongly linked with a move for Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer as they seek a long-term successor for Butt.


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