BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Patrick Bauer is keen to get his future resolved as soon as possible – with the Charlton Athletic centre-back admitting he will never top a whirlwind last fortnight.
The German defender celebrated becoming a dad on the day the Addicks secured their League One play-off final spot, his wife giving birth to daughter Kayleen.
And Bauer scored a stoppage-time winner at Wembley on Sunday to take the South London club back into the Championship.
The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of June, with manager Lee Bowyer admitting they definitely would have lost their key man if the club had stayed in League One.
“Today [Sunday] is everything about celebrating the promotion with Charlton but I think next week the club will probably speak with me about the future, if they want to,” said Bauer. “It’s not just me, I think every player wants to play at the highest level possible. But now we are up, and we will speak.
“For me it would be best to do is as soon as possible, because from now until the season starts there is not a lot of time.
“I can’t have a better two weeks – I think it is impossible. Becoming a father on the same day as getting to the play-off final and scoring the winner in the final – I’m absolutely delighted. I’m speechless.”
Bauer’s wife and daughter were not at Wembley to witness his big moment.
“It was too early for her [Kayleen], because of the noise and everything. It was better for her to stay at home with the wife.
‘They were watching on TV. My wife was absolutely devastated to be unable to come here. But, apart from her, all my family from Germany and her family from Bulgaria, they all came here to support me.
“She [called him after and] said: ‘I’m crying’. At the same time the baby started to cry! She is absolutely delighted because she knows all year I was working hard, it wasn’t always easy for me. She is so supportive.”
Bauer had not netted for Charlton this season until Sunday’s goal, just seconds before the tie would have headed into extra-time. And the matchwinner said he had been ribbed over not chipping in.
“The boys were joking before the game because all season I didn’t score, which is quite unusual for me,” explained Bauer. “I said: ‘Boys, let’s wait and see – maybe today I can help the team with an important goal’. I’m very happy that I did it today.
“I just had a desire to score. I wanted to help the team to get to the Championship.
“It has been a difficult time here at Charlton but I’m absolutely delighted we got back to the Championship. I’m delighted for the management, players and especially the supporters – they deserve it. It is an absolutely amazing club. When you see the first game of the season against Sunderland, we went [there] with 16 players. Charlton did not spend a lot of money this year. Most of the players were got on free transfers or loans.
“It is a big achievement to get such a good squad together and get promoted. Big respect to Lee Bowyer, Steve Gallen and Johnnie Jackson, the job they have done this season.
“In the four years I have been at Charlton, last week was the first time The Valley was really packed. You have this feeling that Charlton fans are happier now, you have a good feeling. Today was a very good trip for them, thankfully we made it even better with the win. It’s what they deserve for all the years being supportive.”
Bauer backed Dillon Phillips after his early mistake put Charlton 1-0 down. Naby Sarr’s pass slipped by the goalkeeper.
“It’s not the start you expect but individual mistakes happen. I just told him to keep his head up and he made a brilliant save.
“I believe in all the boys, we knew there was still a long time to play and we can turn the game.”
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD AND PAUL EDWARDS