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First place is attractive, but not without danger

First place is attractive, but not without danger
Christian von Fintel (Wels) and Orri Gunnarsson (Gmunden) are only four points apart from league leaders Klosterneuburg.
Image: OCS Swans Gmunden/Hannes Kienesberger

The halving of points after the regular round and a run in the Basketball Super League placement round make it possible: The Flyers Wels are suddenly breathing down the neck of the leader Klosterneuburg, who have now won twelve matches in a row. In today’s direct duel (7 p.m.) in the Raiffeisen Arena, Sebastian Waser’s team even has the chance to reduce the deficit to two points and intervene in the fight for first place.

The latter guarantees home rights in the play-offs until a possible final. Whether the place in the sun is actually a bonus is being intensively discussed in the scene. This is also the case with the OCS Swans Gmunden, who will also be guests at SKN St. Pölten at 7 p.m.

“Of course we always give our all. But the question arises as to whether it wouldn’t be better not to come first or second,” said CFO Harald Stelzer, with a view to the qualifying round, in which calibers like BC Vienna, Oberwart and Kapfenberg lurk. Two of this trio would face the top two teams in the quarterfinals.

As of now, St. Pölten – which has recently lost four times in a row – would be reserved as sixth for third place and perhaps the supposedly easier task. But that is speculation. A lot can still happen before the play-offs start in mid-April.

The Welsers, who have won eight of their last ten games, deserve a full house despite the rather unfavorable Thursday date. They proved that they can bend Klosterneuburg on the way to the Cup triumph. In the semi-final there was an 81:78 win after extra time away from home.

And today? “We will need our best game. We are ready and come out of the locker room with self-confidence,” said Flyers captain Christian von Fintel, the so-called “energizer”.

Placement round (for play-off home rights), table: 1. Klosterneuburg 24 points, 2. Gmunden 20, 3. Graz 20, 4. Wels 20, 5. Traiskirchen 20, 6. St. Pölten 13. Qualification round (top 2 in the quarterfinals), table: 1. BC Vienna 17 points, 2. Oberwart 16, 3. Kapfenberg 16, 4. Timberwolves 6, 5. Eisenstadt 4, 6. Fürstenfeld 1

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