Basketball: Alba humble after BBL victory in Bavaria: “We are still standing”

Basketball: Alba humble after BBL victory in Bavaria: “We are still standing”

Alba is making the basketball final series exciting. After the victory in Munich, the title can be secured at home. But no Berliner is making any big noises. The statistics even speak in Bayern’s favor.

Alba Berlin was careful not to declare war. Of course, the away victory in the final of the Basketball Bundesliga against FC Bayern gave the capital city team plenty of pride and satisfaction.

Added to this is the anticipation that the 1:1 draw in the best-of-five series means that two games will follow on the Spree in which Alba can become champions in front of their own fans. Despite the home advantage, Alba does not want to claim the role of favorite “at all,” as coach Israel Gonzalez made clear. Instead, he warned ahead of match three on Wednesday (8:30 p.m./Dyn): “It will be very, very difficult. Bayern have incredible players and an incredible coach.”

It is not advisable to make any overly bold predictions, as Berlin knows how to assess the 79:70 victory in the second final match. It also came about because Bayern messed up a noticeable number of shots – significantly, national player and world champion Andreas Obst, one of the best shooters in Europe, was left without any points. “We were lucky, of course,” said Alba sports director Himar Ojeda about Munich’s inaccuracy.

Staggering boxers and “terrible pain”

The Spaniard also highlighted another aspect: Berlin has gone far beyond the pain threshold at the end of a season with more than 80 games, at the end of which several of Alba’s key players are missing due to injury. “We managed to mobilize all our strength again,” said Ojeda, comparing his team’s condition to that of a battered boxer: “We’re still standing, even if I don’t know how. And we’re not just trying not to get hit, we’re also hitting back. I’m very proud.”

The face of self-sacrifice is captain Johannes Thiemann, who was absent from the opening game of the final due to a painful knee injury, but gritted his teeth in the second game. The world champion repeatedly hobbled across the floor with a face contorted in pain. “I wanted to play for a few minutes to give the boys a break. But of course I’m not at 100 percent,” he admitted to the Dyn broadcaster. Sports director Ojeda was more explicit: “JT is in terrible pain.”

Home advantage

Under all these circumstances, the final series between the two German flagship clubs is still open. Especially since the home advantage is a tricky thing anyway. “This is my eighth year at Alba,” said Ojeda. “To be honest, they’ve beaten us most of the time in our hall. I don’t think they’ll be particularly impressed playing away. I expect the best Bayern to date.”

Ojeda’s memory is not wrong: Since his arrival in Berlin in February 2016, ten of the 16 games played at Berlin’s Ostbahnhof went to Bayern. From 2017 to 2022, Alba and Bayern met in five playoff series – and Munich won once away in each one.

Bavaria wants to be hungrier

In order to celebrate away from home again this time, Bayern must improve compared to game two. Coach Laso said succinctly: “We have to make our shots.” Defending the opponent better would not hurt either. In Berlin’s victory on Monday, the cup winners were unable to control Berlin’s ex-NBA pros and top scorers Matt Thomas (21 points) and Sterling Brown (17). “They were simply hungrier than us,” said Bayern pro Sylvain Francisco.

But even though Munich has been waiting for the championship title for four years, the optimism and self-confidence à la FC Bayern are still there. Point guard Nick Weiler-Babb said: “No matter who we play against, we always believe in our chances.”

Source: Stern

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