Who was the first foreign basketball player
A bottle. Or two. A fine drop in any case. And a good cigar. Andrea Trinchieri appreciates fine red wine as much as the big appearance, but on Sunday evening the coach of FC Bayern Munich contented himself with the quiet tones. He will celebrate stylishly but quietly. When his basketball players reached the Euroleague playoffs in April, he would have loved to jump into a "pool full of red wine" for joy, which he should make up for at some point just because of the picture. And now? How are his feelings after the third cup win in the club's history, after a dramatic semi-final against Ulm (104: 102 after two extra times) and a good-class final against Alba Berlin (85:79)? "I'm not important," said the Italian. He was happy for the team and his thoughts were with the players who were not allowed to play for various reasons.
He could be reassured because the injured captain Nihad Djedovic was the first to lift the trophy in the empty hall, Diego Flaccadori and JaJuan Johnson have long been hopping with the teammates. Both had to sit out because of the foreigner rule in competitions of the basketball Bundesliga (BBL), which allows a maximum of six foreigners. When Nick Weiler-Babb limped on crutches to the winning photo, the FCB bliss in the confetti rain was complete. It was the image that distinguishes this team, everyone has their place, contributes their part, nobody is forgotten. Players and coaches keep talking about a "special chemistry" in the group.
In fact, the cup win can be seen as a collective effort that followed a typical pattern. First the tough game with tired legs against Ulm, "which we had actually already lost twice," as Trinchieri thought. The resistant and talented Swabians gave up only after two five-minute extensions, the Bavarians were clearly behind. The Munich team were also far behind in the final, defending champions Berlin dominated the first quarter (29:17) in a way that was frightening for the hosts.
Vladimir Lucic stands out from the collective and is voted the most valuable player of the tournament
This time Bayern came back faster, had already turned the game around at break (41:39) and could not be snatched away from the victory in the duel between the two German Euroleague representatives. The performance of the Berliners should not be overlooked, the double winner of the previous season around the famous long-distance shooters Jayson Granger (17 points) and Marcus Eriksson (12) could never be shaken off, but the strong Munich defense was again the basis of success. And there are also a few extra talent in the Munich ensemble, which the maestro once again knew how to orchestrate harmoniously.
Trinchieri, for example, left his playmaker Wade Baldwin on the bench for a long time. He can take over a game thanks to his individual class, but also often over-turned. In the final he collected 13 points, it was the second best individual value of Bayern, but was conspicuously in the team service. The best thrower was Paul Zipser (18), who owes a huge leap in performance to the trainer, like Leon Radosevic (12). Vladimir Lucic once again proved that points are not decisive.
Sometimes it's a provoked striker foul, then a pike to win the ball, then a difficult throw: Lucic makes the right decisions in tricky moments, he goes ahead when things get tight. On Sunday he finally brought victory to the finish with one block. The fifth season in the Bayern jersey is his best so far, the 31-year-old was voted the most valuable player in the cup final and is now among the top five players in the Euroleague season.
Injured captain Nihad Djedovic hopes to return soon. A season without a title was hard to imagine for him
However, unlike the trophy, all acts of international fame are not suitable for the letterhead; the currency in which the sport is billed is in the trophy cabinet. Winning the cup takes a lot of pressure now, even if no official likes to admit that. Honorary president and basketball sponsor Uli Hoeneß himself had reminded after the tremendous victory against Ulm that "this season is fully geared towards the Euroleague". Successor Herbert Hainer also described the triumph as a "cherry on the cake", but the season was already "a huge success". After all, managing director Marko Pesic saw the trophy as a "reward for an unbelievable journey" and had feared that the team could end up "without anything right in their hands" at the end of the season. The injured captain Nihad Djedovic, who has been training again this week and is hoping to return, became clearer: "I don't see it that way", a season without a title is "difficult to imagine".
That is now done, on Wednesday (8.30 p.m.) and Friday (7 p.m.) the new cup winner will start the playoffs for the German championship with two home games - as a favorite after this weekend at the latest. Opponents in the best-of-five series are the Merlins Crailsheim. Maybe those in charge should take care of red wine, enough for a pool.
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