“It was already clear to me that this was coming.” Franz Wagner answered well when asked if the Spaniards were more ripped than the German team. “We lost, it hurts now. Everyone can decide for themselves if that’s why.” The disappointment was not only great for Wagner, who knew how to convince again and collected 15 points. Despite the 91:96 defeat in the semi-finals of the European basketball championship against Spain, the German national team once again showed a convincing performance in Berlin. “We could have won,” said Captain Dennis Schröder well, at the beginning of the last quarter it looked like the host of the European Championship was 77:72 points ahead.
In a game that was balanced and characterized by running: sometimes the selection of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) scored 14 points in a row, sometimes Spain countered with a double-digit run. But then the Italian coach in Spain, Sergio Scolari, changed his defense, had Dennis Schröder put under special surveillance by his bench player Alberto Diaz and ordered the Hernangomez brothers Willy and Juancho, as well as Usman Garube, put his three experienced NBA defensive cabinet. basket This tactical trick first steals the German game in itself, then the speed and finally the victory.
Until then, Schröder was the outstanding player on the court, collecting 30 points and setting the stage for his teammates. Now, however, Diaz chased him like a terrier and almost took the German leader out of the game. In the last seven and a half minutes, the German leader did not manage any important action, let alone a point. After all, he had something happier to report on his own behalf after the game, Schröder will return to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. There, LeBron James is looking forward to his colleagues who are playing so well in this European Championship, and Schröder is waiting for $ 2.64 million.
This team knows how to win”, national coach Gordon Herbert has to give to the Spaniards
As a result, the DBB team’s game became more hectic, bad decisions were made, too early or risky shots were made, or free throws were denied. The Spaniards, on the other hand, took command on the floor with impressive calmness and self-confidence, especially playmaker Lorenzo Brown, who was naturalized shortly before the tournament despite some resistance, proving to be the initiator of change game He either marked himself, which he did brilliantly with 29 points, or he set the stage for his taller colleagues under the basket – from which Willy (17 points) and Juancho Hernangomez (13) in particular benefited.
“This team knows how to win,” said national coach Gordon Herbert, visibly upset after the defeat. In fact, no nation has been to a European Championship semi-final as often as the Spaniards, exactly eleven times in the past eleven tournaments. They are also the current world champions. Colleague Scariolo was satisfied that “we had the peace to make the right decisions in the important phases”.
Maybe coach Herbert stuck with his starting lineup for too long in those last minutes, Daniel Theis looked tired, maybe Johannes Voigtmann would be the best option at this stage. Maodo Lo and Andreas Obst, who again had a good quota of three points and scored 15 points, were also on the bench for a long time in this decisive phase. Both of them sank important threes in the final seconds, but this Spanish team could not be fazed.
In addition to the strong defense, in which Nick Weiler-Babb and Johannes Thiemann earned the highest mark of the evening, the balanced bench in the tournament so far has been a strength of the Germans. In the evening, however, the Spaniards were a bit better in this discipline as well. Not only did Diaz take Schröder out of the game, he also scored in double figures (10). Then there was the indestructible veteran of Spain Rudy Fernandez, the only remnant of the golden generation, the team that defined European basketball for years. The 37-year-old repeatedly teased the DBB by throwing his distance and defending venom.
The German team was finally defeated by an opponent with a similar form. And who was just this little more experienced, even if Wagner did not want to hear this assessment. “They didn’t let themselves be disturbed by some of what happened to us,” explains Thiemann, “for us it was a new situation that we don’t have every day, we will definitely learn from it.” Spain just used these games, and yes, “maybe they were just torn”.
While the Iberians now meet France in the final, the Germans can look forward to the match for third place on Sunday with their heads held high. “We can learn a lot from this defeat,” Wagner added, “it’s not over. We still have a game on Sunday.” The opponent is Poland, which was humiliated after a desolate performance by the Olympic silver medalist with 54:95 points. There is no reason to underestimate your opponents, as Obst warned: “They are a strong team and they want to win a medal like us.”