Despite a turbulent season, Bamberg won the trophy. In the playoffs want to prove the veteran again.

Two days off is currently a rare luxury for a basketball pro. For that reason alone, Elias Harris is very relaxed, and says: "I think I have also weathered the Antwerp weekend meanwhile." There, the vice captain of Brose Bamberg had to digest two bad bankruptcies. The nine-time German champions had qualified for the Final Four of the Champions League, the competition is considered behind the Euroleague and Eurocup as the third highest format of the continent and in view of the semi-final opponent Bologna the finale was quite in it. "Nothing worked," says Harris. Even the small final against Antwerp went to miserable performance clearly lost. "That has already hit us," says the 27-year-old, but now you are newly focused and ready for the playoffs for the German championship. Bamberg plays on Sunday (20.30 clock) with the surprise team Rasta Vechta, the promoted even home, because Brose has completed the main round behind the Lower Saxony in fifth place.

Unheard of actually, because the demands in the environment are traditionally high. Harris is the longest-serving professional in Bamberg and was part of the team that not only won three consecutive championships from 2015 to 2017 but also dominated the league. "It comes with the success, we have built up over the years, it gets used to it as a fan and has a certain expectation." Bamberg is the only Bundesliga side that has already won a title in the Cup against Berlin this season. Even the final round ticket for the Champions League is not easy to solve and in general, the playoffs are still pending.

Although the main round of the league was not as desired and despite the Antwerp weekend: Bamberg should not be written off. The team remembered that with the 97-65-victory against Würzburg for the main round conclusion. Harris has other arguments: "Thankfully, all players are fit", because coach Federico Perego had in the course of the season often waive regular staff, which was not least for Elias Harris. The 2.03-meter winger, who runs for six years for Bamberg and before, among other things, briefly played for the LA Lakers in the NBA, presents itself in good time again in magnificent form. Harris is one of the key players, he has a safe distance throw, is able to pull with great physique to the basket, is valuable as a passer – Perego appreciates its versatility. The team is very experienced overall, players like Nikolaos Zisis, Augustine Rubit, Ricky Hickman or Bryce Taylor are all excellent experts, as well as Tyrese Rice. The basket dangerous playmaker has just been named the most valuable player in the Champions League. Nevertheless, it will probably be the last major challenge for them in this occupation.

It was not only on the field turbulent times to survive, coach, sports director and CEO had to go in the course of the season. A new sports director has just been signed in Belgian Leo De Rycke. Perego, too, is not exactly in the saddle, according to reports. "You get it, of course, but our job is to play basketball, it's not my fight," says Harris. And the team still enjoys basketball games, Bamberg is one of only a few teams that could win in Vechta. The opponent must also refrain from important staff in Clint Chapman and Center Seth Hinrichs, Harris looks especially in the game under the basket an advantage. Nevertheless: "Vechta plays fast, aggressive, passionate, just very good basketball". Neither the injured nor the fact that Vechta finals rookie, Harris also wants to overvalue.

The semi-final can only be achieved through a team effort, "above all we have to play defensively constant". And then? "Everything is in. Everyone wants to become a master."

. (tagsToTranslate) Brose Bamberg (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung Sports (t) Sports (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ

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