It was not clear whether Israel González was sweaty after the exertion in the sweltering heat of the Munich hall – or whether he had caught a shower with some cold drinks. Probably both, at least the coach of the Berlin basketball team sat in the press conference after the decisive fourth final game of the German basketball championship and smiled happily. The gold championship medal dangled around the 47-year-old’s neck. Gonzàlez had put on the obligatory championship T-shirt and couldn’t stop thanking him.
With the players, of whose achievements he could not be prouder in a difficult season, with his club, which as a novice entrusted him with the responsibility of head coaching, with his coaching team and of course with his predecessor. This title is also a bit that of Aito Garcia Reneses, the great Spanish coach who, after winning the championships in the past two years, took a sabbatical for health reasons. On Twitter, the 75-year-old immediately sent congratulations to his successor, who continued his legacy so successfully and achieved the greatest possible success with the double – Alba also brought the trophy to Berlin.
It was the eleventh title in the club’s history, the third in a row, with 96:81 the Berliners had won the fourth game of the best-of-five series in the Audi Dome. Ironically, the players celebrated each of these three triumphs in the Munich hall. They missed the first match point after a 2-0 lead with wins at home and in Munich (86-73 and 71-58) on Friday evening and caught a good 60-90 beating.
Hardly a throw found the target, the team was impressed by the gasping of the battered guests and seemed insecure. In Munich, however, the doubts in the players’ minds were quickly gone, long-range shooter Jaleen Smith immediately regained his marksmanship, and center Johannes Thiemann, who was honored as the most valuable player in the final series, went ahead with a lot of energy and determination. At the break, the guests were well ahead at 52:36, and the old and new champions knew how to counter the last upsurge of Bayern in the final quarter – Berlin was the better team.
The Munich squad was too thin in the final series and lacked the necessary energy against such a strong opponent
The Munich team can hardly be blamed, the squad of coach Andrea Trinchieri was very thin in this series of finals. While Berlin only had to do without a so-called key player in Sweden Marcus Eriksson, the hosts in Darrun Hilliard, Corey Walden, Vladimir Lucic and Leon Radosevic were missing four. Too much for Bayern, who were favorites before the season and had to pay tribute to their success in international business. There, Bayern had the big FC Barcelona on the verge of elimination in the Euroleague quarter-finals, the best European competition. In the end, however, they were defeated by the Catalans in the decisive fifth game and narrowly missed out on making it into the top four teams on the continent. That took a lot of strength. Alba also played in the European premier class, after the main round it was over.
After winning the cup last year, Munich paid the price for their strong international performance for the second time in the championship, but a season without a title is not acceptable for Bayern. President Herbert Hainer openly admitted that consideration would be given to how these burdens could be controlled better. Coach Trinchieri didn’t want to allow any analysis at all, looking at the floor and the faces of his battered players would prohibit this.
In fact, Bayern were hit harder than Berlin in this second Corona season. The virus overwhelmed the squad in two waves, and important players had to be replaced in preparation, which led to constant injuries due to the resulting overload. Knowing these problems, says Trinchieri, one can only salute the performance of his team, period!
The evening left two proud coaches whose teams had pushed themselves to the limit in an intense and exciting series of finals. German basketball can also be satisfied with both representatives: the level in the Bundesliga has probably never been higher than it is now, never before has German basketball been presented better internationally – Munich, who knocked on the door to the European final tournament for the second time in a row , the Berliners who, with their decades of sustainable youth work, are constantly developing new top players.
It is not for nothing that the number of German players in the world’s best league NBA is higher than ever, which makes the prospects for the forthcoming European Championships in Cologne and Berlin (September 1st to 18th) appear quite rosy. Then national coach Gordon Herbert – not least thanks to clubs like Berlin and Munich – can look forward to a whole series of top-class players from the NBA and the Euroleague. That could soon make him proud too.