The German team meets outsider Montenegro in the round of 16. In the event of a win, there would be a high probability that an NBA superstar would be waiting. But national coach Gordon Herbert warns against premature anticipation.
In the run-up to this European Basketball Championship, very few had expected that the German national team would rush through the preliminary round as confidently as they did. With four wins and one defeat (against Slovenia), the team of national coach Gordon Herbert finished second in their group.
Good atmosphere in the German national basketball team
The mood in the team, led by captain Dennis Schröder, is correspondingly good. No matter who you asked during the preliminary round, the answers were very similar in their exuberant core message, concerning chemistry. Herbert has apparently managed to put together a squad that is consistent in itself. It is undisputedly helpful in this respect if the initially good mood is fueled by sporting success. Then a tournament in which a lot of games have to be played within a few days can become a sure-fire success.
But it’s also a fact that the German team doesn’t just fit together in terms of their characters. She is also excellent tactically. The basic principle is that there is not one outstanding player like the Slovenians with Luka Doncic in their ranks. It’s the collective that makes the German team so strong at the moment. This can be observed above all on the defensive, because, as is almost always the case in team sports, it is also true in basketball that championships are won there. Above all, rebounding – i.e. securing the bouncing ball after a failed shot – is a strength of the DBB selection. Because that is the basis of a fast switching game, which is also often practiced in basketball. Especially since good rebounding is also a good quality under the opponent’s basket, it allows a second opportunity after a misthrow.
Montenegro is an outsider, but one of the nasty kind
All of this will also be in the round of 16 this Saturday against Montenegro (6 p.m., Magentasport) arrive. The opponent then is a clear outsider, but is considered extremely unpleasant due to his very physical style of play. In Group A, Montenegro finished third, beating Georgia (81-73), Belgium (76-70) and Bulgaria (91-81). Defeats set it against the group winners Spain (65:82) and the Turkey (68:72). Similar to the German team, the Montenegrins also spread the burden of responsibility over many shoulders, which can also be seen from the comparatively low point averages of the best shooters: Bojan Dubljevic (13.8 points on average), Vladimir Mihailovic (13.6) and Kendrick Perry (13.2). In the field of participants of the EM Montenegro had come as a successor, because Russia was excluded.
Even if national coach Herbert does not tire of emphasizing that it is a good idea to only think from game to game, a possible quarter-final against Greece is already looming over the game against Montenegro. Because the Greeks have an NBA superstar in their ranks with Giannis Antetokounmpo. They meet the Czech Republic in the round of 16. Unlike Doncic, who doesn’t always appear to be fully trained and who, in addition to his qualities as a marksman, is also a brilliant playmaker, lives the 2.11 meter tall and 110 kilo heavy powerhouse Antetokounmpo (plays in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks) clearly from his physical presence.
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Schröder and Theis are about to return to the national team
The tournament tree envisages Spain, Lithuania, Finland or Croatia as opponents in a possible semi-final for Germany. The Slovenians around Doncic and top favorite Serbia with Nikola Jokic are possible as German opponents in the final at the earliest. Spain vs. Lithuania (Saturday, 8:45 p.m.) and France vs. Turkey (Saturday, 12:00 p.m.) are considered the top games in the round of 16. The Slovenes and Serbs are clearly favored in their duels with Belgium and Italy.
First of all, however, the round of 16 against Montenegro is on the agenda for Germany. Then the recently rested Dennis Schröder and Daniel Theis will be back in the game. Things are different with Nick Weiler-Babb. He traveled to Munich for treatment for a shoulder injury.