German basketball players in the semi-finals of the World Cup: now the contender for the title – sport

No, he wouldn’t take a coach’s credit card to walk around the house with, Franz Wagner said with a smirk, “I’d still stay in a hotel room and drink apple juice.” Team captain Dennis Schroeder asked for the card after that fabulous evening at the Berlin Arena, Gordon Herbert explained, but he told him that after three divorces, he still wouldn’t agree to the limit.

It wasn’t often at this European Championship that the national team coach cracked jokes, but after that late Tuesday night game, even the sober Canadian started cracking jokes. Germany have just knocked out the big favorite in the quarter-finals in Greece after an inspiring performance with an inspiring 107-96 triumph.

It wasn’t just national coach Herbert who let his feelings run for a moment before 14,073 euphoric spectators turned the first-sold-out Berlin Arena into a jubilant hall. The selection of the German Basketball Federation (DBB) was another highlight in this exceptional tournament. The Germans are in the semi-finals against Spain on Friday (20:30) and have presented themselves as serious contenders for the title.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is considered the most perfect basketball player in the world, he failed in the German national team

Because the Greeks, as the only invincible team up to this point, were the clear favorites and in the end had to recognize the superiority of the hosts. What their coach Dimitrios Itoudis achieved with outstanding sportsmanship: “They deserved this victory, they shot very well, we had problems with their energy, they were just the best team.”

European Basketball Championship: Giannis Antetokounmpo (center), arguably the most accomplished basketball player in the world, is stopped by Daniel Theis (left) in this fight.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (center), arguably the most accomplished basketball player in the world, is stopped by Daniel Theis (left) in this action.

(Photo: Annegret Hilse/Reuters)

Of course, with this opponent, you need to talk about the player who is considered by many to be the most accomplished basketball player in the world: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite his height of 2.11 meters, he impresses with his ball control and athleticism, agile and fast at the same time; No wonder he has twice been recognized as the most valuable player in the NBA. But that evening he found his master in the German team, who realized that such a player can be slowed down only by working together.

“He’s on the verge,” Second Captain Johannes Voigtmann admitted. “He also moves very well, stopping him is a difficult task.” That the German defense did so well, especially in the second half, that Antetokounmpo only managed to get around twice with an unsportsmanlike foul and was disqualified with five minutes left.

In the first half, he showed what he was capable of, scoring 19 of his last 31 points to give Greece a 61:57 lead. However, after the break, the German players increased their already high energy levels, especially on defense, rebounding again became style-defining and therefore “the key to victory”, as Johannes Tiemann later stated. The offensive before the break worked brilliantly, especially the shot chances were better than ever in the tournament.

Franz Wagner’s ankle holds, his first throw sits right away

Speaking of this game, Antetokounmpo will only play a minor role in retrospect. Then you need to talk about Dennis Schroeder, Franz Wagner, Andreas Obst, Daniel Theis or Tiemann. The captain found his long-range strike just in time to be safe, in a one-on-one duel, Schroeder is still hard to hold. He set the pace, topped the scorer with 26 points and provided eight assists, all first class.

European Basketball Championship: Ankle grip, sitting throw: Franz Wagner.

Ankle holding, throw sitting: Franz Wagner.

(Photo: Thilo Wiedensohler/camera4+/Imago)

In the case of Wagner, it was not even clear if he would be able to play at all, as he is known to have sprained his ankle in the 1/8 finals against Montenegro. The ankle held, his first shot was right away, the 21-year-old was once again the highest scoring player in the DBB selection. Andreas Obst, who had only a few minutes to play in the first game, became indispensable as a long-range shooter, hitting five of seven three-pointers, which is also the highest value. Daniel Theis suffered under the baskets, had tough fights with Antetokounmpo and also scored double figures (13). This also applied to Thimann (10) or Voigtmann, who with their physicality stopped a highly acclaimed Greek attack in the third quarter and won it 26:10.

The individual class in the team is great, but some opponents can keep up. But what makes this team special is its team spirit, cohesion, all in the service of the team. Nick Weiler-Babb played despite a shoulder injury, Voigtmann took to the floor with a cold, in general, “it says a lot about this team,” the coach proudly declared. And from success to success, she gains more self-confidence: “We go to every game and believe that we can win,” Voigtmann explained.

What happened was “incredible for German basketball,” Herbert rightly said, “the way this team and players perform and play on their home soil, people can identify with that. We left the locker room and were on the same mission. In fact, public interest is growing from success to success, the quarter-finals were broadcast in addition to Magentasport, the pay TV broadcaster broadcasts all German games for free, on RTL on free TV, with enthusiast Dirk Nowitzki as an expert and, according to his own statements , more than 2.5 million viewers – which, in fact, should be expected from public broadcasters.

So now the world champion, whom the German team in this form meets at eye level. Players and coaches are still trying to “stay in the moment”, as Andreas Obst said with a serious expression on his face: “It was great, you have to realize it first. But I think we haven’t reached what we want yet.” The already high level of self-confidence “received another boost.” And Herbert? “We have to improve our defense” which was not ideal in the first half.

He, too, was in that moment again. But he’ll treat himself to a “cold beer,” he said before disappearing into the night. A credit card will certainly give it.

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