Alba misses home championship: Bayern hopes for historic title catch-up race

Alba Berlin receives an unusually clear clap in front of a home audience.

Alba misses home championship: Bayern hopes for historic title catch-up race

Alba Berlin receives an unusually clear clap in front of a home audience. The basketball players from Bayern Munich reduce the final series to 1:2, the Berliners have to keep fighting for the long-awaited third championship in a row. Should they fail, it would almost be historic.

Alba Berlin has clearly missed its first chance at the third German championship in a row. The defending champion suffered a completely unexpected 60:90 (33:52) defeat against Bayern Munich on Friday evening in his own hall and was therefore unable to celebrate the title in front of his own fans as planned. Instead, Bayern came back impressively in the final series and reduced the lead to 1:2. For Alba it was the first defeat after 19 wins in a row.

"We played badly. They were much better than us. We have to learn from that. If we don't concentrate, it will be very difficult for us. Bayern are a very strong team, they have proven that many times," said Alba coach Israel Gonzalez after the bitter defeat for his team. Bayern captain Nihad Djedovic was relieved. "Everything was against us, but we managed to show character," said Djedovic.

On Sunday (3 p.m.) Munich now have the chance to equalize the duel between the basketball heavyweights and force a fifth game on Wednesday evening (8.30 p.m.) in Berlin. "The party was ready, we postponed it for now. Now the focus is on Sunday," said Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri.

Only once has a team managed to turn a 0:2 deficit into a 3:2 in a series of finals - Bayreuth 1989 against Leverkusen. The best pitchers in Bayern's first win were Nick Weiler-Babb and Deshaun Thomas with 19 points each. At Alba, Oscar da Silva scored 15 points in front of NBA professional Dennis Schröder.

In the arena at the Ostbahnhof, everything was actually prepared for the big title bash. The hall was filled to the last seat with 14,500 spectators, and the atmosphere was festive even before the jump ball. And looking at Bayern's squad also boosted confidence in the Berliners' camp. Because in addition to Darrun Hilliard, Corey Walden and Vladmir Lucic, the Munich team was also missing Leon Radosevic, who is in hospital with a severe fever infection.

But the high expectations of being able to win the title in their own hall for the first time in 19 years seemed to paralyze the Berliners. The hosts seemed unfocused and agitated, and also scored underground from a distance. Bayern, on the other hand, acted aggressively from the start and fought doggedly for their last chance. "We're not going to Berlin without hope," Djedovic said before the game. "It's nothing new to win in Berlin, we've done it a few times before."

And Bayern put their words into action. Thomas and Othello Hunter in particular were up to speed right from the start. In addition, the guests scored well from a distance and had clear advantages in rebounds. The rebound ratio at the break was 20:13 in favor of Bayern, who went into half-time with a 19-point lead that nobody thought possible before the game. "We play freely, let the ball run and are aggressive on the offensive. We also get the rebounds and defend quite well," national player Andreas Obst summed up the game at the break after 20 minutes.

Even after the change of sides, the Berliners never found their rhythm. Although Maodo Lo, who was extremely pale in the first round, improved a little, the Bavarians continued to hold their own and never allowed Alba to significantly reduce their lead. On the contrary: With a three pointer, Obst extended the lead to 25 points three and a half minutes before the end of the third quarter and nipped all Alba's hopes of a turnaround in the bud. In the end it was 30 points difference.

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