BBL: Tired favorites, cheeky underdogs: The playoffs surprise

Tired favorites, cheeky underdogs: The playoffs surprise

Suddenly the favorite in the championship race: Ulm’s Bruno Caboclo dunks the ball through the trap. photo

© Andreas Gora/dpa

First Alba Berlin, now Bayern Munich – the favorites have to suffer in the playoffs. They look tired and overplayed. Is there a new champion for the first time since 2017?

After the next home bankruptcy, Andrea Trinchieri was only left with slogans to persevere. “It’s only over when it’s over,” said the Bayern basketball coach after the 88:93 on Tuesday evening.

The title favorite from Munich is 0:2 behind in the semi-final series against ratiopharm Ulm, the season for the star ensemble from the Isar could already be over on Friday.

Trinchieri left the Audi Dome with a petrified expression – perhaps it was the Italian’s last appearance in his own arena. There have long been rumors that Trinchieri will be replaced by former Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso for the new season.

Ulm now plays at home

In the league, too, there are signs of change. After defending champion Alba Berlin had already failed in the first playoff round at Ulm, the surprise team is now on the verge of throwing Bayern, the next Euroleague team, out of the competition. “We don’t want to let that thing get away from us at home,” announced Ulm’s national player Karim Jallow, with a view to the two upcoming home games on Friday and Sunday.

For the first time in six years there could be a German champion who is not called Alba Berlin or Bayern Munich. Most recently, the Berliners had triumphed three times, before that Bayern twice. The last national champion who didn’t come from Berlin, Munich or Bamberg was the EWE Baskets Oldenburg 2009 – after that the three big “Bs” dominated the league.

Bonn and Ulm have caught up in terms of sport

But with the Telekom Baskets Bonn, another team has already stood out this season. The Champions League winners dominated the main round almost at will and conceded only two defeats. In the playoffs, the main round seventh from Ulm is now trumping. Finally there is excitement and variety again in the hot phase of the season.

On the one hand, this is because teams like Bonn and Ulm have caught up and the coaches Tuomas Iisalo and Anton Gavel are simply doing an outstanding job with their teams.

Lo: “At some point the battery is simply empty”

On the other hand, and above all, it is due to the fact that the stars from Berlin and Munich are simply at the end of their strength. The double burden of the Euroleague and Bundesliga is physically and mentally draining. Players like Berlin’s Maodo Lo and Johannes Thiemann or Bayern’s Andreas Obst have had almost no break after winning the bronze medal at home in the late summer of last year.

At some point the battery is simply empty. “I notice how my body is really fighting back this season,” Lo said a few weeks ago in a remarkable interview with the specialist magazine “BIG – Basketball in Germany”. Although the point guard was never seriously injured, he rarely found his top form. “As it is now, this basketball world is not healthy,” said Bayern Managing Director Marko Pesic with a view to the many competitions and games.

As a result, the best teams simply can’t play their best basketball at the crucial stage of the season. That is good for the tension and variety in the league. A solution to the problem is still needed, but is currently not in sight. Rather, there are efforts to even expand the Euroleague. The more than 70 games that Lo, Obst and Co. have in their bones this season would then even be topped.


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