Brose Baskets embarked on the new year 2015 with a victory over German champions Bayern Munich by the deserved margin of 80:63. In its first win against the visitors from Bavaria’s capital in a serious game since the semi-final win in June 2013, Bamberg continuously stretch its lead from midway through the second period on and once again turned in an impressive display, especially in defense. Bayern was the team with the strongest offense in the league going into the game (average: 93 points a game), but the team of Head Coach Pesic had notched up a meager 56 points with one minute left.
The visitors from Munich were only able to keep the game against Brose Baskets evenly poised in the first period: Bamberg took a 5:2 lead, but Bayern soon tied the scores at 7:7. Brad Wanamaker put the home side 16:12 ahead with six straight points, but the German champs struck back through the former Bamberg player Anton Gavel with six free throws (19:21). Bayern could have extended its lead with its last play a few seconds before the end of the quarter, but Josh Shipp stole the ball from the surprised Anton Gavel and went down the other end to tie the game at 21:21 at the end of the first quarter. The encounter remained tight up to the sixteenth minute, when Bayern made it 33:31. After that, however, the home side became even more stable in defense and crucially irritated Munich’s offense. Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri’s team mercilessly capitalized on three turnovers in a row with a bucket from beyond the arc by Janis Strelnieks after an exquisite pass by Brad Wanamaker, a slam-dunk from Trevor Mbakwe and lay-ups by Strelnieks and Wanamaker. Brose Baskets took the German champs apart in the space of three minutes and, thanks to the 9:1 run, went in at the break 42:32 in front. The game swayed to and fro for a number of minutes in the third quarter – Bayern cut the deficit to eight several times, but Trinchieri’s team always had the right answer to reclaim a double-digit lead. Ryan Thompson and top scorer Josh Duncan (22 points) increased the gap to 14 points for the first time with two buckets from outside (56:42). The visitors were also not able to capitalize on Bamberg’s two-minute drought in attack and, with the score at 58:49, the home side had five seconds left in the period to finish its attack: Janis Strelnieks dribbled against the EuroLeague stalwart Bo McCalebb across the center line, made space for himself with a feint, shot from thirteen meters out – and drained the buzzer beater to make it 61:49. The 6,800 Bamberg fans went ecstatic and gave their players standing ovations at the end of the third quarter. In the final period, Andrea Trinchieri soon had to change his concept because of his centers – Daniel Theis was unjustifiably penalized with a fifth foul, while Trevor Mbakwe (12 points) already had four fouls to his name and was on the bench following his great slam-dunks. Trinchieri therefore played Elias Harris against Bayern’s center John Bryan – and, after his not so good performances recently, Harris fought his way in the game with great defending (one block, one turnover) and also notched up six points in attack. Thanks to this tactical ploy, Bayern was no longer able to exploit the fact that Bamberg was missing its two tall players and the home side pulled away point by point to 80:56 with one minute to go thanks to the buckets by Janis Strelnieks (10 points) and Brad Wanamaker (18). Trinchieri then gave his youngsters some time on court, which the German champions seized on to produce a run of 7 without reply and put a better complexion on the score. The game finally ended 80:63.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We certainly had an advantage due to the fact that Djedovic was missing. It was a very physical encounter, we played solidly in defense and won the game. We weren’t brilliant, but it’s also very tough to play spectacularly against a team like Bayern. They are the reigning champions, the best team. I want to make clear that this win doesn’t change the balance of power. They are still the team to beat. But we’re still the challenger. This game does nothing to change how things stood to begin with.”
Michael Stoschek, Chairman of the Brose Group, noted: “The game against Alba Berlin was great, but such a strong display at this level against the reigning German champions deserves the highest praise. Nevertheless, we’ll stay modest. This is a season for learning and we’re delighted at every very good game. The encounter was certainly proof that basketball in Bamberg has got off to a good new start.”
Brose Baskets now have little time to rest: Trinchieri’s team lines up for its first game in the last 32 of the Eurocup on the road against Union Olimpija Ljubljana on Wednesday, January 7. The tip-off is at 8:30.