Brose Baskets defeated FC Bayern Munich on the road by 90:76 thanks to an outstanding second half to take a deserved 2:0 lead in the playoff semi-final of the German championship. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri can dash the title hopes of its arch-rivals from the Bavarian capital by winning in the Brose Arena on Sunday to make a clean 3:0 sweep of the series and advance to the final.
After the more than clear 88:73 home victory in the first game of the series against FC Bayern Munich, Trinchieri expected the team of his counterpart Svetislav Pesic to strike back and put up very stiff resistance in the second tussle in the Audi Dome on Wednesday evening. And Brose Baskets’ Head Coach proved to be right: Bayern produced a strong performance, especially in defense, and successfully hindered the customary fast offensive play of Brose Baskets. Maxi Kleber alone produced five blocks in the first two periods against lay-ups by Bamberg; in addition, Trinchieri’s players missed a number of open shots from beyond the arc, with the result that Bamberg trailed by 25:33 midway through the second quarter. Although Brad Wanamaker and Nikos Zisis were able to reduce the deficit to three points (34:37), the former Bamberg player Anton Gavel stretched FC Bayern’s lead to 43:34 at half-time with two threes in the final 39 seconds.
Bamberg came out with greater zest after the break and showed far more tenacity in defense. As a result of two fouls while a Munich player was attempting a three, Bamberg slipped behind by double digits for the first time (44:54 in the 35th minute). However, the German champs were not intimidated by that – on the contrary, Trinchieri’s players kept calm and did not act hastily in offense, but instead looked for the gaps in Bayern’s tight defense. And it was in particular the two top scorers Brad Wanamaker (28 points) and Nikos Zisis (22) who found them. Since Bayern still skillfully prevented its opponents from unfurling their fast combination play, the two playmakers repeatedly drove quickly into the zone, resulting in either lay-ups or a foul and free throws. To the jubilation of the 250 Bamberg fans, Brose Baskets were therefore able to close the gap to 60:62, also thanks to the bucket from outside by Patrick Heckmann and the tough shot from close distance by Darius Miller. And in the final period, Bamberg took complete control: a magnificent slam-dunk by Daniel Theis (15 points) tied the scores, then free throws by Miller and a strong shot by Lucca Staiger made it 66:62. Talking about Staiger: the former Munich player played for just less than seven minutes, but in this spell he put the shackles on Bayern’s best player Anton Gavel, blocked him and so stopped Munich from scoring. With six free throws in one attacking sequence after Gavel had committed a foul when Wanamaker attempted a three and after a technical foul was called against the FCB’s Head Coach Pesic, the steely-nerved Wanamaker increased the lead to 81:70 with three minutes to go and as good as sealed victory. Bamberg took the final period 30:14 – the third time that Brose Baskets have overrun their arch-rivals in the final ten minutes in their five encounters this season. The away fans were still chanting minutes after the game ended: “Bamberger rules the roost here” and “We’re the number one in the land.”
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We had our problems in the first half. Bayern was very aggressive, whereas we were perhaps too soft. However, we were able to turn the game around and managed to do so at the right moment. Particular congratulations must go to Paul Zipser and Anton Gavel, both of them had an outstanding game today. It’s now 2:0, the next game in the series in back in Bamberg, and we now have to focus our strength for the game on Sunday.”
Brose Baskets now have a great chance to advance to the final of the German championship in the third semi-final game against FC Bayern Munich in the Brose Arena on Sunday, May 29, 2016 (tip-off: 7:30 p.m.).