Four days before the cup semi-final against FC Bayern Munich, Brose Baskets did what was expected of them and defeated bottom-of-the-table Mitteldeutscher BC 98:68 in a game postponed from earlier in the season. The league leaders had as good as sealed the encounter by amassing a 52:33 lead by half-time. Unfortunately, the young playmaker Aleksej Nikolic injured himself during the away game.
The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri was also able to romp to a third straight victory against a team from the lower end of the German league thanks to a focused performance. Following Tübingen (101:64) and Crailsheim (93:53), this time it was bottom-placed MBC that suffered a mauling at the hands of the German champs in front of the league’s lowest attendance in the season to date (just 1,800 spectators). And best of all for Brose Baskets: Trinchieri was again able to spread the time his players had on court very nicely and rest his playmakers for the cup weekend by giving them a runout of just 15 to 18 minutes. Brad Wanamaker also did not play at all as he had slight muscle problems. The captain’s place was again taken by young 20-year-old playmaker Aleksey Nikolic, who once more turned in an impressive display as against Tübingen. Nevertheless, “Ali” was to be dogged by bad luck: he had fallen awkwardly on his right foot against Tübingen, battled his way through his 30 minutes on court and had to rest for a week. The youngster from Slovenia again twisted his ankle at the MBC before the break and so could not be brought on by Trinchieri in the second half. By that time, the visitors had complete control of the game. Bamberg played solidly from the tip-off and extended its lead minute by minute. Nikos Zisis notched up all of his 13 points in the first half – he and Nicolo Melli (10 points) were mainly responsible for their side’s 52:33 lead at half-time.
After the break, it was above all the German players who turned on the heat: top scorer Elias Harris (21 points, 15 of them in the second half) was unstoppable under the home side’s basket, while Daniel Theis (12) and Patrick Heckmann (10) played the MBC dizzy. Although the “Wolves” produced a run of five points without reply right after the break and reduced the deficit to 52:38, center Leon Radosevic (10 points) added six in a row to put Bamberg back on track for a comfortable win on the road.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “This was our third away game in the space of just five days. We did a professional and serious job. We focused on defense at the outset and controlled their guards. We lost our concentration a little toward the end and were punished for that with four threes. Everyone who went on court was focused and did his job without any frills. The injury to Nikolic marred the win. He played very well up to when he had to retire.”
This Saturday sees the cup semi-final between the German champions and last year’s runners-up FC Bayern Munich in the Audi Dome in Munich. The game, which tips off at 4 p.m., will be broadcast live on Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). The final between the winner and the victors from the second encounter (Alba Berlin or Fraport Skyliners) will tip off in the Audi Dome at 3 p.m. on Sunday.