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Champions League & easyCredit BBL: Brose Bamberg wins and loses over Easter

Bamberg, 04-04-2021

Brose Bamberg’s two games over the Easter weekend yielded one win and one defeat. On Maundy Thursday, the team of Head Coach Johann Roijakkers beat Dinamo Sassari 92:86 in the Champions League after trailing by 9:25. Bamberg then contested its fourth game in eight days on Easter Sunday, losing to a rested Hamburg Towers side by 64:76.

Just 48 hours after the disappointing “home game on the road” in Bosnia, Brose Bamberg needed to make amends in the Champions League duel against Dinamo Sassari – but Roijakkers’ players were more fatigued than charged up to begin with. Negligent defending left it 9:25 down after just eight minutes, before Dominik Lockhart cut the deficit to 15:25 with two buckets from downtown in a row. Michele Vitali also made a valiant effort to avert defeat, adding two threes and ten points against his former club in the first half, which ended 37:48. Bamberg finally woke up in the third period, as Chase Fieler and Devon Hall (16 points) drained three shots from outside to help close the gap to 48:50. The Italian club defended its lead skillfully, but top scorer Vitali (17 points) gave his side the lead for the first time (79:78) with three minutes to go, after which David Kravish secured victory with two slam-dunks in the final 45 seconds. Since Zaragoza won at the same time against Nymburk, the playoff stage is the end of the road for Roijakkers’ team in the Champions League.

Christian Sengfelder injured his shoulder in training before the encounter with Hamburg Towers and so will be out of action for the time being. Both clubs had made the other teams sit up and take notice by winning five German league games in a row; indeed, Hamburg had even defeated Alba Berlin and Bayern Munich in its two previous games. Devon Hall put his side 5:0 ahead with a three and free throws in the first minute, but then the effervescent and more alert visitors wrested control. They had had eight days to prepare for the encounter, whereas two Champions League games had taken their toll on Bamberg. Hamburg demoralized Bamberg in its attacking efforts thanks to rock-hard defending, often attacking the playmakers Larson and Hundt with two men. After trailing by 16:22 at the end of the first period, Bamberg managed just nine points in the second quarter as a result of an extremely weak 3-point field goal percentage and so went in at half-time with a 25:42 deficit. Things did not get better after the break and, after his team had fallen behind by its highest margin (39:63), Head Coach Roijakkers took all five players off and put fresh legs on court in the shape of Ogbe, Grüttner-Bacoul and in particular Mateo Seric (10 points). The youngsters put up stiff resistance in order to avert a heavy defeat and – also thanks to a number of impressive combinations and slam-dunks – cut the gap to nine points at one stage (61:70). But of all people, it was the former Bamberg player Kameron Taylor who finally dashed all hopes of a home win with a bucket from beyond the arc. Apart from Seric, Bennet Hundt (11 points) and David Kravish (12) got into double figures.

Johan Roijakkers commented: “Against Sassari, we weren’t present mentally or physically to begin with. We didn’t find our energy and defense until the second period. After the break, everyone did their bit to help the team win. All in all, I’m proud of our season in Europe. We had great away victories in Karsiyaka and Bilbao and we remained undefeated at home in the Brose Arena. You normally advance if you win all your home games and one on the road. Unfortunately, we had to play one of our home games on the road through no fault of our own, so things didn’t work out that way. After the three games in one week, we didn’t have enough energy against Hamburg. We were always a step too late in defense and often too slow in attack.”

Brose Bamberg plays its last game in the Champions League this season on Thursday, April 8, 2021, when it travels to Italy to play Sassari (tip-off: 6:30 p.m.).