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Alba humble after away win: “We’re still standing”

Alba makes the basketball finals series exciting. After the win in Munich, the title can be secured at home. But no Berliners are talking big. The statistics even speak in Bayern’s favor

Alba Berlin were careful not to make any fighting statements. Of course, the away win in the final of the Basketball Bundesliga at FC Bayern gave the capital city team plenty of pride and satisfaction. There is also the anticipation that the 1:1 draw in the best-of-five series means that Alba now have two games on the Spree in which they can become champions in front of their own fans. Despite the home advantage, Alba does not want to claim the role of favorite “at all”, as coach Israel Gonzalez made clear. Instead, he warned of game three on Wednesday (8:30 p.m./Dyn): “It will be very, very difficult. Bayern have incredible players and an incredible coach.”

Overly bold predictions are also out of the question because Berlin knows how to assess the 79:70 victory in the second final match. It also came about because Bayern missed a conspicuous number of shots – tellingly, national player and world champion Andreas Obst, one of the best shooters in Europe, missed all of his points. “We were lucky, of course,” said Alba’s sporting director Himar Ojeda about Munich’s lack of accuracy.

Staggering boxers and “terrible pain “

And the Spaniard emphasized another aspect: Berlin went far beyond the pain threshold at the end of a season with more than 80 games, at the end of which several Alba key players were missing through injury. “We’ve managed to mobilize all our strength once again,” said Ojeda, comparing the state of his team to that of a battered boxer: “We’re still standing, even if I don’t know how. And we’re not just trying not to take any hits, we’re also fighting back. I am very proud.”

The face of self-sacrifice is captain Johannes Thiemann, who had missed the opening game of the final due to a painful knee injury, but gritted his teeth in the second game. The world champion hobbled across the court time and again, his face contorted with pain. “I wanted to play a few minutes to give the boys a break. But of course I’m not at 100 percent,” he admitted to broadcaster Dyn. Sports director Ojeda was clearer: “JT is in terrible pain. “

Home advantage my ass

Under all these circumstances, the final series between the two German flagship clubs is still wide open. Especially as home advantage is such a thing anyway. “This is my eighth year at Alba,” said Ojeda. “To be honest, they’ve mostly beaten us in our arena. I don’t expect them to be particularly impressed by playing away from home. I’m expecting the best Bayern yet.”

Ojeda’s memory is not deceptive: Since his arrival in Berlin in February 2016, Bayern have won ten of a total of 16 games at Berlin Ostbahnhof. From 2017 to 2022, Alba and Bayern met in five playoff series – and Munich won once away from home in each of them

Bayern wants to be hungrier

Bayern will have to improve on game two if they are to win away from home again this time. Coach Laso said succinctly: “We have to hit our shots.” Defending the opponent better wouldn’t hurt either. In Berlin’s victory on Monday, the cup winners were unable to get to grips with former NBA professionals and top scorers Matt Thomas (21 points) and Sterling Brown (17). “They were simply hungrier than us,” said Bayern professional Sylvain Francisco.

But even though Munich has been waiting four years for the championship title, optimism and self-confidence à la FC Bayern are still there. Build-up player Nick Weiler-Babb said: “Whoever we play, we always believe we have a chance. “

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