Until last saturday, the EWE baskets oldenburg were the best team in the basketball bundesliga. Eight wins in a row, including against FC bayern munich and in berlin. But then the "thunderbirds" were 85:100 in vechta a powerful clipping of the wings. "After the defeat in vechta, the oldenburg team will be even more motivated. For us this means: we have to be ready for a very intense game, where we need the help of every single player in order to succeed", says bamberger coach federico perego ahead of his team’s game at the second-placed team in the table on wednesday evening (20.30 o’clock).
At the home strong oldenburg the brose basketball players are threatened with the third defeat in the bundesliga in a row. After the 66:69 against berlin and the 81:92 in bonn, they will once again meet a team that – like themselves – wants to put themselves in the best possible starting position with a view to the play-offs. While the oldenburg team is fighting with alba berlin for second place, the bamberger team is trying to overtake vechta, which is tied on points, by the end of the main round. More than place 4 is probably no longer possible for the cup winner, unless he starts a new winning streak.
The hurdle in oldenburg in this make-up game of the 17. Matchday even higher than last time in bonn. The EWE baskets field an offensively potent team that averages 90 points. Most dangerous weapons are setup man will cummings (20 digits per game) and center rahid mahalbasic (13.8). Ricky paulding (12.9), who is playing in his eleventh season for oldenburg, nathan boothe (11.7) and frantz massenat (10.6) also scored in double figures "it’s a team full of talent, made up of players who love to perform as a unit. In the last few weeks, they have shown that someone else can be the star in every game", says perego. Massenat recently set a bundesliga season record with 40 points in oldenburg’s 96-79 win in gottingen.
In contrast to the team from bamberg, the EWE baskets have far fewer games under their belts, as they are not represented on the international stage this season. What’s piquant about this is that the north germans actually wanted to compete in the champions league, as in previous years. But the bamberg team, which decided not to take part in the eurocup, snatched the last starting spot from the bundesliga.
In retrospect, however, it turned out that the lack of a double burden is the main reason for the strong season of coach mladen drijencic’s team so far. The many english weeks, on the other hand, took their toll on the bambergers recently; the game in bonn was already the fourth within ten days. The program will remain until the final four of the champions league (3. To 5. May), whose semifinal pairings will be drawn on wednesday, tightly. The fifth-placed team in the table will play six games in the next 20 days.
Whether perego will be able to call on cliff alexander again in oldenburg will only be decided at short notice. The center had twisted his ankle during final training before the game in bonn. The use of karsten tadda is questionable for the hosts. The player from bamberg has been suffering from an abdominal muscle injury since mid-march, but is already back in rehabilitation training.