Bayern Munich coach Andrea Trinchieri took another break five minutes from time. It was a last desperate attempt to turn around this fourth final for the German championship, but quite unconsciously the hall management already played the right song for the guests. Daft Punkt’s “One More Time” blared from the speakers. “We’ll celebrate one more time,” that suited Alba on this muggy Munich Sunday afternoon. With an impressive 96:81 (26:17, 26:19, 24:18, 20:27) the Berliners won their third championship in a row.
And “one more time” they celebrated this in the hall of their great rival. “This is becoming a very nice place for us,” said Captain Luke Sikma. “It was a year with many ups and downs. I’m so proud.” After winning the cup, Alba secured the double, just like two years ago. For the club it is the eleventh league title in the club’s 31-year history.
Johannes Thiemann was voted the best player in the final series after an outstanding performance with 15 points. “I’m really happy, I haven’t even won anything like that when I was young,” said the 28-year-old German international. “It was an incredible season for us.”
Darrun Hilliard and Corey Walden did return to training at Bayern on Saturday, but were unable to play after a long injury. In addition, leader Vladimir Lucic and center Leon Radosevic were still missing. Both teams went into the game unchanged.
But that was only true in terms of personnel, because in the first few minutes you could see the exact opposite of what had happened in Berlin on Friday. Alba was extremely focused and it took a full 93 seconds before the visitors had equalized their three-point haul from game three with two goals from Jaleen Smith. A minute and a half later it was 11-0 for Berlin and Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri stared at nothing on the touchline, arms crossed. “It was above all a matter of honour, because we didn’t want to suffer a 30-point home defeat in front of 15,000 fans,” said Oscar da Silva about the dominant early phase.
Especially Johannes Thiemann, who had been ordered into the starting line-up for Luke Sikma, set off real fireworks in the early stages. The German national player distributed the balls from the post, drew fouls and looked for the end himself. When he had to go to the bench for the first time after just under five minutes, he was directly involved in all 16 Berlin points with seven points and three assists. “The last game was a disaster, our heads were already celebrating, so we were all the more concentrated today,” said Thiemann.
Things didn’t go on that one-sidedly, but Alba had everything under control at all times, despite Jonas Mattisseck’s early injury. The Berliners were livelier, grabbed the rebounds and kept a cool head despite the tropical climate in the hall. It was Alba basketball par excellence, which Israel Gonzalez’s team conjured up at times on the floor. When Christ Koumadje finished a nice attack over Tamir Blatt and Sikma with a crashing dunk, the Berliner Bank jumped up enthusiastically.
Since the mix of fast breaks, three-pointers and physical superiority under the basket by Thiemann and Koumadje was right, Bayern looked in vain for an antidote. They also suffered from foul problems. Deshaun Thomas, Ognjen Jaramaz and Othello Hunter, three important players, conceded their second foul relatively early on.
Only in the last minutes of the first half did they manage to put on something of a small run thanks to some actions by Augustine Rubit. However, Alba was already leading by up to 21 points. When Sikma ended the first half with a difficult jump shot from the corner, the Berliners were still ahead by 52:36.
Immediately after the break, the Munich team showed that they didn’t want to give up without a fight. Rubit and Nick Weiler-Babb score quick points and the Berliners made a step mistake. The home fans saw another chance, just 12 points down, but Alba had the perfect answer. Thiemann, Smith and da Silva put in a bone-dry 12-0 run and things were looking clearer than ever that afternoon. Now only the 100 or so Berliners could be heard among the 5469 spectators in the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle, in which 1000 seats remained free despite the great event.
In the third quarter, a three-pointer from Louis Olinde increased the lead to 25 points, but at the beginning of the final quarter, Alba began to wobble after an unbelievably commanding 30 minutes. The Munich team managed four quick basket successes and the Berlin team gave the ball away too easily. Coach Israel Gonzalez reacted with one of his rare time-outs, but with seven minutes left the hall was suddenly full again at 13 points. However, it was only a flash in the pan. Top scorer Jaleen Smith (23 points) made things clear again with a lay-up and a three-pointer – the rest was boundless jubilation.