Things can change quickly in basketball, and it’s not just about gameplay. A week ago, Alba Berlin’s coach Israel Gonzalez was a bit annoyed that there was a three-day break between games two and three in the quarter-final series against Bamberg. His team is used to playing in a short rhythm and can handle it better than many of its competitors, said the Spaniard. Well, before the third game of the “Best-of-Five” series on Thursday (7 p.m., Magentasport and Sport1) in Bamberg, Gonzalez would like to have a few more days off. “We have to go to Bamberg as healthy as possible, but there are really a lot of question marks,” said the Berlin coach.
Alba clearly won the two home games against the former series champion and leads 2-0. But in the last duel on Sunday, the Berliners had to deal with a few problems. With Marcus Eriksson, Ben Lammers and Luke Sikma three players were missing due to health reasons. Tim Schneider was back in the squad for the first time after his meniscus surgery, but has not yet played.
The Swedish threesome specialist Eriksson has been missing for three and a half months, but is intensifying the training more and more. “With Marcus we see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gonzalez, but it is still uncertain whether it will be enough for a comeback this season. Things are looking a lot better at Lammers. The center missed the first two games against Bamberg due to a minor muscle injury and was given a ten-day break by the doctors. “It’s going to be tight,” Gonzalez said about the chances of action on Thursday.
Sikma and Louis Olinde, on the other hand, caught an infection. While Olinde was still able to play on Sunday, the captain was absent and still not feeling too well on Tuesday. Johannes Thiemann did not train fully with the team either. “The knee pinches a bit,” said the international. A total of six out of 14 professionals are either injured, battered or just recovered. There are better starting positions before a playoff game.
Nevertheless, Alba is going to Franconia with a lot of self-confidence. The Berliners have won the last 13 games and if they keep the series on Thursday, the leap into the semi-finals would be perfect. This would save the team a longer stay in Bamberg until game four on Sunday.
The previous two games against Bamberg were very different, even if the outcome was similar. In the first duel, offensive Bamberg Alba ran into open knives, on Sunday they defended much more intensively and sometimes very hard. Coach Gonzalez and his player Oscar da Silva do not expect anything to change in this aggressive streak. “They will do everything in order not to fly out of the play-offs 0: 3,” said the center.
In front of an opposing audience, the task certainly doesn’t get any easier. “When you play in Bamberg, it can happen that the referees allow more harshness,” said da Silva. “This is enemy territory and it can quickly run against you.”