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Niels Giffey excels in return / Günther and Bryant reach milestones / Jordan collects 18 assists © Camera 4

Niels Giffey excels in return / Günther and Bryant reach milestones / Jordan collects 18 assists

— David Hein

While they remain unchallenged in the Beko BBL, Brose Baskets Bamberg remains alive in the race for the Euroleague playoffs with a historic victory over CSKA Moscow. Bayern Munich joined Bamberg in booking a spot in the Beko BBL playoffs, and EWE Baskets Oldenburg continue to roll ahead of tough final stretch.

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German Beko Basketball Bundesliga. If you’re short on time but still want your fill of Germany’s top basketball league then you are in the right place. Every week David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the Beko BBL short and sweet:

Bamberg Euroleague magic continues with win over CSKA

The magical Brose Baskets Bamberg Euroleague season continued with a 91-83 victory over CSKA Moscow - the club’s first-ever victory over CSKA. Bamberg has reeled off three straight home wins in the Euroleague against Olympiacos, Khimki and CSKA to remain alive in the race for the Euroleague playoffs. Here are the highlights of the CSKA game.

Bayern lock up playoff spot with third straight win

Bayern Munich joined Brose Baskets Bamberg as the second team to lock up a spot in the Beko BBL playoffs after their victories over medi bayreuth and Telekom Baskets Bonn. Bayern really did a great job sharing the ball as they had 24 assists and seven players scored in double figures against Bayreuth and six Munich players hit double figures with 16 assists against Bonn.

Oldenburg extend winning streak to nine, tough final stretch awaits

EWE Baskets Oldenburg took down ALBA BERLIN in overtime in the German capital and then raced past Basketball Löwen Braunschweig in the second half to extend their winning streak to nine games. Oldenburg improved to 21-6 for third place with the same record as Bayern Munich. But we will know how good Oldenburg are after their final seven games - five of which are against potential playoff teams. Here are the final seven match-ups: vs Giessen, at Göttingen, vs Bamberg, at Frankfurt, vs Ulm, at Bremerhaven and vs Bayern. Here is the end of regulation between Berlin and Oldenburg.

Frankfurt right on Oldenburg’s heels

FRAPORT SKYLINERS picked up three victories within eight days in beating Telekom Baskets Bonn by 30 points, WALTER Tigers Tübingen by 20 and BG Göttingen by 35 points. Frankfurt improved to 20-8, 1.5 games behind Oldenburg and have a more favorable schedule the rest of the way - at Braunschweig, at Würzburg, vs MBC, vs Oldenburg, at Berlin and vs Hagen. Mike Morrison’s big dunk helped Frankfurt take a 25-4 lead against Bonn.

Giffey excels in return as Berlin beat Hagen

It was great to see Niels Giffey back on the court for ALBA BERLIN after the German interantional missed three months of action with a foot injury. The 24-year-old collected 11 points on 5-of-9 shots, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 20:43 minutes in Berlin’s win over Phoenix Hagen. It was the club’s third win in four games for an 18-9 record to remain in the running for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Click here  to watch one highlight of Giffey in his first game since December 27.

Günther, Big Country Bryant reach BBL milestones

Two major milestones were reached by two former teammates and two real leading figures in the Beko BBL. Per Günther passed ahead to Taylor Braun in ratiopharm ulm’s win over s.oliver Baskets Würzburg for his 1000th assist in the Beko BBL. Günther is seventh in the all-time assist record books with his now-over 1000 assists but he still trails Bayern Munich’s Anton Gavel among active players. The other mark came for Günther’s ex-teammate John Bryant, who grabbed his 2000th rebound in the league, ranking him third all-time behind Chris Ensminger and Derrick Allen. Here is Günther’s 1000th assist:

Giessen continue pressure on Würzburg for last playoff spot

The race for the final spot in the playoffs appears to be a two-team battle between s.oliver Baskets Würzburg and GIESSEN 46ers - who are both 14-13 with seven games to go. Würzburg lost to ratiopharm ulm and WALTER Tigers Tübingen to extend their losing streak to four games and seven losses in the last nine games. Giessen meanwhile beat Crailsheim Merlins and Eisbären Bremerhaven for a fourth straight victory and six wins in the last eight games. Gabe Olaseni is a big part of Giessen’s success - Click here to watch this highlight!

MBC streak snapped at four wins, relegation battle heats up

The relegation battle is really heating up as Mitteldeutscher BC picked up their fourth straight victory before losing to Ludwigsburg to drop to 6-21. MBC is 17th in the league, behind Göttingen, who have lost six in a row for a 6-21 record. Crailsheim Merlins are 5-22 with a 12-game losing streak but are still just two wins from the safe zone. WALTER Tigers Tübingen had a great nine-day stretch, beating Göttingen and Würzburg between a loss against Frankfurt to jump to 8-20 - one-half game ahead of Eisbären Bremerhaven, who are 7-20 and 2-2 under new head coach Sebastian Machowski. Here is TaShawn Thomas’ big dunk for MBC against Basketball Löwen Braunschweig in the team’s fourth straight win:

Jordan does Jordan things for Tübingen, Fogg in a daze in win

Tübingen point guard Jared Jordan only scored four points in 34 minutes against Würzburg but the playmaker collected an amazing 18 assists - without turning the ball over. And then there was Kyle Fogg, who scored 30 points for Eisbären Bremerhaven in their important 86-82 victory at Phoenix Hagen.

Player(s) of the Week(s)

There were two rounds of games and both had two players pick up equal efficiency scores. ratiopharm ulm’s Per Günther picked up 29 points to go with three rebounds, seven assists and one steal for an efficiency of 31 against Würzburg. ALBA BERLIN’s Jordan Taylor matched the 31 efficiency with 26 points along with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, one turnover and five fouls against Oldenburg. In Round 23 action, Frankfurt’s Jordan Theodore had 20 points, one rebound, six assists and three steals for a 27 efficiency, which was matched by Berlin’s Dragan Milosavljevic against Hagen with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal.

German Top Five of the Week

G: Per Günther, ratiopharm ulm

As mentioned above, Günther picked up his 1000th assist against Würzburg to go with 29 points, three rebounds, seven assists and one steal. Against Crailsheim, he collected eight points and seven assists.

G: Paul Zipser, Bayern Munich

With the NBA Draft coming up in a couple of months, NBA personnel bosses and scouts are busy watching Zipser down the stretch and he had two good games. Against Bayreuth, he had a team-high 13 points with six rebounds and two assists. He then picked up 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal against Bonn.

F: Patrick Heckmann, Brose Baskets Bamberg

Heckmann is back on the list again with two strong games for the run-away leaders Bamberg. He had 10 points and two rebounds against Ludwigsburg and then collected a team-high 13 points including three three-pointers, three rebounds, three assists and one steal against Bayreuth.

C: Bogdan Radosavljevic, WALTER Tigers Tübingen

Radosavljevic comes back on the list as well with three games in double-digit scoring including one double-double. Versus Göttingen, he collected 11 points on 1-of-2 shots and 9-of-10 free throws, 12 rebounds and one block. Radosavljevic scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Frankfurt. And then he had 12 points with two rebounds, one assist and two steals with one turnover and five personal fouls against Würzburg.

C: Andi Seiferth, medi bayreuth

Seiferth had two strong games against the top two teams in the league. He collected 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three blocks against his former team Bayern. And against Bamberg he scored 12 points and added six rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Young Guns

Niklas Geske, 21, PG, Phoenix Hagen

Geske continues to play well for Hagen with 10 points on 4-of-5 shots and 2-of-2 free throws, one rebound, two assists and two turnovers in 19:25 minutes against Bremerhaven. Against Berlin, he picked up six points on 2-of-4 shots and 2-of-2 free throws, two assists, three steals and two turnovers in 16:33 minutes. Hagen remain committed to giving their young players playing time as Geske, Marcel Kessen, Julian Jasinski, Jonas Grof, Moritz Krume and Pascal Zahner-Gothen combined for 59:32 minutes against Berlin.

Max Ugrai, 20, PF, s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg

Ugrai set a career high in points and steals against Ulm with 12 points on 3-of-6 shots and 5-of-6 free throws and two steals while also picking up three rebounds and one assist in 21:09 minutes. He didn’t get as much playing time against Tübingen with one assist and one turnover in 5:21 minutes against Tübingen.

Jonas Menzel, 19, PG, BG Göttingen/Lennart Okele, 19, SG, FRAPORT SKYLINERS

The Frankfurt-Göttingen game saw the Beko BBL debut of two 19 year olds. Menzel started the game for Göttinen and missed his two shots for 0 points to go with one rebound and one steal but nine turnovers in 10:01 minutes. Okeke also went 0-of-2 from the field but picked up one rebound in 3:23 minutes for Frankfurt.

Agva Watch

Mahir Agva played one of Tübingen’s three games, going scoreless with one missed shot but eight rebounds, one turnover and three fouls in 14:10 minutes. The 19-year-old center did not play against Frankfurt and Würzburg.

Germany undefeated through three games at Albert Schweitzer Tournament

Germany have started the 2016 Albert Schweitzer Tournament in great fashion with three straight wins over Australia, Argentina and Turkey. The extremely-talented German squad is one of four teams which are still undefeated - along with Serbia, France and Italy. Meet one of Germany’s big talents - Kostja Mushidi.

Germans Overseas

It was a strong Easter for Robin Benzing as the German international collected 23 points in 25 minutes for ZAI Zaragoza in their loss against Real Madrid. Click here for the highlights of the game.

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