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Berlin to face Bayern in Finals / More fans in the stands / Giessen sign Coach Strobl / Oldenburg add Michalak Christina Pahnke

Berlin to face Bayern in Finals / More fans in the stands / Giessen sign Coach Strobl / Oldenburg add Michalak

The Finals of the easyCredit BBL are set as reigning champions ALBA BERLIN will face off against MagentaSport BBL German Cup winners FC Bayern Munich for the 2020-21 title starting on Wednesday June 9. Both teams won three straight games for 3-1 semi-finals series wins to set up the fourth match-up of Germany’s two powerhouses in the Finals - with Bayern winning all three previous showdowns.

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German easyCredit 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 easyCredit BBL short and sweet:

Berlin and Bayern face off for title, fourth matchup in Finals

And then there were two … the easyCredit BBL Finals are upon us and the two teams most people expected to get there will battle it out for the 2020-21 title - reigning champions ALBA BERLIN and MagentaSport BBL German Cup winners FC Bayern Munich. This will be the fourth showdown of Germany’s two EuroLeague teams in the Finals, and Berlin will be looking for their first win after Bayern hoisted the trophy in 2013, 2018 and 2019. Berlin are going for their 10th league title, which would pull them into second place all time in German history behind only Bayer Leverkusen’s 14 crowns. Should Bayern win the crown, it would be their fourth and pull them even with Giessen and Saturn Cologne in the all-time standings.

More fans for the Finals

 After 1,000 fans were allowed to watch Game 2 of ALBA BERLIN's Game 2 victory over ratiopharm ulm in the semi-finals, there will be even more fans allowed into Berlin's home games of the Finals against FC Bayern Munich. Berlin officials have announced that 1,450 fans will be allowed to watch Game 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Arena with that number jumping to 2,000 for Game 2 as well as for a possible Game 5 in the German capital. It remains unclear if Bavarian state authorities will grant Bayern permission to welcome fans to the Audi Dome for Game 3 and a possible Game 4.

Berlin finish off Ulm, set up showdown with Bayern for title defense

ALBA BERLIN will get a chance to defend their title as they finished off ratiopharm ulm 77-75 in Game 4 on the road for a 3-1 series win and a match-up with FC Bayern Munich in the Finals. The game was tight throughout until Berlin went on a 10-0 run for a 68-60 lead. Patrick Heckmann cut the margin to 77-75 with 49 seconds left, but after Jayson Granger came up empty for Berlin, Heckmann missed his three-pointer to give Berlin the series. Berlin committed only 11 turnovers and made 15-of-17 free throws to 8-of-10 from the line for Ulm. Simone Fontecchio collected 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for Berlin with Niels Giffey scoring 17 points and Granger finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Andi Obst drained 5 three-pointers in scoring 24 points for Ulm, who also saw Troy Caupain flirt with a triple-double with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists.

Berlin use big fourth quarter run to tie series 1-1, in front of 1,000 fans

ALBA BERLIN used a big fourth quarter run to pick up their first win in their series against ratiopharm ulm, evening the semi-finals 1-1 after a 92-78 victory in front of 1,000 fans at home. Berlin led by seven points in the final frame before going on a 15-2 surge for the win. Maodo Lo was Berlin’s leading scorer with 20 points to go with 6 assists and 4 steals with Simone Fontecchio picking up 17 points and 6 rebounds, Marcus Eriksson adding 14 points and Niels Giffey chipping in 10 points and 6 rebounds. Berlin committed 12 turnovers and dished out 25 assists in shooting 52.5 percent from the field. Ulm were led by Demitrius Conger with 19 points while Troy Caupain collected 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. As part of a pilot project, 1,000 spectators were allowed to watch the game in the Mercedes-Benz Arena - the first contest with fans since October 13, 2020.

Berlin reclaim home court advantage 2-1 thanks to Lo showcase

Reigning champions ALBA BERLIN reclaimed home court advantage in their semi-finals series with ratiopharm ulm as Maodo Lo shined in an 80-72 road victory in Game 3. After a tight game throughout, Berlin broke the game open with a 13-2 run as Marcus Eriksson drained two three-pointers. Berlin held Ulm to just 39.3 percent from the field while shooting 50.0 percent for the game. Lo tallied 21 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 0 turnovers in 27 minutes of action. Simone Fontecchio chipped in 19 points and Ben Lammers added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dylan Osetkowski was Ulm’s main weapon with 16 points with Cameron Clark scoring 14 points and Troy Caupain contributing 13 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists in the loss.

Bayern run away late from Ludwigsburg, book spot in Finals

FC Bayern Munich booked their spot in the easyCredit BBL Finals after taking Game 4 of their series with regular season champions MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg with an 82-73 home victory. Bayern wasted a 12-point third quarter lead but then used a 13-4 run in the final frame to secure the win and their third Finals appearance in the last four seasons. Bayern forced 21 Ludwigsburg turnovers and held the guests to just 35.8 percent from the field. With Paul Zipser unavailable because of a knee problem, Robin Amaize led the way with 16 points including 4 three-pointers and James Gist came off the bench for 11 points. Vladimir Lucic and JaJuan Johnson both added 10 points. Jamel McLean paced Ludwigsburg with 17 points and Jordan Hulls came back from injury for 10 points off the bench. Ludwigsburg’s starting five combined for just 28 points in the team’s final game of the season.

Bayern end Ludwigsburg home winning streak, even series 1-1

FC Bayern Munich stole home court advantage from MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg as they grabbed an 82-72 road win to snap the hosts’ 30-game home winning streak and even the semi-finals series 1-1. Bayern used a big second quarter to take a 14-point lead and never let Ludwigsburg really challenge the rest of the way. Bayern forced 20 turnovers and held Ludwigsburg to just 44.4 percent shooting. DJ Seeley led the way with 22 points off the bench while Vladimir Lucic and Paul Zipser both scored 14 points and Zan Mark Sisko dished out 8 assists. Jonah Radebaugh paced Ludwigsburg with 20 points off the bench while the team’s starters combined for just 37 points.

Bayern take 2-1 lead at home after third quarter push

FC Bayern Munich took a 2-1 lead in their series with regular season champions MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg after winning 81-78 at home in Game 3 thanks to a big third quarter. Bayern gained control with a 13-0 run in the third quarter and sealed the win on a big offensive rebound by Vladimir Lucic in the waning seconds. Bayern connected on 46.4 percent of their three-pointers and held Ludwigsburg to just 39.4 percent from the field for their second straight win. Wade Baldwin poured in 22 points after going scoreless in Game 2 with Lucic also finishing with 22 points. Leon Radosevic picked up 13 points and 8 rebounds and Paul Zipser chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds. Jaleen Smith played up to his MVP level with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals to lead Ludwigsburg, who also got 18 points from Jonah Radebaugh and 11 points from Jamel McLean.

Strobl leaves Braunschweig, signs two-year deal as Giessen head coach

This week saw a major coaching move as Pete Strobl left Basketball Löwen Braunschweig to sign a two-year deal as head coach at JobStairs GIESSEN 46ers. The 43-year-old American playcaller had spent the past two seasons with Braunschweig and stood out for his willingness to give playing time to young German players including Karim Jallow, Luc van Slooten and Gavin Schilling. Strobl previously had spent three seasons as an assistant coach with ratiopharm ulm.

Oldenburg snatch up leading scorer Michalak from MBC

EWE Baskets Oldenburg added a major scoring option for next season as they locked up the 2020-21 easyCredit BBL’s leading scorer Michal Michalak. The 27-year-old Polish international comes to Oldenburg on a one-year deal after pouring in 20.5 points per game last season for SYNTAINICS MBC to lead the league in scoring in his first campaign in Germany. Michalak joins Martin Breunig, Sebastian Herrera and Rickey Paulding as players with contracts for 2021-22 in Oldenburg.

MBC changes continue: Michalak, Hooker, assistant coach Scepanovic, Hartwich all leaving

The changes for SYNTAINICS MBC continued as four key figures are leaving the team this off-season. Two of the team’s top leaders Michal Michalak and Quinton Hooker are departing after their expiring contracts were not extended. Following the announcement that head coach Silvano Poropat will be leaving, assistant coach Aleksandar Scepanovic will also not be with MBC next season. A new head coach is reportedly to be named soon. German center Philipp Hartwich exercised the option on his two-year contract and will be leaving the club - though his next destination is not known.

Göttingen add Hujic, Toolson

BG Göttingen are not waiting long to give shape to their roster for the 2021-22 season as they added guards Haris Hujic and Jake Toolson. The 24-year-old German playmaker Hujic, who was named the U19 NBBL MVP in 2015, penned a one-year deal after playing last season with ProA runners-up Bayer Giants Leverkusen. The 25-year-old Toolson meanwhile signed a one-year deal for his first season in Europe after playing last season with Salt Lake City in the G-League. Göttingen’s roster for next season as of now also includes Mathis Mönninghoff and Akeem Vargas.

Bamberg extend with talent Baggette, bid farewell to Fieler, Larson, Seric

Brose Bamberg made a signing for the future this week while also bidding farewell to two of their leaders from this past season. Bamberg locked up 19-year-old Elias Baggette on a three-year contract until 2024. At the same time, the club decided to part ways with Mateo Seric, who had a contract with the team until 2022. Bamberg’s co-captains Chase Fieler and Tyler Larson also will be leaving the team after their contracts expired.

Player(s) of the Week(s)

With three rounds of playoffs games there are three Player of the Week honors to hand out. Jonah Radebaugh takes the honor for the Game 2s for his showing against FC Bayern Munich for MHP RIESEN as he collected 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 1-of-1 free throws, 9 rebounds and 2 assists for an efficiency of 25 in the loss. Jaleen Smith was the top player in the Game 3s as the season MVP tallied 29 points on 8-of-15 shots and 8-of-9 free throws, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals for an efficiency of 34 for Ludwigsburg against Bayern. The top player from the Game 4s was Simone Fontecchio of ALBA BERLIN after he picked up 17 points on 7-of-14 shots, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for an efficiency of 23 in closing out ratiopharm ulm.

German Top Five of the Week

G: Maodo Lo, ALBA BERLIN

Lo stepped up big time for Berlin as the German international playmaker helped the team to three straight wins against ratiopharm ulm to win the series 3-1. In Game 2, Lo hit 3 three-pointers in scoring 20 points to go with 6 assists and 4 steals. Lo collected 21 points with 3 three-pointers, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals in Game 3 and then chipped in 6 points, 1 rebound and 2 assist in Game 4.

G: Andi Obst, ratiopharm ulm

Obst tried to keep Ulm in the series with ALBA BERLIN but his team lost three games. In Game 2, he had 14 points and 1 rebound. Obst missed all five of his shots in Game 3 in scoring 3 points to go with 1 rebound and 2 assists. He knocked down 5 three-pointers in scoring 24 points with 1 rebound and 2 assists in Game 4 but they were not enough.

F: Niels Giffey, ALBA BERLIN

Giffey also earned a spot on this team in helping Berlin win three straight games against ratiopharm ulm. In Game 2, he had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists and followed that with 3 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in Game 3. Giffey was joint lead scorer in Game 4 with 17 points to go with 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.

F: Robin Amaize, FC Bayern Munich

Amaize started all three games as Bayern grabbed three straight wins over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg to reach the Finals. In Game 2, he collected 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Amaize chipped in 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 block in Game 3 before putting together 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in Game 4.

F: Paul Zipser, FC Bayern Munich

Zipser only played in two games but was strong in both as Bayern eliminated MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. In Game 2, Zipser collected 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steals and followed that with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block in Game 3. He missed Game 4 with a knee injury.

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