Basketball EM: Alba-Berlin-Connection helps the German team

AOn Thursday morning, the German Basketball Association published several pictures on Instagram. You can see the national players there Maodo Lo, Johannes Thiemann, Niels Giffey and Franz Wagner at the airport. “Good morning, Berlin” is written under the photos. They have a deeper meaning: The Germans are not only in the city where they will fight for progress against Montenegro in the round of 16 of the European Championship this Saturday (6 p.m. on MagentaSport).

They are also in the city where their sport has received a major boost. Lô, Thiemann, Giffey and Wagner play or played for Alba Berlin, the German champion of the last three years, the club that develops basketball in Germany with its ideas and its convictions season after season. And with it the national team.

The Germans can be confident against Montenegro because they have what Alba Berlin also has: a team with depth, confidence in their own abilities and great, great fun in what they do. In the preliminary round in Cologne they were able to win against France and Lithuania. These are teams with more talent. National coach often sets Gordon Herbert ten out of twelve players in the first quarter. It’s not just the way the Germans play with each other, but the way they talk about each other that reminds of Alba.

Aunt Franziska comes into play

“It will be a very, very nice home field advantage,” says Niels Giffey. Born in Berlin and twice a college champion in the United States, he went abroad as a professional only last year at the age of thirty, after seven years as an Alba. However, he wasn’t happy at Zalgiris Kaunas, and he still hasn’t got a contract for the new season.

He seems all the happier in Berlin. “I noticed in my circle that there was a certain hype,” he says. With others it is not worth mentioning that the aunt is expected to the game, with him it is. Franziska Giffey is the Governing Mayor of Berlin. “I don’t think she will go to Hertha on Saturday,” says the nephew with a grin.

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