Basketball EM: Germany in the quarterfinals, concerns about Wagner – Sport

From what is known, there was a basketball game in Berlin on Saturday night, but maybe there were two. National coach Gordon Herbert could no longer be so sure after the 85:79 win against Montenegro in the round of 16 of the European Championship. Because he thought: "Today it was actually two games in one." Germany is back in a quarter-final after a long time, on Tuesday (8.30 p.m., live ticker either the Czech Republic or the Greeks are waiting, that's the good news.

The bad: Especially in the second half against the Montenegrins, the DBB selection looked like a team that was hit by a severe hangover after a lightning rush. "In the end we got the win," said the captain Dennis Schroederthis time the best German with 22 points and eight assists, "but we really didn't play disciplined."

Poor coordination, structural loss and helplessness in view of Montenegro's zone defense cost a temporary 27-point lead in the last few minutes. For twenty minutes the Germans had shown their skills again, had basketball played like a winning team, consistently, with precision and esprit, before a collapse triggered collective groans in the hall. And as if it wasn't enough that suddenly nothing worked anymore and the opponent kept catching up, Franz Wagner also got injured.

Wagner's diagnosis is still pending

In the middle of the third quarter, the 21-year-old NBA professional landed so hard after a three-way attempt that he sprained his ankle. A nasty scene when his opponent put his foot in Wagner's jump circle, causing him to stumble. Schröder and Daniel Theis unanimously described this sequence as "clearly unsportsmanlike", "in the NBA something like that is clearly called an unsportsmanlike foul," said Schröder. But this time there were "only" three free throws from the Fiba referees who were controversial at this European Championship, the "U" didn't come.

Basketball EM: Franz Wagner twisted his ankle in the second half and hunched over lying on the ground.

Franz Wagner twisted his ankle in the second half and hunched over lying on the ground.

(Photo: Annegret Hilse/Reuters)

After he had sunk all three throws, Wagner (15 points, five rebounds) said goodbye to the field on his feet, he got an ice pack on the bad spot and touched his face in pain. The national coach initially only found out from the physiotherapists "that he was declared unfit to play". "It was a pretty bad sprain, I think," Herbert told Magentasport immediately after the game and added at the press conference: "He's having an MRI done. It's hard for me to speculate about an injury."

During the night there were pictures of the 2.08 meter man being heaved into a DBB van and taken to the hospital. A diagnosis is still pending. Wagner's health is considered a factor in the team, because you don't have someone like him, who goes to the basket with explosiveness, who can work out throws himself, at the DBB.

Nevertheless, those involved did not just look at what they had experienced with misery. Schröder, for example, preferred to focus on the first part of the round of 16: "We showed what we can do. How we defend and how we play on offense," he said NBA playmaker who even stuffed a dunking in the face of a Montenegrin in the first half, as the basketball players say, so flew past the opponent.

"Our expectations go even further," says national coach Herbert before the quarter-finals e

Theis' conclusion was similar, despite five fouls he delivered one of his better performances at the European Championship. "These are do-or-die games, and in the end it doesn't matter how you win, the main thing is that you win," said the NBA Center. The fact that things didn't change in the final minutes was also due to Maodo Lo's next statement game (14 points). The Alba professional finally cemented his status in the European top class at this tournament, his three-pointer shortly before the end stifled the Montenegrins' last attempts.

It was just enough for the quarter-finals, Germany still has something to do at this home European Championship. Looking ahead, the aspirations of the team, which performs like a medal contender in its good moments, are revealed. "That's what we expected," said national coach Herbert, who had already confidently formulated goals after previous games. "But our expectations go further. We expected to win in Berlin. And we expect even more."

Of course, that could also be translated into the approval of the spectators in the capital, because unlike in the preliminary round in Cologne, seats in the hall remained visibly empty this time. There was astonishment in the German camp, after all, everyone finally agreed that at least a little hype had arisen about the DBB. Lo, a native of Berlin, addressed the problem most clearly. "Hopefully there will be a few more fans next time. It would be cool if the hall was completely full," he said.

The comparison to the preliminary round, when sometimes 17,000 people even came to games without German participation, is an issue. "Cologne was very strong, that pushed us a lot. Today there were a few empty places here and there, it was a bit quiet in some phases," noted Lo. This time, only 12,938 spectators came to the 14,500-seat Mercedes Benz Arena. He and his colleagues should now hope that the quarter-final schedule of Fiba on Tuesday at prime time does not grow into a major problem. Almost at the same time, football is king in the Champions League, with Bayern meeting Barcelona.

On the other hand, the Germans have more time to regenerate than the upcoming opponents, who will only be determined on Sunday evening. "That helps us a lot. That's probably why we have fresher legs," emphasized Johannes Thiemann after the round of 16. If Franz Wagner's foot should also achieve the necessary fitness, nothing would stand in the way of the greatest possible surprise.

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