Bayreuth’s basketball players convince despite the 79:80 against FC Bayern. – Sports

Bayreuth’s basketball players convince despite the 79:80 against FC Bayern.  – Sports

When Ignas Sargiunas stole a ball and put the counter-attack in the basket to make it 22:11, there was anything but relegation mood in the Oberfrankenhalle. So far, so obvious – after all, as the bottom of the table in the basketball Bundesliga, you can’t assume that you’ll have a double-digit lead against FC Bayern. It was more remarkable that even with the final score of 79:80 there was no relegation mood. Coach Mladen Drijencic’s team, 57, fought an unexpectedly exciting battle with the championship aspirant. Ultimately it was for Medi Bayreuth a game that brought frustration and hope in equal measure.

“This here,” says 45-year-old Yvonne when asked what else gives hope. It’s half time against Bayern, it’s 52:46 against the big favorite. No, the team is far from giving up and the mood has never been really bad in the past few months. Next to her is 36-year-old Sebastian, both of whom belong to the Bayreuth Bats fan club. Sebastian has been going to the basketball players’ home games for 21 years, and even a move to Fürth couldn’t stop him from making regular trips to the Oberfrankenhalle. He says you can’t blame the team. But also: “People in Bayreuth were a little upset that nothing had happened for so long.” He very much hopes that the latest commitments, including those of the new coach Mladen Drijencic five weeks ago, will not come too late: “Hopefully we won’t be missing exactly one win in the end”. Conversely, this also means that the fans are still expecting a few more successes, although there have only been three in 22 attempts so far.

“Medi Bayreuth has been the flagship of the sports city of Bayreuth for the last 13 years,” says the well-known hall spokesman Christian Höreth shortly before the game. One can hear from his statements: The world would not end even now if the team actually left the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) should descend. For both scenarios, according to the association, a new team of sponsors and doers is ready to fill the vacuum after the departure of shareholder Carl Steiner – a mixture of well-known faces and younger ones.

It’s definitely going on, and in the event of a descent, you want to get back up as quickly as possible. Of course it won’t be easy. After all, there is already a lack of money to be permanently competitive. In addition, the success of other sports naturally attracts attention. If the footballers 200 meters away manage to stay in the third division, it will be difficult even in the Bundesliga to remain the figurehead as a basketball club.

Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri praises the opponent’s guards after a “tough fight”.

Steiner has announced his retirement, but he has not yet retired. Before the international break, in the home game against Ludwigsburg a month ago (94:108), the long-time namesake picked up the microphone at half-time and explained once again that he would do everything to keep the team in the Bundesliga. In order to provide an argument for the venture, he also announced the commitment of a new player. In the away game in Ludwigsburg, a catch-up game from the first half of the season, the newly signed point guard Otis Livingston II was also on the field. The plan that Livingston’s presence should create more space for playmaker Brandon Childress quickly worked out, Medi is finally competitive in this position.

It was also clear against Bayern that Livingston brings a lot of fresh impetus to the Bayreuth game, especially in attack. He is a haven for his own team and a source of trouble for the opponent at the same time, collecting point after point and a lot of assists. And thanks to him, Childress was able to catch a few minutes on the bench after a furious first quarter with eleven points. The hosts remained in the lead against the clear favorite for an amazingly long time and didn’t give up when the threes suddenly stopped falling and the third quarter was lost 10:19.

The Bavarians had not traveled to Upper Franconia in the best of shape. In the Euroleague they lost clearly at Olympiacos Piraeus on Thursday, and the next duel against long-term rival Alba Berlin is scheduled for Friday. Her trainer Andrea Trinchieri then praised the opponent’s “aggressive” guards after a “tough fight”. And thought that Bayreuth would soon win again with these two.

But not this time. In the final minutes, the hosts again lacked accuracy in the end, a three by Livingston would have brought the extra time, but in the end the veteran Bastian Doreth only managed to scoop two points. Livingston put his hands on his messy hair and looked at the scoreboard in disbelief: 79:80, over. Everything for nothing again?

Not quite. During the international break you announced the “new season”, everything that happened before should be forgotten. “This performance gives hope for the last twelve home games,” Höreth shouted into the hall microphone after the game, the spectators cheered, and the day ended with minutes of applause. They are far from ready to end the Bundesliga era.

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