German team wins bronze against Poland

"We've made German basketball a bit sexier," said Dennis Schröder on Sunday evening: "The trend is going in the right direction." He and the German national team had just defeated the Polish team in Berlin 82:69 and won the bronze medal at the European Championships won. But what he and his teammates like better than third place is that they only lost two of nine top-level games at this tournament in Cologne and Berlin, in the preliminary round against Slovenia and the semifinals. "We were very disappointed with our defeat in the semi-finals against Spain," said national coach Gordon Herbert and joked: "We thought that we would get a bit more for our victory over Greece in the quarter-finals."

Schröder scored 26 points in the tough game against the team that surprisingly knocked out defending champions Slovenia and the outstanding Luka Doncic in the quarter-finals. "It was a bit shaky offensively," said center Johannes Voigtmann during the half-time break: "Defensively, we benefit from the fact that the Poles themselves misplace simple things." Fortunately for the German team, none of the ten long-range shots by the Poles landed in the first half. Luckily, the Polish players didn't dominate the game like the Polish fans did with drums and songs in the stands. However, there was no celebration.

A lead of 15 hard-fought points became a tie of 59:59 points eight minutes before the end. In the hall, which was filled with just 13,000 spectators - a good thousand seats remained free - the German team simply didn't care that they had the better players, were the better team and played at home. Less than a minute before the final siren, not only did the Polish guard Mateusz Ponitka foul Johannes Thiemann on the layup, the Polish coach Igor Milicic, who had already been warned, also verbally attacked the referee. A technical foul was added to the foul, earning four points from one move - the nail-biter was finally decided.

To end this European Championship, which was so successful for them, with a victory in the knockout games in Berlin, was only the privilege of one other team besides the Germans, the European champions from Spain. Coach Sergio Scariolo's team defeated France, who came second at the Olympics, in the final in Berlin on Sunday evening 88:76 (47:37) and won the European Championship title for the fourth time.

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