Origins of a Rivalry
Posted by Salman Mitha
Posted in Basketball
Origins of a Rivalry
Audi Dome, Munich, March 16 – There are many reasons for two teams to be considered rivals. Geographical proximity. Classic matchups. Big brother beating up little brother. Or just plain hate. We’ve seen it all in basketball, from the Lakers-Celtics, Pistons-Bulls and the Knicks-Heat in the NBA, to Kentucky-Louisville, Missouri-Kansas and Duke-North Carolina in college. On Sunday, we can witness the beginnings of one in Bavaria when the s.Oliver Baskets visit FC Bayern Basketball.
The Baskets are from Würzburg, home of German legend and current NBA champions Dirk Nowitzki. But that isn’t enough to put them on the global basketball map. Being in the same state as big boys FC Bayern, any accomplishments in any sport are overshadowed by the soccer giants. Since the northern Franconian town in Bavaria doesn’t have a football club in the top flight, the basketball court levels the playing field.
The two clubs’ recent games are good enough to meet the definitions of a rivalry. Since last year, when both were in the second division of German basketball, the ProA, and then earning promotion to the top flight for this season, they have played some “interesting” and “hard-fought games”, according to Bayern coach Dirk Bauermann.
On October 30, 2010, Bayern suffered their one of their two losses in their promotion campaign at s.Oliver Arena in a highly-contested 63-55 loss. Fortunately for the Reds, they reeled off 22 consecutive wins, including an entertaining 82-75 return victory at Munich’s Olympiahalle on February 20, 2011 in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,200 fans, a record for a second league game. One day before Christmas Eve 2011, a close battle between the two teams was tied going into the 4th quarter until the Baskets made a mini-run and held on for a 64-55 win.
And this year, the newly promoted sides are playing for playoff spots in the league, two of four Bavarian clubs currently in the top eight of the standings. Munich trail Würzburg by one game and if they hold home court – something they have done 12 out of 13 times – the race tightens for that 5th spot. If the Baskets win, they can create some space between themselves and the hard-charging Bayern.
“It will once again be a very hard game for us,” said s.Oliver’s head coach John Patrick. “Bayern plays exceptionally well at home and they have a lot of options on the offensive side, they are very hard to defend, especially their inside players who are very strong. We will try to play our game, and play with more focus and intensity from the start than we did in the first game.”
Expect another close, highly contested game that will go into creating one of basketball’s heated rivalries and hopefully continue into the playoffs.
Tip-off on Sunday is at 16:00 CET and the game is sold-out.
Editor’s Note: You can follow the game with Sport Eagle’s Salman Mitha on Twitter. Follow the action @Sal_SportEagle. Stay tuned to Sport Eagle TV for all the postgame reaction from the Bavarian derby in the Beko BBL.