Summit in Berlin
Beko BBL Game of the Week Preview
March 31 – ALBA BERLIN host FC Bayern Basketball on Saturday night at the o2 World in the top game of the Beko BBL weekend. Not only are the clubs on the way to the playoffs – Berlin have already clinched a berth and may end up playing Munich in the first round – the teams are both on a winning streak.
ALBA come into the game winners of 10 in a row and 12 of their last 13. Their only loss during this stretch was on the road back on January 14th. Berlin protect their home court, they are 13-1 in the 14,500 capacity arena, last losing on December 30th to the Telekom Baskets Bonn during a three game losing streak. But since then, they righted the ship and now sit third in the league standings.
“They have a lot of balance, every good team has that, and they have a lot of weapons,” said Bayern head coach Dirk Bauermann as he listed pretty much the whole lineup of his opponent. “So we can’t focus on one player. But if there is one guy we can’t allow to have a big game it would have to be (DaShaun) Wood. If he has a 30-point game, it’s going to be hard to beat them.”
In the first meeting, an 85-79 victory for Berlin on November 26th, Wood scored 27 points, including 11-12 from the free-throw line (Bayern as a team shot 19 FTs total), and added 6 rebounds and 5 assists. His 18 points in the second half turned the game around, scoring 10 of his team’s final 12 points in the deciding minutes to steal the victory on the road.
Bayern have also got back on track, finally living up to the expectations that they brought with them into the BBL after their ballyhooed promotion and signings to compete. The first half of the season the Bavarians were stuck mid-table thanks to their solid home record and poor away record. But head coach Dirk Bauermann has the team confident now, winning their past five game, three of them away from the friendly confines of the Audi Dome.
“We travel now with a different mentality, winning on the road,” said guard Demond Greene. “We got the swagger back, confidence is up. If we win in Berlin that will help us gain more confidence going towards the playoffs.”
Bayern are looking to get closer to clinching a playoff spot and exacting revenge for their only home loss of the season. ALBA are preparing for the Reds big men in the middle, leading scorers Chevon Troutman (13.5 ppg) and Jared Homan (13.4 ppg).
“We know our opponent is coming to Berlin highly motivated,“ said ALBA All-Star guard Heiko Schaffartzik, who scored 14 points in the first game, including three from beyond the arc. “They will want to show that they can play upfront (with their two centers). But we’ve won 10 in a row and would like to have a good opponent to be our 11th.”
The game is expected to be sold out, and will be broadcast on German national TV on SPORT1 starting at 20:00 CET.
Sport Eagle will have Salman Mitha tweeting live during the game, follow him @Sal_SportEagle for insight and analysis.