BA demanding relegation final awaits Fraport Skyliners this Tuesday (19.00) in the newly promoted team Heidelberg. If Frankfurt lose to Kurpfalzer in the Bundesliga basketball, it is very likely that for the first time in the club’s history they will no longer be able to prevent the relegation to second – class Pro A.
But even a victory – it would only be the seventh in the season’s 26th match at the bottom of the table – would not significantly advance the team of new head coach Luca Dalmonte. For currently, the third from last Oldenburg is already six points better on a non-relegation zone. And Würzburg, Braunschweig, Weißenfels and Heidelberg also have six points ahead of Skyliners. The Hessians, who with great effort have to win seven to eight of their remaining nine matches to stay in the league, have maneuvered themselves into an almost hopeless situation.
After its lost premiere (58:61 against Ulm) on Friday, Dalmonte talked about “nine finals” for Frankfurt until the beginning of May. “You have to kill me if I do not” – said the 58-year-old Italian when asked if he believed he could master the Herculean task with his team. Despite the missed chance to win against the Ulm top team, confidence was written all over his face. In a calm voice, Dalmonte said he “did not care” where and against whom the Frankfurters would still play.
They have to play six matches away in the final sprint, only three are played in the ball sports hall. Which does not have to be a disadvantage, as the Hessians have won four of their six victories abroad. Home successes come only against Heidelberg (87:82) and Crailsheim. For the rest of the program, Skyliners will face Heidelberg and their relegation rivals Oldenburg and Gießen. The April 10 meeting at home against current leader Bonn is unlikely to be successful for Frankfurt in the current circumstances.
“Need to attack more aggressively”
“The key for us must be to play a better offensive,” Dalmonte said of the area where he sees the greatest need for improvement in his players. “We need to attack more aggressively and get into a flow faster.” Even with a new head coach, Frankfurt’s slow attacking play was too static. Many throws were only made after the 24-second clock had expired. For the necessary turnaround, Dalmonte now calls for a faster shift from defense to attack. “We need to put ourselves in better positions so as not to run into trouble in the last five or six seconds of the attack.”
Against Ulm, Frankfurt barely managed to generate penalty throws. They scored many of their baskets after one-on-one duels. Only national player Lukas Wank’s three-point shot to 44:36 was the exception. In addition, Skyliners misplaced four layups in the 40 minutes of the game and failed deeply twice with dunks. The free throw shooters also initially had reason to complain due to their poor hitting ability. Later, there was almost only Jamel McLean (12 points) at the free throw line. His teammates attacked the Ulm basket too little. Frankfurt’s final balance showed only eleven free throws, seven of which were successful – the opponent had at least 18 free throws, of which Ulm only hit half.
“If we are willing to learn from this game, we will get better results,” Dalmonte said. His Heidelberg colleague Frenki Ignjatovic is happy with “the opportunity to keep the class on its own. It’s a great situation.” The pressure on Skyliners, who will also be dependent on outside help, could hardly be greater.