After a sensational season in the 2. Bundesliga, Rhein-Main-Baskets beat Braunschweig in the first round of the playoffs. In the next round, the team will play against Alba Berlin on Saturday for promotion to the top match. The ambition is great, but there is no pressure.
“We gave up the first game against Braunschweig in the second half,” Baskets coach Saymon Engler told hr-Sport. After a short tussle with the defender, Eduardo Alves finally tucked the ball home. “We started playing feverishly and didn’t hit the throws anymore,” the 27-year-old said. The match ended narrowly with 59:60 in favor of the women from Braunschweig.
In the second round in the local Georg-Sehring-Halle in Langen the casts fell again. About 300 fans created a great atmosphere and “gave the team an extra boost”, as Engler says. Nevertheless, the visitors got three points in the last quarter. With mental strength and, as the coach emphasizes, a “strong” defense, his team was able to win 74:66 and advance to the playoff semifinals.
This Saturday (17.30) in Langen and next Friday (14.30) in Berlin, the Baskets will play in the playoff semi-final against Alba Berlin and can secure one of two Bundesliga tickets if they win. The mood in the team was good, there were no signs of reverence for the opponent’s big name, Engler said. On the contrary: the Berliners lost both matches of the season against quarter-final opponents Braunschweig. “It’s completely open who gets ahead,” the 27-year-old coach said.
First goal: relegation
Before this season, no one had expected the Rhein-Main-Baskets to enter a playoff semifinal with such great confidence. Because: With coach Thorsten Schulz and regular players Lena Herrmann and Jasmin Weyell, painful departures had to be booked before the season. It would also be the first Bundesliga season for new coach Saymon Engler.
The 27-year-old, who was previously coach at Darmstadt-Roßdorf, concentrated on which players were involved from the start in Langen and deliberately did not pick anyone from outside. “The first goal was to integrate the young players into the team and offer them a platform,” Engler said. “External reinforcement would have been counterproductive.” A specific location was not targeted before the season. “We would definitely keep the class,” Engler said.
After his team had clearly won all of the first three games of the season, it was clear that there was more to it than just staying up. “We then thought a place in the top half of the table was possible,” Engler said. The team was able to bring momentum from the first games into the rest of the season. Like many other teams, the Rhein-Main-Baskets were not slowed down by team-wide corona outbursts. However, the club was somewhat surprised shortly before the end of the main round as the team was still in second place in the table.
That with Ascension
“It really was a great season,” Engler sums up. The young coach’s tactics really worked. “You saw how the young people got better and better at it and took responsibility,” he says happily. That it worked so well is thanks to the good team chemistry. “The girls also do a lot together outside of training and games,” he reveals.
The coach leaves it open how far the playoffs can go and whether the title might be in there at all in the end. “We’re not putting any pressure on ourselves and we want to enjoy the playoff feeling,” he says. It is also not yet known how the club will react to a possible promotion to the Bundesliga. “It’s primarily for financial reasons,” the coach said.