Frankfurt Skyliners before relegation from the basketball Bundesliga

Ka basketball professional in Frankfurt in the first division fell to the ground in the first reaction from disappointment or horror in the Heidelberg Arena. The Skyliners players did not seek to talk to each other Tuesday night in the hour of the severe setback. With the last siren, they turned around the pitch as if on command and moved as a group from the bottom of the Bundesliga table wordlessly and emotionlessly towards the team’s locker room.

But then Frankfurt came back and, as usual, congratulated their opponents with the victory of 71:65 in passing. “It’s a great day for Heidelberg basketball,” promoted coach Branislav Ignjatovic told a news conference. “The fact that we have four more wins than Skyliner’s eight games before the end of the season and also won the head-to-head comparison can make everyone in Heidelberg proud.” , “knows” what organization Skyliners is. What successes they have had in the more than 20 years and what they do for basketball in the Rhin-Main region.

But that does not count now. Now the champions of 2004 are at a turning point, Tuesday was a black day for Frankfurt basketball. Because Skyliner’s abode is only theory. Anyone who has only won six out of 26 matches this season will hardly suddenly be able to win at least seven of the remaining eight matches under the greatest possible pressure. Mainly because Frankfurt, who are six points behind the non-relegation place 16, are not strong enough as a team to the requirements of the top division.

In addition, Skyliners does not have an excellent individual who can catch up with the team deficit. The leaders, the individual talent, the interaction and especially the offensive force are missing. In short: the necessary further development of the squad has not failed. The first sporting relegation to the second-class Pro A will therefore hardly be avoided. He was the last “to give up hope,” said sports director Marco Völler in Heidelberg. “But if it exists at all, it’s a fine line between extremely difficult and impossible.”

the end of an era

Those in charge of Skyliners are aware that with the upcoming downgrade a class lower, an era in Frankfurt will come to an end. That financially, the strong foundation is likely to break away. That is why there are hard cuts. They just do not want to communicate it with this clarity yet. Above all, the new head coach Luca Dalmonte, who also remained without a win with his team in the second game, talked a lot about the small remaining chance of staying in the class.

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The 58-year-old Italian did not want to talk about a “mission impossible” at all. “Nothing is over, we do not give up,” he said bravely. But Dalmonte is also aware, “that we can not let any chances lie. Our situation is very clear.” “As long as the season is not over, why should we give up?” Center Jamel McLean (12 points) asked this question on TV afterwards. “We just have to play good basketball for 40 minutes,” the American said. No one stopped the Skyliners from doing it. They stood their own way with their shortcomings.

In the last seven games, Frankfurters have scored just under 63 points per game. The season average for the weakest attacking team is currently at 72.3 points. The second worst club in this statistic is Heidelberg with 78 points. Out of 19 three-point shots from Skyliners against the newly promoted team, only three landed in the opponent’s basket. They also did not find a real goal scorer with their extra signatures. Playmaker Will Cherry is unable to get going after his back injury. Frankfurt’s attacking play is often unplanned and therefore too ineffective. No player, not even the experienced McLean, is capable of consistently good performance.

“We never had a real rhythm,” national team player Lukas Wank said after the recent home defeat to Ulm, recalling the many injuries and match cancellations caused by the corona pandemic. Nevertheless, from the point of view of CEOs Gunnar Wöbke and Yannick Binas, it should never have happened that their club was on the verge of relegation. Both held the team well enough for a midfield spot. It has now proved to be a fatal misjudgment.

At the moment, it does not look like a wildcard will be handed out for a sporting relegation. “We would start from scratch,” Völler said in the event of future affiliation with Pro A. Only young players from the current squad have a contract. As things stand today, the immediate resurgence would be the goal, “we do not want to remain a permanent 2nd division team”. Völler would like to continue his work in Frankfurt. “I’m not going to leave the sinking ship,” he said.

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