Alba Berlin before the start of the playoffs: Favorite meets old rival

Alba Berlin before the start of the playoffs

Favorite meets old rival

tor 05/12/22 | 16:33 | Of Luke Witte

Picture: imago pictures / camera4 +

The playoffs in the Bundesliga begin on Friday. Alba Berlin is the first in the main round favorite in the race for the German championship, but must first prove itself against the eternal rival from Bamberg in the quarterfinals. By Luke Witte

After the last siren on the last day of the regular season, the mood in the albatrosses was exuberant. There was not really anything at stake on the Munich floor, but the successful dress rehearsal before the playoffs was not just any match. Because Bayern is probably Alba’s biggest competitor for the title. “It could be a small foretaste of a possible final series,” says Berlin center and winger Johannes Thiemann.

Alba comes out on top

For this year, Alba and Munich are again favorites in the final round of the Basketball Bundesliga, and many expect a repeat of the final round from last season. At that time, the Berliners won 3-1 in a row and celebrated their tenth German championship.

The Berliners are currently ahead of Bayern again. With a spectacular final series, the albatrosses finished the main round in first place with eleven victories in a row. “We have found a good rhythm, but we have to pick it up again for the play-offs and I think we will get even better from match to match,” said point guard Maodo Lô. He could become a key player for the Berliners in this year’s playoffs.

For the 29-year-old not only played one of the best seasons of his career and carried the team with his performance on one or two occasions, but he is also an expert when it comes to winning German championships. Lo has won three league titles in his career so far, all with different teams. His recipe for success in holding the trophy in his hands eventually: “Stay healthy, find the rhythm at the right time and have a deep hold.”

An old rival awaits in the quarterfinals

Among other things, he also managed to win league and cup doubles with Alba’s quarterfinal opponent Bamberg in 2017. “Back then it was a team with a very individual class. Everything hung together and everyone played their role well. And the team was very strong in every position,” remembers Lô.

The Franks are an institution in the German Bundesliga, have won nine German championships, six trophies and are eternal rivals to Alba Berlin. Both teams have fought many intense and heated duels over the years. This year, however, there was not much to see from Bamberg’s heyday in the long run. They had an uneven start to the season and changed coach in November 2021. They barely reached the playoffs with a winning streak at the end of the main round in eighth place.

Johannes Thiemann nevertheless warns about the traditional duel: “One should not underestimate them. Of course they are in eighth place and we are first. We are the clear favorites. But they still had a good race from behind. So it will definitely be a difficult series and it will be important that we win the first two matches at home. “

Home advantage as an important factor

Maodo Lô will not take his old employer lightly either. Above all, he has fond memories of the Bamberg fans: “The intensity is very high in the playoffs, the atmosphere is better and the fans help. Every match is very difficult to win. I look forward to the series, especially against Bamberg, because the atmosphere there is always is very special. “

On Friday, however, the Berliners will have the homely atmosphere of the arena at the Ostbahnhof on their side. The best-of-five series will be played this year in a 2-2-1 format. That means Alba starts with two home games before heading to Franken. Should a decisive fifth match become necessary, this would again take place in the capital. Because the albatrosses finished first in the main round, they would theoretically retain home advantage in the first few games until the end of the playoffs.

Maodo Lô does not want to think so far yet: “The goal is to advance to the quarterfinals and improve match by match. And hopefully we will find our rhythm more and more against our next opponent in the semifinals. Finals so we can deliver our best performance in the final. “

They should probably have the best performance, then the co-favorite Munich can, after all, once again wait for the Berliners in the final, which will definitely be hard to beat. And for Alba’s Johannes Thiemann, one thing is clear: “We want to win the championship and defend the title. That is our goal.”

Broadcast: rbb24, 12 May 2022, at 18.00

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