MHP giants Ludwigsburg meet ratiopharm Ulm in the quarterfinals of the basketball Bundesliga. The Swabian derby series starts on Saturday in Ludwigsburg. An eye-level duel is expected.
There are 81 kilometers as the crow flies between Ludwigsburg and Ulm. 81 kilometers or less than two hours by car. And yet there is much more in the air than just a mileage.
On Saturday (20:30), MHP Riesen welcomes Ludwigsburg to the ratiopharm Ulm team for the first of a maximum of five playoff quarter-final matches. Everything is open in the Swabian derby.
The giants from Ludwigsburg were under a lot of pressure recently due to the last four in the Champions League, and they just finished the main round last Wednesday with a victory against Heidelberg. It secured the team fourth place in the league and thus the home court advantage in the playoffs against Ulm, who finished the main round in fifth place. “It’s going to be a very hot series,” promises giant coach John Patrick, who has already set the route: “If we play against Ulm, the defense comes first. But if we find our rhythm, then we can score 100 points.”
With Simon, Ludwigsburg has the best defender of the year
In addition, the Giants have a particularly defensive ace up their sleeve in Justin Simon. Simon was recently named Best Defender of the Year. The 26-year-old impresses with his tremendous athletics and is the second-best scorer on his team. Only Jonah Radebaugh scores more often. The American set a new personal record in the match against Heidelberg with 30 points.
The Ludwigsburg coach is confident: “We grew together at the right time, especially in defense. We are ready.”
Ulm is to be expected despite injury concerns
Ulm’s people are also ready and eager for the derby. “We have taken a big step forward this season and developed well, even though we have had a lot of injuries,” Ulm coach Jaka Lakovič summed up in an interview with “Südwest Presse”.
The population of Ulm has been plagued by major staff concerns for weeks. With Cristiano Felicio (ankle injury), Philipp Herkenhoff (cruciate ligament rupture) and Karim Jallow (displaced shoulder), three regular players are missing. However, the team does not have to hide. What Justin Simon is for Ludwigsburg is Jaron Blossomgame for Ulm. The 28-year-old regularly gives spectacular highlights and is Ulm’s top scorer with 15.2 points per game. match.
Ulm veteran Günther before the end of his career
Per Günther will probably not play a top scorer role. Nevertheless, the 34-year-old faces a special series. The Ulm veteran, whose green shoes have become his trademark, is retiring after this season. “I’m definitely happy that my career is ending in the playoffs,” Günther told basketball magazine “Big”. This phase of the season has always suited the playmaker. The duels with Ludwigsburg should not be his last appearances.
The ambitions in Ulm are high. The coach talks about a “question of attitude”. The right setting must be expected from both teams in this derby series.
Does the home advantage ultimately determine?
Exciting duels await basketball fans. Both teams have won their home games this season. If that is the case, Ludwigsburg will eventually have the lead in the series – even if the two teams are actually only 81 kilometers apart in the air.