After the successful start in the knockout round in Berlin, the German basketball players are looking forward to a bit of rest.
The training scheduled for the evening was cancelled, the team around Captain Dennis Schröder should gather strength for the next big challenge, which is very likely to be waiting for Greece and NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in the quarterfinals on Tuesday evening.
"That helps us a lot. The opponent doesn't play until tomorrow, so we probably have fresher legs," said Alba Berlin's Johannes Thiemann, looking ahead to the Greeks' round of 16 against the Czech Republic on Sunday evening (8:45 p.m.). The big coup should then succeed with charged batteries, because national coach Gordon Herbert took it for granted that he would make it into the quarter-finals.
"That's what we expected. But our expectations go even further. We expected to be in Berlin, we expected to win in Berlin. And we expect even more," said Herbert after the 85:79 win Montenegro in the round of 16 on Saturday.
But in order to really make it into the semi-finals and thus into the weekend where the medals are at stake, Schröder and Co. will have to improve. Against Montenegro, a strong first half was followed by a collective drop in excitement and performance in the second half, which saw the German side give up an almost 27-point lead. "We have to play as a Germany team. If we do that, we've shown that we can win against any team," said Schröder.
In order to survive against Greece or the Czech Republic, it would be very important for Franz Wagner to play a part. The Orlando Magic NBA pro was substituted off against Montenegro in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return to the court. More detailed examinations on Sunday should provide information about the severity of the injury.