Basketball EM: mixed feelings among German basketball players - concerns about Wagner

The fear of the next prominent failure mixed with the joy of achieving the minimum goal among Germany's basketball players.

Basketball EM: mixed feelings among German basketball players - concerns about Wagner

The fear of the next prominent failure mixed with the joy of achieving the minimum goal among Germany's basketball players.

The fact that Franz Wagner, who has so far been so strong and carefree at this European Championship, was only able to hobble out of the arena in Berlin after beating Montenegro 85:79 in the round of 16 spoiled the good mood in the German camp.

Even on Sunday there was still no all-clear for the 21-year-old young star from the NBA. "I can't answer it. We'll know a little more tomorrow. He has a sprained ankle - it's hard to say how serious it is. We'll find out tomorrow," said national coach Gordon Herbert on Sunday at the team hotel in Berlin. There Herbert and Co. also followed the last round of sixteen in the evening, in which Greece and NBA top star Giannis Antetokounmpo won 94:88 against the Czech Republic. The Greeks are now the closest German opponents.

Wagner had twisted his ankle in the third quarter. Although the NBA player from the Orlando Magic converted his three free throws, he then left the floor and never returned. "Following a detailed imaging diagnosis in the accident hospital in Berlin late yesterday evening, Franz Wagner is still being treated by the medical staff of the DBB. The further course remains to be seen," said the German Basketball Association on Sunday. There should be more news on Monday.

Wagner use questionable

His participation would be decisive for the quarter-finals on Tuesday (8.30 p.m. / Magentasport). After all, the first MRI images showed no serious injury. Ultimately, however, the Orlando Magic, whose physio accompanies the German team and Wagner this summer, will also decide whether further appearances by Wagner at this European Championship are possible. "If he doesn't play, we have to find a replacement," said Herbert. Schröder is looking forward to the big game either way. "It will be a great challenge, we take it with pride," said the captain.

Wagner, whose highlight was a 32-point game against Lithuania, has been one of the hosts' top performers so far. Even before the tournament, brother Moritz Wagner had to cancel for the European Championship. Important players like Maximilian Kleber, Isaac Bonga, Tibor Pleiß and Isaiah Hartenstein are also missing for a variety of reasons. Nick Weiler-Babb also had to sit out against Montenegro due to a problem with his shoulder. Johannes Voigtmann played a bit sickly, but should be fit and on board again by the next knockout duel.

The two days off until the quarter-finals are therefore very convenient for the team around captain Dennis Schröder. The training scheduled for Sunday evening was canceled, Schröder and Co. should recharge their batteries for the next big challenge. "That helps us a lot. The opponent doesn't play until tomorrow, so we probably have fresher legs," said Alba Berlin's Johannes Thiemann. The big coup should then succeed with charged batteries, because Herbert dismissed the entry into the quarter-finals as a matter of course.

"We expect more"

"That's what we expected. But our expectations go further. We expected to be in Berlin, we expected to win in Berlin. And we expect even more," said the coach after the curious game against Montenegro, which actually consisted of "two basketball games in one", as Herbert aptly analyzed.

In the first half, the German team came up trumps and led at the break with 24 points (48:24). Schröder showed his best tournament performance so far and impressed as a scorer and assist provider. The rest also seemed very focused and really wanted to play basketball. In view of the temporary lead with 27 points at the beginning of the second half, the sluggishness set in, so that Montenegro came back to three points (80:77). However, progress was no longer in real danger.

But to really be able to play for the first medal in 17 years at the weekend, when Dirk Nowitzki led Germany to silver in Serbia, Schröder and Co. will have to improve. "We have to play as a Germany team. If we do that, we've shown that we can win against any team," said Schröder.

Hoping for more fans in Berlin

The German basketball players are also hoping for an increase from the fans in Berlin. After the festivities at the preliminary round in Cologne, the players were a bit surprised that the hall was not sold out for the first knockout game in Berlin. "Hopefully there will be more fans next time. It would be cool if the hall was completely full," said Maodo Lo.

"Cologne was very strong, that pushed us a lot. Today there were a few empty seats here and there, it was a bit quiet in some phases," said the Alba Berlin point guard in view of only 12,938 spectators in the 14,500-seat audience Mercedes Benz Arena. Looking ahead to Tuesday's quarterfinals, Lo addressed his hometown basketball fans directly. "As a Berliner, I appeal: Show what we're made of. And support us so that we have a good chance."

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