Germany's basketball players missed a big sporting coup in the desert and lost a clear lead against the World Cup favorite USA. Captain Dennis Schröder's team lost in Abu Dhabi 91:99 (54:46) against the Olympic champion, who was already 16 points behind.
After the turbulent dress rehearsal, Germany is still traveling to Okinawa with great self-confidence, where co-host Japan is waiting for the start on Friday (2:10 p.m. / Magentasport). The USA also won their last friendly five days before the start of the World Cup (25 August to 10 September).
"We played outstandingly for 26 minutes and kept the game open. In the end we were out of legs. The main task now is regeneration," said national coach Gordon Herbert.
Anthony Edwards stands out with 34 points
Leader Schröder (16 points and ten assists) stood out as he did the day before in the victory over Greece. Franz Wagner (17 points) and Moritz Wagner (14) also impressed against the team, which is peppered with NBA stars like Anthony Edwards, but who will have to do without the really big names like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant or LeBron James this summer. Edwards was the night's outstanding player with 34 points and led America's impressive comeback.
"We're already playing very well. I'm very happy with the team - the physique is right, we play as a team. It's also good off the field," said playmaker Schröder before the game about his team, which last year had a similar line-up at the European Championship - had won bronze. On Sunday evening it was really spectacular. The Germans, who played splendidly at times, temporarily gained a 71:55 lead, but lost it again within a few minutes. In the last duel between the two nations, Germany lost by a difference of 49 points at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Spectators celebrate the US stars and Schröder
Right from the start, the evening was all about the US stars. The NBA pros signed jerseys and baseball caps an hour before the start of the game, and highlight scenes from previous friendlies flickered on the huge video cube. About 8,000 spectators gathered at the Etihad Arena to see the show of head coach Steve Kerr's previously flawless team. The only German professional who received nearly as much applause as Edwards and Co. at the player presentation was Captain Schröder.
But then both teams offered the best basketball entertainment. Jaren Jackson Jr. showed two spectacular blocks against Schröder and Franz Wagner, but the German team was not intimidated by the tremendous athleticism of the opponent. Schröder repeatedly directed the German offensive, and by half-time he had collected six assists. The two Wagner brothers played cheeky and didn't shy away from an attack. So, after 20 minutes of entertaining exchange of blows, Germany was up an eight-point lead.
Hollatz travels to Japan with him
Even the sovereign 84:71 against Greece encouraged the German team. "It went very well. The players came to the training camp fit, they prepared well. The three weeks were very intense," Vice President Armin Andres summed up the preparation, which ended with the show tournament in Abu Dhabi. The downside was the injury to playmaker Justus Hollatz, who twisted his ankle on Saturday and is now traveling to Japan.
Head coach Herbert said of his team's status: "It's a process. We don't have much time, we have to use the games as training. That's what we do." The 64-year-old Canadian must have really enjoyed the training sessions on Saturday and Sunday.