After the exciting preliminary round festivities in Cologne, Germany's basketball players also want to make the final round in Berlin a big party.
"We're really up for it," said NBA professional Franz Wagner before the European Championship round of 16 against outsider Montenegro on Saturday (6 p.m. / Magentasport). As on the Rhine, the spectators on the Spree should also be a major factor for the team led by Captain Dennis Schröder. "Berlin has a great basketball tradition. It will be good," said national coach Gordon Herbert, who was coach at Alba Berlin in 2011/12.
Against Montenegro, the national coach can fall back on his two stars Dennis Schröder and Daniel Theis. The NBA duo was rested against Hungary at the end of the preliminary round, but is available in the fight for the quarter-finals. According to Herbert, Nick Weiler-Babb's participation is "very questionable". The Bayern professional, who was only naturalized shortly before the European Championship, has a shoulder injury, which is why he was last treated in Munich.
"Play hard, play together and enjoy the situation"
During the final training session on Friday evening, Weiler-Babb wasn't back on the floor with his teammates, but he did lift weights on the edge of the field. Should it not be enough against Montenegro, the 26-year-old guard could at least be an issue again in a possible quarter-final against title candidate Greece.
But first of all the German team has to survive against Montenegro. Herbert tried to take the pressure off his team before the game in the packed Mercedes Benz Arena. "Play hard, play together and enjoy the situation" was the motto for the first knockout game, which Schröder and Co. would like others to follow. "We want to achieve something with the national team at some point. We are very talented and now we want to win something," said Theis.