The German basketball players received the very last good news of an exciting weekend in the middle of Monday night. The world association Fiba rejected a protest from opponent Lithuania around one hour after midnight, so the dramatic 109:107 victory after 50 minutes and two overtimes finally stood for the team around young star Franz Wagner. Almost three hours earlier, the French had beaten Hungary 78:74 in the evening and thus given the Germans a permanent place in the final round in Berlin (September 10 to 18).
The team of national coach Gordon Herbert can hope for the first medal in 17 years. "I'm from Berlin, haven't played there for three years, so it's super cool to come back as a national player and play there," said Wagner after his 32-point gala on Sunday.
Lithuania criticizes technical foul
The rousing victory was then shaky, however, because the referees had denied the Lithuanians a free throw after a technical foul by the Germans in the third quarter. However, a single judge dismissed the protest, saying that the reasoning had not been submitted by the deadline. The reason given was also not sufficient for a successful protest.
In fact, behind Slovenia, France and Lithuania, Germany was more of an outsider in the group. Now the Germans are still undefeated after three matchdays as the last team. This gives them a good chance of even being the first to finish the group. On Tuesday evening (8.30 p.m. / Magentasport) the next duel with a big one awaits against European champion Slovenia and NBA star player Luka Doncic.
One day break
After three games in four days, the protégés of national coach Gordon Herbert are initially happy about a little break. "The rest day is essential," said center Johannes Thiemann when he came into the catacombs heavily sweating after the basketball match with Lithuania. "We will now use the physios for a day and then hopefully be fit again on Tuesday," added co-captain Johannes Voigtmann. The 50 minutes were so difficult even for the Lithuanian NBA professional Jonas Valanciunas (34 points, 14 rebounds) that he had to break off the press conference plagued by cramps.
So far, no team looks unbeatable at the European Championship, even if the Greeks with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Serbs with Nikola Jokic are favored. But then comes Germany, which excels with a strong collective, a well-rehearsed defense and the NBA duo Wagner and Captain Dennis Schröder.
"It means a lot to us to go to Berlin in such a tough group. That was our goal. It's amazing that we've achieved that," said Schröder after three victories had started the tournament for the first time in German history. The round of 16 is then in Berlin on Saturday, the opponent will come from Group A with Spain and Turkey.