After a gala, Ratiopharm Ulm is about to achieve the greatest success in the club's history. After the clear 112:84 (53:30) in the third final against Telekom Baskets Bonn, coach Anton Gavel's team is only one win away from the first championship in the Bundesliga.
This could already be brought in on Friday (8.30 p.m. / Sport1 and Magentasport) in front of their own audience in game four. In the sold-out arena in Neu-Ulm, the hosts shone from the start, winning the 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series was never in jeopardy. After champions Alba Berlin and cup winners FC Bayern, outsider Ulm could now also stop Champions League winners and main round winners Bonn. "Of course it's very frustrating," said Bonn coach Tuomas Iisalo.
Karim Jallow (24 points), Brandon Paul (23) and Bruno Caboclo (20) still stood out from the strong Ulm team. Only three days after the clear 75:104 in Bonn, the Gavel team appeared to be well recovered. The first half turned into a basketball festival: Jallow contributed a quick 13 points, several spectacular alley-oops made the home fans cheer. In the meantime, Ulm had 15 assists as a team and not a single turnover, which is a rarity in basketball.
TJ Shorts made mistakes
The people from Bonn, who were actually considered favorites, seemed completely unnerved. This was especially true for playmaker T.J. Shorts, who allowed himself to be provoked in a private duel with Ulm's Yago dos Santos. Shorts, the most valuable and best player in the league in the regular season, scored eleven points, but repeatedly made mistakes and lost possession. In the four previous duels with Ulm, Shorts had excelled with an average of 20 points and seven assists.
This time the decision seemed to have been made at half time given the 23 point difference. After 1997, 1999, 2001, 2008 and 2009, the people of Bonn are threatened with the sixth runner-up title in the Bundesliga. Ulm, on the other hand, could end the season as champions for the first time after the defeats in 1998, 2012 and 2016.
Bonn's coach Iisalo watched desperately from the outside as his team fell further and further behind. Much will depend on Friday for the injured Javontae Hawkins to return. Center Michael Kessens will be suspended for the rest of the series after his push in game two. A possible fifth game would take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Bonn.