Even without most EM heroes and despite numerous cancellations, German basketball players bought their ticket to the 2023 World Cup early.
Eight weeks after winning the bronze medal at EuroBasket, the C-Team made it clear in Bamberg with a deserved 94:80 (44:36) win over Finland. National coach Gordon Herbert’s selection flies into the final round in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines (25 August to 10 September 2023), even if it will look very different there.
Success in the first international after a thrilling European Championship was their eighth in nine games against the previously qualified Finns en route to the World Cup finals. There are still three matches ahead.
Many professionals were absent
Herbert had to solve a personnel puzzle beforehand, once again. In addition to the NBA specialists, the Canadian was also missing the players of two German Euroleague clubs, Alba Berlin and Bayern Munich, who had played against each other the previous day. Also, with the quartet canceled due to injury or illness, only EM heroes Justus Holatz, local hero Christian Sengfelder and later-nominated Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann were available.
You’re in a ‘next man up’ situation, Herbert said before the game, meaning: If one fails, the next must go. Newly-formed Germany got off to a promising start against Finland, only to lose in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Spain.
Kramer breaks the three-way spell
Holatz in particular was convincing in the early stages, making smart passes and being the top scorer early on. There were only problems from the three-point line, with the home team’s first six shots all miscued before David Kramer broke the spell and scored two straight.
A 0:9 false start in the second period pushed the hosts back (22:28/13th minute), then Robin Christen converted. In his second appearance for the A-Team, the ratiopharm Ulm forward scored nine points in short order and was instrumental in turning a deficit into a lead.
A disappointing last World Cup
After the break, Herbert defenders controlled the action, Kristen with his third three-pointer secured a 15-point lead (58:43/25.). Sengfelder also shined in front of his home crowd in Bamberg and became the German Basketball Association’s (DBB) top scorer with 19 points. Holatz scored 18 points and 9 assists against the Finns, who were no longer a threat to the German team in the final round.
With success, DBB could be fully involved in planning the 2023 highlights. During the last participation in the World Championship held in China in 2019, the DBB team under the leadership of Herbert’s predecessor Henrik Rodl disappointed with the 18th place. Next year, the German national team will take part in the 19th tournament for the seventh time. Then we are talking about the ticket to the Olympic Games to be held in Paris in 2024. The biggest World Cup success to date was bronze in 2002 in Indianapolis.