The time is ripe: at the top-four tournament for the german basketball cup, the FC bayern munchen hoopers want to end their 50-year curse and take home the trophy for the second time since 1968.
"We have to be mentally ready for the weekend and focus on ourselves," said bayern coach sasa djordjevic ahead of the semifinals against host ratiopharm ulm this saturday (16.00 a.M.).
Since 1993, basketball players have won the cup in a four-team tournament, with ALBA berlin and medi bayreuth also hoping to win this time in neu-ulm. "Bringing home a cup is always great," said ALBA pro luke sikma, who will play in the second semifinal duel on saturday (19.00 o’clock) is called for.
The berliners already have their tenth triumph in sight, joining record winner bayer leverkusen. "We have always presented ourselves well in the cup in recent years. We’ll see if we can make it to the final, then we’ll see," said ALBA manager marco baldi. "But the bavarians are clear favorites. They are very consistent, very stable and deep."
Munich have only suffered one defeat on the national stage this season – and that was four months ago. However, the bavarians have always come away empty-handed in their four participations in the final round tournament so far. "We must not think about what was or what could follow," djordjevic urged. "If we are focused and disciplined, we should be able to generate plenty of adrenaline for the right energy level."
In 2014, the sovereign bundesliga leaders came up short against ulm in the semifinals – but they don’t want that history to repeat itself. "Of course we want to fight for the cup in the final and finally get it," said bayern captain anton gavel.
The ulm team, on the other hand, has fond memories of the duel four years ago, which should inspire the hosts. "If we get to the limit of our capabilities, then we can beat the bavarians," said national player per gunther. Just like when we won 90:72.
Ulm’s coach thorsten leibenath, who still has to fight with his team for a place in the playoffs, sees the pressure on the opponent anyway: "we’re going into the game as underdogs and can play with a certain amount of freedom. Nobody expects anything from us right now and that’s why we will go out and give the munich team a merciless fight."
This is what the bavarians are prepared for. "It’s going to be a tough game. We really have to be ready for anything and be ready to play hard for 40 minutes," said winger reggie redding. "We won the league game at their place clearly, but we know that it won’t happen again like that."