In Cologne: Germany’s basketball players beat France at the start of the European Championship

The medal dream is alive! After the ceremony for legend Dirk Nowitzki, the German basketball players started the home European Championship with an inspiring victory. In front of 18,000 fans, a national team led by Captain Dennis Schröder, who played like unleashed, beat title candidate France impressively in Cologne with 76:63 (38:31) and took the first very important step towards the final round in the hunt for precious metal.

Johannes Thiemann shone in a rousing team performance as the best German shooter with 14 points, Guerschon Yabusele scored 18 points for the French. Thanks to the victory, the Germans got off to a perfect start in “hammer group” B. Four teams advance to the round of 16, with the final round taking place in Berlin. After gold in 1993 and silver in 2005, national coach Gordon Herbert had given his goal as a medal.

Nowitzki honored

Immediately before the start of the game, Nowitzki (44) was the focus again. The national jersey of the only German NBA champion was ceremonially pulled under the arena ceiling at 8:25 p.m. The German Basketball Association (DBB) will never give away his number 14 again.

“I’ve always loved playing for my country. I’ve always given my all. So it means a lot to me,” said Nowitzki, after Frank-Walter Steinmeier had honored him in a speech. “Your hero status is undiminished three years after the end of your active time,” said the Federal President.

The nervousness of the Germans was noticeable

Exactly three years to the day after the start against France at the disappointing 2019 World Cup in China, where it had lost, Herbert surprised. Daniel Theis, who was only given the last place in the squad on Wednesday due to knee problems, initially sat on the bench – but not for long. After an unsportsmanlike foul by Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann and only 1:02 minutes played, the Indiana Pacers center had to play immediately.

But four days after the surprisingly clear victory in the World Cup qualifier against the European Championship group opponents Slovenia, the nervousness of the Germans was noticeable. The first five throws from the field against next to it, but the hosts worked their way into the game through the strong defense. While the French offense didn’t get going, Germany scored steadily. Schröder shone with fast drives and the American Nick-Weiler Babb provided the half-time lead with a three-pointer.

“We defended very well and took a lot of things away from them,” said Big Man Johannes Thiemann at half-time at MagentaSport. After the break, France, who scored much better from outside at this stage, came back with an 8-0 run – but then Germany really turned up the heat. Maodo Lo took command: The Berliner hung up, hit the step-back three and laid up. When Schröder outdid NBA star Rudy Gobert in the final quarter and finished 71:57, the audience was finally able to celebrate.

After a rest day, the German team has two games on the program this weekend. On Saturday against Bosnia and Herzegovina and on Sunday against the strong Lithuania (both 2.30 p.m. / MagentaSport) at least one win is needed. (dpa)

Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by

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