This weekend, the German NBBL and JBBL Top4 are being played in Hagen. After having covered this event for years live from the gym, I had to skip it this time but could follow the games through the LIVE Stream of the organizers.
JBBL: Artland Dragons – TSV Tröster Breitengüssbach 61 – 57
The first game of the day was a matchup between Philipp Herkenhoff and Nicolas Wolf, the two best individuals in the MVP vote of the JBBL. The Dragons were leading nearly the whole game and Herkenhoff showed his talent in multiple ways. He dominated in the paint but also played from outside or pushed the ball in transition. Together with his PG Thorben Döding, they were too strong for a Breitengüssbach team where only Wolf managed to be a dangerous scorer. The Dragons qualified in the end for the final for the second time in a row despite the fact that their best player from last season had to leave for the NBBL this summer. With their structured play and the best individual prospect of the JBBL category, they look like the favorite for the title on Sunday.
JBBL: Phoenix Hagen – BBA Ludwigsburg 60 – 68
The second semi-final was marked by a clear break, the hosts dominated the first half and Ludwigsburg the second. Driven by Jasper Günther, the younger brother of Per, Hagen went ahead in the first half by constantly attacking the basket. Vladimir Pinchuk though was not effective as usual and missed too many shots. In the second half though, the length and athleticism of Ludwigbsurg took over as Lawrence Mugagan in the paint and Fekremariam Abraha as a calm leader initiated a run that changed the game. Mateo Seric closed the game then in the final minutes from the free-throw line and created the surprise. Ludwigsburg was the more balanced team that could increase their defensive pressure during the game despite a poor shooting day both on the free-throw and three point line.
NBBL: Phoenix Hagen – Eintracht Frankfurt 80 – 88 (2OT)
In an extremely tight game, Eintracht Frankfurt managed to qualify for the NBBL Final for the first time in its history. Niklas Kiel and Jules Akodo were the key players for Frankfurt as the German Power Forward finished with 24 points and 22 rebounds while going 8/9 from the free-throw line. Akodo organized the game well and found his team mates so many times out of his drives. The Brit had 25 points and 8 rebounds at the end. For Hagen, Jonas Grof was the driving force as the tall PG scored 28 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Marcel Kessen was present in the paint but he rushed too many decisions so that the hosts could not qualify either in the JBBL nor NBBL for the finals. It were Grof and Haris Hujic who saved Hagen into the first overtime and Grof again who managed to get a second extra period. But during these second 5 bonus minutes, Hagen could not resist anymore and got eliminated.
NBBL: FC Bayern München – ALBA Berlin 66 – 56
Bayern Munich started extremely aggressively into this second semi-final and eliminated any chances for ALBA right from the start. With a suffocating defense, Munich forced multiple turnovers and their inside combo Dejan Kovacevic – Marvin Ogunsipe scored multiple baskets. With Richard Freudenberg coming from the bench and Karim Jallow playing pressure defense, the team from the South had the larger energy reserves as ALBA top prospect Moritz Wagner was benched for long stretches in the first half because of foul trouble. ALBA though tired to fight their way back into the game in the second half but could never get closer than 6 points in the final seconds. With this victory, Bayern looks like the favorite for the final on Sunday even though they probably have to play without their Starting PG Sebastian Schmitt who twisted his ankle during the game.