Thu, 25/05/23, 21:36
"Deservedly to the next step": Bayern to face Ulm in the semifinals
Andrea Trinchieri's coaching team began prepping for their upcoming opponents early on Thursday morning: Ratiopharm Ulm will face the Bayern basketball team in the playoff semifinals starting on Sunday. The Swabians surprisingly knocked off defending champion Berlin 3-1. The Munich team, as the third seed, has home court advantage over Ulm (7th) and will host them twice in the Audi Dome to start the series - on Sunday (18:00) and next Tuesday (20:30). On the following Friday, June 2, the best-of-five series (2-2-1 mode) will head to Ulm.
Tickets for the home games are available in Bayern's online store, where a fan trip for Game 3 is also available.
Reunion with Gavel
Ulm, coached for the first time this season by former Bayern championship captain (2014 - 2018) Anton Gavel, who gained his first experience in coaching with the FCBB youngsters after his career ended in 2018 - has improved markedly in recent months. In the EuroCup, the second-highest competition after the EuroLeague, they had an above .500 rceord and narrowly missed the quarterfinals. They also made steady progress in the Bundesliga after losing their first five games.
Ulm is in this position partly because they made top-class upgrades: Brazilian power forward Bruno Caboclo, 2014 pick number 20 in the NBA draft (105 NBA games, 4.2 ppg), was signed at the beginning of January while winger Brandon Paul (2017/2018 64 NBA appearances for San Antonio) had already been signed a month earlier, after commitments in the Spanish ACB (Badalona) and most recently in China.
Brazilian Connection and Karim Jallow
Caboclo (15.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) has since formed part of an offensively potent duo with the second Brazilian international, point guard Yago dos Santos (14.6 ppg, 5.6 apg). Paul (10.8 ppg) and Thomas Klepeisz (9.9) support the young Spanish playmaker Juan Nunez, 18 (8.0), with their experience.
The second-best scorer, however, is the athletic FCBB homegrown Karim Jallow (11.4 ppg), who has been playing well lately in his second year at Ulm and after recovering from injury. National player Philipp Herkenhoff also came into his own after a long injury break and was an X-factor with 14 points (4/5 threes) in the decisive 83-81 win on Wednesday night against Alba. U.S. forward Joshua Hawley (8.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), also in good form, and forward Robin Christen (6.9 ppg) round out a deep rotation.
Ulm plays fast and has the most assists
As a team, Ulm has stood out in the playoffs so far for its high level of physicality and aggressiveness, which is reflected defensively in their playoff leading steals average (10.5 Stpg). 21 assists per game also speaks for an energetic collective that has hit the most threes of all eight playoff teams (11.8 per game, 33% / FCBB: 9.3, 37.8%).
"Ulm has shown what an unpleasant opponent they are, you should definitely not underestimate them," said FCBB captain Andreas Obst, who played for the opponent for two years until his move to Munich in 2021. "They play very fast, take a lot of shots and also bring real aggressiveness on defense. Their point guards play fast and the bigs at the basket are athletic, so they looked very good against Berlin and absolutely deserved to win their series. We can't allow them to play too free and fast."
Two clear victories in Berlin
Bayern played their very first game of the season against Ulm (87-80), and they also won the rematch at the beginning of April (then without Rubit, Harris, Hunter and Winston; Ulm without Caboclo), 77-59. Now the cards will be reshuffled. The Ulm squad is complete, Trinchieri has to manage without Lucic, Hunter and Rubit. And the challenger has already ignored the home advantage that Berlin held, winning both games in the arena at the Ostbahnhof (88-64, 93-81).