98-88 - Bayern takes a 1-0 lead
FC Bayern Munich's basketball players won the first semi-final game against the surprise team of the league from Vechta with a final score of 98-88. They thus take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. 5,393 spectators in the Audi Dome experienced a fast-paced and gripping game, in which the Bavarians, thanks to a brilliant game from Vladimir Lucic, were in the lead early on and held a lead for most of the game. Vechta however, lived up to their reputation and even took the lead (79-78) after a few unfocused minutes from the defending champions. With a tough defense and clever offense, the visitors were never given the chance to be close in the final minutes. Lucic gave an outstanding performance (24 points), Devin Booker scored 21 points and added nine rebounds. Derrick Williams was spared against the Lower Saxons and Alex King (8) jumped in to fill the hole.
The second game of the semi-final series will take place on Tuesday in Vechta, the third will be next Saturday, June 8th, at 20;00 in the Audi Dome.
Points per quarter Bayern - Vechta: 26-18, 26-24, 21-26, 25-20.
Played for FC Bayern Basketball: Vladimir Lucic (24 points/6 rebounds), Devin Booker (21/9 Reb), Maodo Lo (15), Danilo Barthel (10), Alex King (8), Petteri Koponen (8), Nihad Djedovic (6), Leon Radosevic (4), Stefan Jovic (2), Nemanja Dangubic, Derrick Williams (dnp) and Robin Amaize (dnp).
Bayern Munich head coach, Dejan Radonjic: "The first half was fine and we had the situation well under control. We also had a very good three-point percentage. Our defence was still good in the third quarter before everything changed. Vechta played small and we had to react. We did that at the end of the game and changed the defence a bit. Now it's 1-0, but we have a tough away game ahead of us. Derrick Williams had muscular problems during the week and missed training. Before the game, he signaled that he could go but after the first quarter, I decided not to use him today as a precaution. But I assume that he will play again on Tuesday."
Vechta head coach, Pedro Calles: "Congratulations to Munich. In the first half they controlled the game and were able to get some open shots. They also hit them well and scored 52 points with the help of five important offensive rebounds. In the second half we switched to 'Small Ball' since we wanted to increase the speed. That helped a lot. But with Koponen's three and Booker's put-back Bayern finally found a good answer and won the game."
The starting five for coach Radonjic were Lo, Nihad Djedovic, Lucic, Danilo Barthel and Booker. Defence early on was intense so it took nearly two minutes for Bayern to put the first points on the board with a three-pointer. The defence of the Bavarians worked well and prevented the visitors from scoring for the first five minutes of the game but two fast three-pointers and two free throws brought Vechta back within seconds (9-8/6th). Vladimir Lucic took responsibility and took it strong to the basket and ended with an old-fashioned three-point play. Lucic deserved his following breather and was rewarded by the fans with a loud ovation after contributing 13 points in the first quarter. The Bavarians were in a good rythm and King delivered five points in a row. Munich led 26-18 after the first quarter.
Captain Danilo Barthel raised the defending champions' lead to double figures at 29-18 but the small Gallic village on the German basketball map immediately struck back with two straight threes. Petteri Koponen and Vladimir Lucic banged home some threes and the favorites held a comfortable lead with five minutes to play in the half. The Vechtans, however, were not impressed at all by deficit and scored three straight threes - their ninth from beyond the 6.75m line brought them up to 47-40 with two minutes to play. Lo ran hot and scored five points in a row and finally after the second quarter the Reds were 52-42 in front.
Captain Barthel's successful three at the start of the second half was a nice start for the team and thir fans in the Audi Dome. Afterwards, the Audi Dome was a bit heated, which was not only due to the summer temperatures but also to the importance of the game. After all, it was the semi-final of the German Championship. The Munichers transformed the excitement into positive energy and intensified their defence and in a blink the score was 60-46. The guests proved their class by calming down their attacks and cleverly finding open players and making easy shots. Koponen stopped an 8-0 run of Vechta with two free throws to retake a ten-point lead and after the third quarter, the Bavarians led only by five with a score of 73-68.
Vechta began the final quarter with a particularly strong full-court defence but the Bavarians matched it with a sweet offense that was finished with a Barthel dunk. But the guests were on the post and showed the will to continue their unbelievable season and after a little more than two minutes they had their at 79-78. The game was now as dramatic as you could imagine and the lead changed with every attack. Successful free throws by Booker and the tirelessly fighting Lucic gave the Munich team some air. The big bang was a powerful Booker tip-dunk to take a 88-81 lead - time-out Rasta (36.). After both teams had neutralized each other for almost two minutes, Koponen sank a three for a 91-81 lead. The fans rose, applauded Lo's Steal and Nihad Djedovic's three and the game was decided. The Bavarians now lead 1-0 in the semi-finals.
Phtocredits: Eirich, Rauchensteiner, Gamel