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Bayern falter in Berlin

FC Bayern Basketball were eliminated from the Beko Basketball Bundesliga German Cup competition after a 74-69 loss to ALBA Berlin, who now go to Oldenburg in April to defend their Cup title in the Top Four.

Munich led most of the game, but lost control in the middle of the final quarter as the hosts ALBA made a successful comeback. Too many mistakes and missed shots enabled Berlin to turn the game around in the closing stages. Bayern grabbed 47 rebounds, but their low three-point shot percentage and nine missed free-throws were crucial as Bayern were not rewarded for their solid performance in the intense duel.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - ALBA): 19-14, 19-17, 16-17, 15-26

FC Bayern team: Dusko Savanovic (15 points), Vladimir Stimac (12/9 rebounds), Heiko Schaffartzik (10), Anton Gavel (8), Vasilije Micic (7/4 assists), John Bryant (6/11 reb), Jan Jagla (5), Bryce Taylor (4), Robin Benzing (2), Paul Zipser, and Yassin Idbihi. DNP: Lucca Staiger.


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "We played a very good game today, especially on defense as we played at the limit. The key to victory today was the homecourt advantage for Berlin. We won the rebound battle after such a long time. Unfortunately, we had unexplained turnovers in the last five minutes that made life difficult. ALBA took advantage of the easy buckets and earned the victory. We were exhausted at the end that affected our decision-making."

Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach, Berlin: "Both teams displayed a good performance. Bayern is a great team, but we did a good job - especially on defense - and had a lot of energy on offense at the end. Qualifying for the Top Four makes me happy, this is a big win for us."

Heiko Schaffartzik, Guard, FCBB: "We gave away this game, and that shouldn't happen. We missed too many free throws and committed too many turnovers. We are very disappointed, as the Cup was our first goal. We will have to continue to work hard now and get back up again."


1st Quarter
For the first elimination game of the season, FCBB Head Coach Svetislav Pesic chose Anton Gavel, Bryce Taylor, Dusko Savanovic, birthday boy Paul Zipser and John Bryant as the starting five. As in recent games, Munich started well. Bryant and Savanovic scored to give the visitors the early lead (4-2, 2'min). Taylor scored from the free-throw line (6-2, 3'). Bryant dominated under the basket, grabbing the first five rebounds for the Reds in a little more than three minutes. However, the game developed as expected into the tight duel as both teams battled for each point (10-10, 6'). Jan Jagla broke the three-point drought for his team 80 seconds before the end of the opening quarter and Vladimir Stimac worked his way under the basket for another score as the defending league champions took a five-point lead (19-14, 9'). Berlin were unusally weak from the field (22% shooting) and FCBB controlled the glass (outrebounding 15-7). Despite their six turnovers, Munich led going into the second quarter.

2nd Quarter
Bryant and Savanovic once again were the first to score for Bayern to start the second period. Since ALBA were continuing to experience trouble against the aggressive Bayern defense, Munich continued to lead after 12 minutes, 23-14. The game continued as in the first quarter - FCBB dominated the boards (21-10) and Berlin went scoreless during a four-minute stretch. Savanovic scored to build Bayern's first double-digit lead (27-16, 14'). Finally, after five minutes, Berlin were able to score on the Munich defense with their first points from the free-throw line (27-22, 16'). After a 6-0 run by ALBA, FCBB Head Coach Pesic took a timeout to stop the home team's momentum. The strategy worked, as Bayern remained dominant on the glass and forced Berlin into difficult possessions. The game remained a low-scoring affair (31-24, 18'). The intensity went up in the final two minutes but Bayern did not lose the lead, thanks to 28 rebounds by the Bavarians, and took a 38-31 lead into halftime.

3rd Quarter
The start of the second half was much better for the team from the capital city. Five quick points brought ALBA back to within striking distance. Heiko Schaffartzik scored the first points for Munich after the break, but Berlin were more alert and finally back into the game since the opening minutes (40-40, 23'). Bayern's defense was now rendered ineffective as ALBA took the lead (41-42, 24'). In the middle of the quarter, Reds' captain Taylor dunked it home to retake the lead (45-44, 26') and sparked his teammates to regain control and force Berlin into bad shots. Bayern were shaky from the charity stripe and thus the game remained tight (49-44, 28'). Stimac's performance up to this point - 12 points and 7 rebounds in 17 minutes of action - was the key to FCBB taking a six-point lead into the final quarter (54-48, 30').

4th Quarter
Vasilije Micic opened the final quarter with a score after a fine assist from Jagla. Micic was now the playmaker for Bayern, finding the holes in the Berlin defense himself or feeding the open teammate. Munich's lead stayed relatively constant over five points (59-53, 32'). A dramatic end was brewing between two of the top teams in the Bundesliga (61-55, 34'). Bayern missed an opportunity during this phase of the game to bring it home, as the hosts started making their shots and FCBB struggled on offense (61-59, 36'). The game was tied with just four minutes left (61-61), and turning point came two minutes later as Alex King connected for a long-range three-pointer and Munich had only scored 7 points at this juncture of the final quarter (61-66, 39'). Savanovic provided hope for Bayern as the game was slipping away, a three-point-play kept it close (65-68, 39'). But any chance for the Reds was short-lived, ALBA replied with four consecutive points (65-72, 40'). After controlling most of the game, Munich had no more answers. Berlin win 74-69 thanks to the final spurt at the end.


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