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Anton Gavel: “We have to stick together”

The 2015/16 season ended unceremoniously for the FC Bayern Basketballers, who suffered a resounding 3-0 defeat to Bamberg in the playoff semis. Bayern Guard Anton Gavel (31) discussed the campaign with us recently and reflects on what might have been.

FCBB: Anton, a few days have passed now, so have you managed to create some sort of personal view on the campaign?

Anton Gavel:  Not really. We still need time to digest everything, but obviously it has not ended as successfully as we wanted it to.

FCBB: Let’s go back to the start. Things were going well early on. You put in excellent performances in the Euroleague against Khimki Moscow and Strasbourg, as well as coming close to beating Fenerbahce and Real Madrid on the road.

Gavel: The start was good, yes. In the games you mentioned we showed our potential, however, we didn’t reach it often enough this season.

FCBB: Another win would have seen you reach the Top16. What was missing.

Gavel: The home game against Red Star Belgrade was key. That defeat cost us dearly.

FCBB: Did Euroleague elimination affect your performances?

Gavel: It’s a logical interpretation. If we’d reached the Top16 we would have been full of confidence. Getting eliminated wasn’t ideal and meant that we missed out on one of our pre-season targets.

FCBB: It was a stop/start season in general. In November you went five games without a win but managed to stabilise. Why do you think consistency was hard to come by?

Gavel: It’s too easy to blame injuries, although obviously they come into it. The roster changed quite a lot. It’s important to have strength in depth and for everything to fall into place when necessary, however, that didn’t happen, which saw us lose a number of games.

FCBB: After leaving the Euroleague you embarked on a Eurocup campaign, beating Alba Berlin convincingly but then losing out to eventual champions Galatasaray…

Gavel: We performed well in the home game against Galatasaray and deservedly took a 10-point lead. I don’t think our performance was an issue in the second-leg, there were other factors. However, we could have reacted to certain situations a bit better.

FCBB: What was possible in the Eurocup?

Gavel: There’s no real point in speculating, but we felt that there was a good chance of winning it.

FCBB: There was also a Cup final defeat at home...

Gavel: We wanted to lift that trophy, especially because the final took place in the Audi Dome. It was a disappointing end, especially because we beat Bamberg in the semis.

FCBB: The end spurt then started. Would you say defeat in Oldenburg, which saw you finish fourth, was costly?

Gavel: It influenced what happened for sure. If we’d won that game we wouldn’t have been able to face Bamberg until the final. However, it would have seen us come up against a tough Ulm side in the quarters.

FCBB: There were highs and lows throughout the playoffs. Was that fitting considering the season as a whole?

Gavel: That’s probably a fair assessment. We fought well against Ludwigsburg and managed to progress but then found it hard going against the most consistent side in the country.

FCBB: Would you say that series against Bamberg is the most disappointing moment of your career to date?

Gavel: It was the toughest series, that’s for sure. The third game was humiliating – it will take a while to get over.

FCBB: What have you learned from the season personally?

Gavel: We need to stick together as a team better during the key moments. Regardless of whether things are going well or not we need to fight as a unit. If you want to succeed at this level you always have to be ready.

FCBB: One final question. What are you planning on doing over the summer?

Gavel: I’m going to spend some time relaxing and then started thinking about next season in July. I’ll be watching the football before then – supporting Slovakia!