Basketball European Championship qualification: The world champion comes – (almost) without a world champion

As of: February 20, 2024 3:16 p.m

The basketball world champion comes to Ludwigsburg, but almost all of the world champions are missing. In the first international match since the Manila coup, national coach Gordon Herbert is resting many of his stars. The Canadian is giving the players who were under a lot of pressure in the European Championship qualification the much-needed break – also with a view to the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer.

Last weekend, Dennis Schröder was on a flying visit to Munich, and the world champion captain stopped by as a star guest at the Bundesliga cup final because the… N.B.A because of her Allstar Games paused. When the national team returns to the basketball floor this week for the first time since the coup in Manila, Schröder will have long been back in North America. And at the “Homecoming of the World Champion”, as the DBB also called the upcoming games in the European Championship qualification, ten more gold medalists are missing. Above all, the NBA guard around Schröder, Franz and Moritz Wagner as well as Daniel Theis.

The controversial, still tightly scheduled game schedule does not allow the World Cup heroes to present themselves to the fans in their home country. The NBA professional league traditionally does not take such international match windows into account. The Euroleague hasn’t actually done so in the past either – but this season, Europe’s top league is actually taking a break for the first time, after an initial rapprochement in the dispute with the European association Fiba that has been going on for years. In return, another international match window was canceled during the season.

Herbert foregoes world champion: “Need a break”

At least the Euroleague players would have been available for the national coach – and yet Gordon Herbert did without leading player Johannes Thiemann, Maodo Lo, co-captain Johannes Voigtmann or Andreas Obst. In addition to Obst, the other world champions Isaac Bonga and Niels Giffey are also missing from FC Bayern.

You need a break“, said the Canadian long before he was nominated for the European Championship qualifiers on Thursday (February 22, 2024, 7:30 p.m.) in Ludwigsburg against Montenegro and on Sunday in Bulgaria (4 p.m.). Two of the twelve world champions were originally in the squad after the cancellation From Justus Hollatz (Anadolu Efes Istanbul) only David Krämer is left from the Spanish club Fundacion CB Granada left.

Upheaval in the DBB team – after the Olympics at the latest

Herbert acts consciously and is already looking far ahead. The successful coach recently announced a change after the Olympic Games in Paris, and many world champions would then “retire or take a break for a year or two“. Against this background, he also relies on the second row and the young talent.

There are two teenagers in the squad, Ivan Kharchenkov (17/Bayern Munich) and Johann Grünloh (18/Rasta Vechta), who, according to media reports, NBA scouts are said to have already had their eye on. The European Championship bronze winner and newly crowned cup winner Nick Weiler-Babb (Munich), who was not at the World Cup due to injury, is also back.

With Weiler-Babb, Kharchenkov, Nelson Weidemann and Jan-Niklas Wimberg, the Munich team has a total of four players, as well as the second German Euroleague participant Alba Berlin.

With Oscar da Silva (FC Barcelona), there is also a player in the squad who was cut last year shortly before the start of the World Cup.

European Championship qualification in Ludwigsburg – with manageable risk

Herbert initially gathered 18 players around him in Ludwigsburg, but before the opening game of the qualification for the 2025 European Championship, he will have to reduce it to twelve players in the coming days, as always. “It’s all about bringing the team together. It’s up to us to put the puzzle together” said the 65-year-old.

In terms of sport, the risk should be manageable. In the qualifying group with four teams, third place is enough for Germany’s basketball players to qualify for the 2025 European Championship finals.

Marko Pesic likes Herbert’s approach. “It has to be the same that the coach gives exactly these people the chance in this phase, with this euphoria surrounding the German national team“, the managing director of Bayern told the SID, “I like that very much.“And probably also that his Munich world champions get a break. The audience in Ludwigsburg would certainly have wished for something different.