TDespite strong leader Dennis Schröder, the German basketball players suffered their first defeat in preparation for the task of winning a World Cup medal. On Sunday, the national team lost the second difficult test in the Super Cup final in Hamburg to Canada, the candidate to qualify for the cup, 112:113 (101:101, 49:45) after extra time. Just four days earlier, the Germans had defeated North America 86:81 in Berlin.
“Matches like this are important for us before the World Cup,” said Andreas Obst. “We relied on defense several times and we didn’t do everything offensively either. We were very passive in some stages.” Johannes Voigtmann also emphasized the benefits of the game: “It’s a good educational process for us, and we need games like this.”
In the last test on German soil, Schroeder was the host team’s top scorer with 26 points. The defeat to the Canadians, led by NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, was the first after three Test victories on the way to the World Cup in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. Only on Saturday, the hosts beat China in the Super Cup semi-final, with a score of 107:58.
The start of the World Cup for Germany against Japan
After the Super Cup, the national players will have two days off before heading to Abu Dhabi for two more test matches against Greece and the USA (August 19/20). The World Cup competitions (until September 10) for the Germans begin on August 25 in Okinawa against Japan, the host country. Other opponents in the tough preliminary group are Australia and Finland.
The Chinese dominated Schroder and co for more than 40 minutes on Saturday, and there were some stunning three-pointers, but the Asians were not a real World Cup test. Unlike Canada. “It will be a different match,” predicted national team player Maudou Louw regarding the first duel.
He should be right. Unlike in Berlin, when the Canadians let the Germans play in the first half, they held on strong. Although Franz Wagner impressed early with a dunk and a three-pointer to take a 10-5 lead, Canada constantly put pressure on the home side’s defence, who at times had to make difficult shots. But David Kramer, who only joined the World Cup squad at the last minute, was clearly unfazed by that, hitting a wild 3-pointer to make it 26:20 at the final siren of the first quarter.
Kremer’s trademark throw, which brought the Inselparkhalle to a boil, was part of a 10-0 run that threatened to drag Germany away like it did in Berlin. But the Canadians didn’t play well this time, reliably collecting their points after German turnovers and from the three-point line. Canadian NBA All-Star RJ Barrett (31 points) was particularly difficult to control, while Schroder became increasingly present on the other side, dribbling quickly to the basket and drawing fouls.
After the break, Schröder really turned up the heat and in a very short time the captain hit two three-pointers and extended the lead to ten points. This time Germany did not suffer a decline in the third quarter as happened in the first match against Canada.
Instead, the Germans gave up an 87:78 lead in the final quarter this time. Schroeder, who had to go to the bench with his fifth foul, saw Canada crawl back and turn the game around in the final two minutes thanks to Barrett and force overtime. Ultimately, the North Americans held their nerve there.
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