2013 Beko BBL Playoff Preview:Alba Berlin-FC Bayern Munich 3-2

There is always something happening in FC Hollywood or also known as FC Bayern Munich soccer team as they aren´t only the most famous sports team in Germany, have the best  talented and expensive players, but also are used to mostly having success. The last two weeks have been sheer excitement as the team blew out FC Barcelona at home and then advanced to the Champions league final against German team Borussia Dortmund. With all this fuss happening with the soccer team, one may get a bit distracted from the basketball department FC Bayern Munich, but they quietly have reached their second playoffs in a row. There are thousands of bitter and unwanted things that have occurred in the Beko BBL this season for teams and players for instance Bamberg having so much misfortune and losing many close games in the Euroleague, a Jimmy Mckinney getting injured again a thing that unfortunately has plagued him throughout his career, a player like American Robert Vaden being released right before the playoffs hurting the playoff chances of the Telekom Baskets Bonn,  Frankfurt losing in Oldenburg this season on  a botched in bound play in the last seconds of the game or a traditional Beko BBL team like Giessen having financial woes, losing half their roster getting beat often by 40 points and then having to move down to the Pro A. With the post season starting, not only FC Bayern Munich have some misfortune, but also 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin who have to face each other in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in the best of five series. Both teams don´t have any time to waste to ponder about their calamity, but need to get prepared as quickly as possible for the most exciting head to head competition in the first round of the playoffs.

After finishing last season their first in the Beko BBL since returning from the second division in fifth place with a record of 22-12, they couldn´t make any real ground this season despite having the command from upstairs to improve their standings situation finishing in fourth place with a record of 21-13. One can´t forget that the team had massive turmoil shortly before the start of the season as ex German national coach Dirk Bauermann was let go and they didn´t name Svetisslav Pesic until December when he took over a 5-5 team. They did lose in the first game under his guidance in Berlin, but then as if a nasty cold Serbian wind had followed and blew away the next opponents won seven games in a row including the first four with 100 plus points and 11 of 12 wins. It didn´t take Svetislav Pesic long to cradle his wan and put his stamp on how the team was to play. Disciplined, hard defense, quick sets on offense with the first open shot to be taken and unending freedom for his players was key to the success. The team did let up a bit in the last two months having a record of 5-6 and losing in the cup against Alba Berlin. Their biggest problem in the stretch drive was losing too many close games like with two points to Bremerhaven, with three to Tuebingen, four to Artland and three to Oldenburg. With three wins more, they would have an easier time now with the Vaden less Telekom Baskets Bonn.  Their biggest wins of the season were against Bamberg and ratiopharm Ulm and they had a 1-2 record against Alba Berlin.  Fc Bayern Munich has an incredible roster with possibly the best three man big man rotation in the league with Jared Homan, Chevon Troutman and Lawrence Roberts. Tyrese Rice is belongs to the top point guards and with Brandon Thomas an allrounder at the shooting guard position. Pesic  has his freedom to pick from top talented German players like Robin Benzing, Jan Jagla, Stefen Hamann and Demond Greene. Top Israel player Yotam Halperin has been somewhat of a disappointment, but he can explode at anytime. It is always sweet when you have two starting five teams plus an 11th man like Aleksandar Nadjfeji that can still gun the ball out of the post to the open shooter. The biggest strength of FC Bayern Munich  is their famous and experienced coach, deep roster and combination of lethal offense(83 points per game) and rebounding(37 per game).

Times weren´t easy for the organization or fans of Alba Berlin when the last time they were Beko BBL champion was 2008 and cup winner in 2009. Three seasons title less is about as difficult and grueling as trying to find your way through Berlin without a navigation system. However club and fans finally shared that winning feeling again when they won the 2013 Beko BBL cup in the O2 arena beating ratiopharm Ulm. The team has at least won one title, but a player like Dashaun Wood is still hungry for more hardware  as is his team despite going 4-4 after winning the cup. Last season Alba Berlin finished third with a record of 26-8, but weren´t as productive this season finishing in fifth place with a 20-14 record which most likely added a few months on the body of tough head coach Sasa Obradovic who can yell and scream with the best of them. From the view of Alba Berlin except for a strong stretch in the first half of the season where they won eight games in a row, it was a very inconsistent Beko BBL season as they weren´t able to string together more than a two game winning streak the rest of the way. Their biggest wins were beating Bamberg at home and in Bamberg in Euroleague play. One of the reasons for the demise of the team in the second half was the injury to Vule Avdalovic who was the guy that kept the team together. Obradovic put together another strong team keeping Dashaun Wood who had less of an offensive role this season due to the many scorers, but was able to focus more on defense. Berlin has a very solid trio under the hoop with Yassin Idbihi, ACB veteran Albert Miralles and French man Ali Traore who recently got injured and will be lost for the season. Deon Thompson who still has aspirations of the NBA will have to help out even more under the basket. The unsung hero of the team is Zach Morely who has a lethal inside out game. German national player Heiko Schaffartzik  is at home at any parking lot and will shoot over the meter maid if necessary and Nihad Djedovic can score in bunches and take over a game at anytime. The club picked up insurance down the stretch with Americans Derrick in flight Byers and 2009 Beko BBL champion Je Kel Foster. Experienced Sven Schultze is the bench leader, isn´t afraid of anyone and can still hit the clutch three pointer. Alba Berlin also has a potent offense averaging 79 points per game and are always good for many points as they scored 80 plus points 20 times. They also do a great job taking care of the ball as they have the least turnovers in the league and are the best at hitting free throws at 80%. The biggest weakness of Alba Berlin is their outside shooting as they were third worst in the Beko BBL this season.

This is the most exciting series in the quarterfinals and should go the distance, but FC Bayern Munich has the home court advantage. The match up of the series with be the two top points guards Tyrese Rice and Dashaun Wood. Rice is a player that loves the big time moments in crunch time and is just unstoppable when he has to be while the danger with Wood is that he loves these type of challenges where he can shine and even if he is far from his Beko BBL MVP season of 2011, he can get hot and change a game at anytime. This makes him very unpredictable and extreme perilous since his main focus is playmaking now, but as soon as he sees the hole, he will be gone before Obradovic can yell road runner. Key for Alba Berlin will be to match the physicality of FC Bayern Munich which will be a real task with monsters like Homan and Roberts sitting in the paint. On offense they should use the pick and role option more to stifle the slower Munich big men and get them into foul trouble. FC Bayern Munich should test the Alba Berlin shooting early and if they aren´t on play zone and let them shoot. FC Bayern Munich also should run a lot and try to wear down Alba Berlin since their bench is thinner than that of FC Bayern Munich. If Alba Berlin can steal one in Munich right away, then that will only be an advantage. This series will go five games with an emotional fifth game in Munich. FC Bayern Munich have the 1-0 series lead and now it is time for Alba Berlin to strike back in game two. Dashaun Wood took over a game in 2011-2012 in Munich carrying Alba Berlin to a big win in the Audi Dome and will burning with fire in this series to repeat glory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s