After the cup mishap in Ulm where FC Bayern Munich finished in an unbelievable fourth place where the only thing missing in the Boulevard newspaper photos the next day was a collage between father and son duo Svetislav Pesic and Marco doing the famous impression of Macaulay Culkin in the cult movie Home Alone with his hands on his cheeks and looking gaunt and shockingly. After the club boldly predicted before the season that basketball hardware would be moving to the Bayern capital Munich this season, getting whipped out in Ulm was definitely not on the menu of Germany´s most famous team. FC Bayern Munich now have to let actions speak and win nine games in the post season. The club now has to wait until May 10th with their playoff mission and the time until then most likely will feel like an eternity as the organization is as focused to finally win a title as are the Oklahoma Thunder who gave all the doubters a message forcing a game seven against the Memphis Grizzlies as stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were being publicly bashed, but came through in game six in flying colors. Just waiting until May 10th will be as difficult for the club as it is for a little kid waiting to be able to play X-box again after being grounded. Sports life in Munich hasn´t been easy as of late in Munich after the 4-0 loss to Real Madrid by the soccer team, but the positive news is that the basketball department can still bring some color and happiness to the organization with a title should the soccer team fail in the cup as well to Dortmund with a loss. The good news for the FC Bayern Munich basketball team is that after the cup embarrassment, the team is focused to win a title after still being title less while the soccer team lost some focus going into the champions league end spurt after having won the league title in March.
For the MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg, they aren´t reaching for the stars or have title aspirations, but are just overjoyed for having reached the playoffs again. The last time that fans were discussing Ludwigsburg playoff basketball with tasty spaetzle, current MBC mastermind Silvano Poropat was controlling the reigns as he had built a very competitive team with solid players, but not necessarily a team that one would have put their money on before the start of the season that they would finish the regular season in second place in 2007 was their last playoff ticket as guys like Jerry Green, Nate Harris, Gordon Scott or Je Kel Foster were creating havoc and annoying top teams on a regular basis. Seven years later, the club slipped in on the eighth spot. Besides the consistent play of the team, most of the credit goes to mastermind John Patrick who once again came into a situation and turned the season into gold as he had also had coming into low market areas like Goettingen and Wurzburg in the last years. After coming in as a fireman last season, he was able to form a new team with complete control and once again found the right pieces that made another playoff appearance in his coaching career. He might not have had the best budget in Ludwigsburg, but he brought NBA glitz to the organization as well as bringing potent role players that meshed through the season. In what other small market can you see a George Karl or John Stockton sitting in the seats and observing a Beko BBL game? It has been a nice little run in Ludwigsburg and it will be interesting to see just how much energy is left in the basketball gas tank of Ludwigsburg and how much they can annoy FC Bayern Munich?
Ever since slamming into the Gordon Herbert defensive wall in Frankfurt in mid March where the Fraport Skyliners allowed FC Bayern Munich to the fewest points of the season with 62, they have been undefeated in the Beko BBL riding an 8 game winning streak and have a record of 30-4 tops in the league. The club also understood that defense wins titles and got into that mode keeping teams like SC Rasta Vechta, Bremerhaven and ratiopharm Ulm under 60 points. FC Bayern Munich is led by current MVP Malcolm Delaney who wants to keep his title streak alive in consecutive seasons as a professional at three after winning in France and the Ukraine. FC Bayern Munich´s motor is fueled by the play of the Virginia native. You can go down the list from 1-12 as each player has a defined role that helps to the success of FC Bayern Munich. If it’s the explosiveness of Heiko Schaffartzik who never met a shot he knew he couldn´t hit from the Marien place in Munich or the Messe tower in Frankfurt or the versatile Nihad Djedovic who can always decide a game to forwards like Mr energy Bryce Taylor who is the x factor in any series or the shooting qualities and mismatch factor of Robin Benzing or the never ending, overpowering big man rotation of John Bryant, Deon Thompson, Yassin Idbihi, Boris Savovic or Chevon Troutmann. This deepness down low is shear ridiculousness as Pesic is like a magician with a wan that sways it back and forth as his players create the magic and the opponent slowly gets overpowered . With so much deepness on the roster, Pesic can dabble with the audacity to throw a Paul Zipser at you who is one of the biggest German talents from the year 1994 and could be the only player to play the positions 1-5 if asked.
The MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg reach the 2014 Beko BBL playoffs with a 18-16 record fighting off the feisty Mitteldeutscher BC who were giving Ludwigsburg a real hard test for the last spot, but finished the season losing four of five games while the team led by John Patrick wining four of the last six games, but losing two of the last three games which puts a very very little damp note for the club. They definitely displayed that they belong in the playoffs beating playoff teams like Alba Berlin, ratiopharm Ulm, the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Artland Dragons. The club is led by their Malcolm Delaney MVP version in American Keaton Grant who has scored in double figures 28 times and one could say without his services would have won 2-3 games less this season. Just looking back to an early season game in Frankfurt where Frankfurt let a huge lead dwindle as Grant took control in the second half that led Ludwigsburg to the win. The guard position is definitely their strongest position as the fresh breath of NBA air in Michael Stockton and Coby Karl have made the atmosphere sweeter on the court for Ludwigsburg. Stockton has become a solid Beko BBL player after a slow start while Karl gives the club so much experience and can really do it all on the floor. CJ Harris has kind of been that unsung hero that has had an up and down rookie season, but is the clubs best three point shooter and has hit the timely ones. At the forward spot, Ludwigsburg have more experience with Mario Stojic who somehow hasn´t fit into the system of Patrick, but at any time will be that warrior on the court if given the minutes and Shawn Huff who is a defensive specialist, but showed his scoring ability netting 46 points in two games against Bonn. In the big men area, Patrick has a nice mix of athletic ability, finesse and physicality down low with the offensive board and high flying crasher Patrick Flomo, Adam Waleskowski that has a cute inside/out game, Mr body Robert Tomazek who might not be able to scare away John Bryant as easily as a burgler in his home this season and Gary Mcghee who came late to the team and has been up and down, but is always fresh for a double double.
FC Bayern Munich swept the season series 2-0, 95-71 and 92-67. Ludwigsburg were crushed under the boards in Munich, but the 36-36 rebound balance in the loss in Ludwigsburg gives some hope in that category. Ludwigsburg has a nice rotation, but can´t match that of FC Bayern Munich which has the deepest rotation in the Beko BBL. Key for the MLP Riesen Ludwigsburg of not being swept will be their guard play which will be their bread and butter in this series as that is where their scoring power is. Catching FC Bayern Munich napping on transition defense also will be vital for success. On the defensive side, Ludwigsburg has to find a away to limit the FC Bayern Munich inside play which is easier said than done. Here the guards again will be in the focus as their track meet stamina will be a key issue in the series. Each guy has to help out as help-side, rotating and denying the ball inside as much as possible will be important. FC Bayern Munich also like to run so continued high energy stamina will be needed for Ludwigsburg to stop them on transition. Ludwigsburg really could use an invisible Quantez Robertson or Akeem Vargas to help bolster their stamina level. FC Bayern Munich should sweep the series, but it would be nice to see Ludwigsburg win a game at home. FC Bayern Munich advances to next round 3-0.