When looking at the current Pro B standings this weekend one saw four teams that had a record of 4-0. Teams that have got out of the gate early with perfect records are north team Iserlohn and in the south it was three teams with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Schwenningen and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The biggest surprise in that group was the Fraport Skyliners Juniors because since 2009 when they were born they had never began with a better record than 1-1 until this season. A big handicap each season is having all their players available because many are BBL double license players and often the schedules of the BBL and Pro B conflict. Plus Frankfurt belong to the teams with the youngest players and there is no change this season as they average 20 years of age as a team and a team like Schwenningen who have four guys 30 years or older average 27 years of age. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors are still finding their offensive rhythm and with their arsenal will get better with time, but it has been their defensive work which has shone brightest in the early going as they are second best in the league with only 67 points allowed. Frankfurt met another ambitious team that have had a good start at 3-1 with FC Bayern Munich that are even younger boasting a roster that averages 19 years of age. They have been impressive currently riding a three game winning streak being seventh best in the league in scoring points at 80 and securing rebounds with 34 per game and beat 2018 Pro B champ ScanPlus Baskets 74-70. This would be a tough test for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they had to be ready on the defensive end and were especially in the crucial last minutes as they grinded out a tough 83-78 victory against FC Bayern Munich to move to 5-0. After the win Frankfurt head coach Sebastian Gleim was content how his team rebounded from the win in Erfurt. “Last weekend we didn´t play with much self confidence and saved the win. Today we played three quarters of very good defense. We played better offensively and had good ball movement. It was our best offensive game this season”, stressed head coach Sebastian Gleim. FC Bayern Munich gave it a good fight, but just weren´t consistent enough to give Frankfurt enough problems. After the game a disappointed Viktor Frankl-Maus who had a black eye reflected on the loss. “We had ups and downs today. We didn´t start well and came back in the second quarter. That is the way how we should always play. But in the third quarter in a matter of 2-3 minutes it was tied up again as we gave them the momentum. We came back, but just didn´t have enough at the end and the technical fouls hurt. We are a young team and went into the game with a three game winning streak. We may have been too sure of ourselves. We wanted to show them that we were the better team, but in the end gave them the game”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Viktor Frankl-Maus.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed that they have a special luxury in that they started the game with five players with BBL experience with Freudenberg, Akodo, Zeeb, Schubert and Trtovac. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got going early as ex St Johns forward Richard Freudenberg dropped two trey´s and Brit Jules Akodo who was inserted in the starting lineup for Elijah Clarance who had dislocated a finger scored a lay in as Frankfurt led 8-4. Frankfurt had the hot hand from outside while the guests did all the damage in the paint area as they quickly tied the score 8-8 as 25 year old 206cm Nemanja Markovic made a bank shot and 17 year old 197cm shooting guard Bruno Vrcic hit an off balance shot. Frankfurt continued to keep Freudenberg involved and firing away as he hit his third trey for the 11-8 advantage. Garai Zeeb was supplying the needed leadership and controlling the tempo very well and keeping the offense going with good looks while on defense heightened the clogging in the paint area. Zeeb who got his first BBL minutes in the 2014-2015 season with Bremerhaven continued to do a great job getting his teammates involved finding ex Chemnitz big man Aaron Kayser for an easy bucket and then executing himself on a runner and American rookie JT Roach hit a step back as Frankfurt had quietly completed a 10-2 run to lead 18-10. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to defend very physical and stayed aggressive on offense. The club got added buckets from Akodo and Roach while 2017 NBBL champion Nelson Weidemann made 4 free throws to keep FC Bayern Munich in the game trailing 25-16. “Frankfurt was doing a good job moving the ball and finding the open spots. Zeeb was doing a good job finding guys and Freudenberg hit big three´s”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson.
In the second quarter FC Bayern Munich heightened their play and stormed back going on a big 17-4 run to retake the lead that they had at 2-0 to lead 33-29. Ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Victor Frankl-Maus started it off with a three and he finished the game with 12 points and 7 assists. It isn´t even November yet and the oldest on the team hasn´t regretted making the decision to move to Munich. “I am happy I made this decision. I am glad that I tried something new. This is a great team and I have great teammates. I have more confidence and know how to help my team and know what I can do to be successful. I feel more relaxed on the court. I have learned new tactics especially on defense. You can´t play for a better defensive coach than Demond Greene”, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. After the Frankl-Maus trey, three more would follow from ex Alba Berlin 210cm forward Jacob Knauf and from Vrcic and 20 year old 197cm forward Jannick Jebens. Frankfurt allowed the guests too much room on the perimeter and on offense weren´t calm enough rushing things too much. Jebens would score again with a lay in and Knauf nailed his second three in the run as FC Bayern Munich led 33-29. FC Bayern Munich got a big steal and coast to coast lay in from 16 year old 198cm Italian Sascha Grant for the 37-31 advantage, but Frankfurt fought back getting a jumper from ex Ehingen forward Tobias Jahn and Roach free throws to cut the Munich lead to only to 37-35. However Frankfurt lost a little focus at the end allowing 19 year old German Nelson Weideman to hit back to back three´s including a buzzer beater at the break as Frankfurt trailed 46-35. “Frankfurt wasn´t patient on offense and the ball was sticking too much and they didn´t play aggressive on defense and weren´t getting back on defense. Munich set good screens to get open three´s. Frankfurt didn´t help on that last buzzer beater”, added ex Auburn(NCAA) stand out Quantez Robertson. FC Bayern Munich shot 53% from the field and 57% from outside and grabbed 18 rebounds and had 6 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 18% from outside and grabbed 16 rebounds and had 7 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors made a run battling back and there would be a few lead changes down the stretch, but they would lead by 5 points after 30 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out on fire and rattled off an explosive 17-5 run to grab back the lead at 53-51. It hasn´t been an easy season for Jules Akodo as he has had Elijah Clarance parked in front of him and his minutes have dipped. But he took advantage with the injury to Clarance and the abundance of minutes and really took control in the run. He began quickly and got by Weidemann easily for an easy lay in. At the other end one could hear the screaming Munich coach Greene with the words “one on one defense”. He made a free throw and soon after hit a trey and free throw which translated into seven big points cutting the Munich lead to 48-43. The only negative thing about Akodo´s stat line on this night was his 5/11 free throw shooting, but other than that he had a good evening with 17 points, 5 assists and 5 steals. “With Clarance out we all had to come together and play as a team. I came out more aggressive on the defensive end and let that spark my offense”, stated Jules Akodo. “His defensive aggressiveness was so important for us tonight”, added head coach Sebastian Gleim. The Frankfurt aggressive defense forced FC Bayern Munich to numerous turnovers and they took advantage on offense getting the lead back as Freudenberg continued his stellar offense dropping a trey and then making a massive two handed dunk from the baseline after leaving his man in the dust. Freudenberg finished with 23 points the most so far in his professional career and explained after the win how his mentality had changed from the first two home game wins against Wurzburg and Giessen. “This game was very important for my self confidence. My shooting percentage wasn´t good in my first two homes games. I went more with the flow of the offense in those games. Tonight I concentrated on getting into the game with my defense and rebounding to get my offense going”, smiled Richard Freudenberg. “He was very present on defense on the pick and roll defense and help defense”, added Sebastian Gleim. Roach added a trey and Frankfurt led again 53-51. Frankl-Maus nailed another three to give FC Bayern Munich the 56-53 advantage. However this didn´t faze Frankfurt as they closed out the third quarter with a brutal 8-0 run to lead 61-56 after three quarters. In the run Frankfurt was fortified by a Zeeb lay in and an Akodo three pointer. “We had a very bad second quarter and knew we had to come back with more energy and did. We also played better on offense and had better ball movement”, added Richard Freudenberg. “Frankfurt defended aggressively all game and the refs let it go. We had to try to match it, but that gave us big problems. We learned a big lesson today. We need to be more aggressive. I got a black eye today, but Frankfurt wasn´t called for a foul”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus.
In the fourth quarter The Fraport Skyliners Juniors jumped all over FC Bayern Munich again only to allow them right back into the game, but couldn´t totally get over the hump. It started out well for the guests as Weidemann nailed a trey cutting the Frankfurt lead to 61-59. However Frankfurt then jumped out on a 11-0 run to lead 72-59. Roach scored 5 points with a trey and Akodo extra pass for the dime and lay in and Freudenberg remained active in the paint with an offensive rebound and put back and lay in. Roach was big in the run getting two steals as was ex Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn with a block. FC Bayern Munich didn´t come to terms with the Frankfurt continued aggressive defense. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors now allowed FC Bayern Munich back in the game on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 74-69 as they chipped away and the lousy home team free throw shooting which was 21-37 for the night also helped in their come back. FC Bayern Munich got to the free throw line and made their shots while Frankfurt had their problems. Weidemann continued to be his aggressive self making free throws and a lay in and suddenly with 1.10 minutes to play FC Bayern Munich was breathing down Frankfurt´s back trailing only 77-75. After a miss from Frankl-Maus, it was Garai Zeeb that made the play of the game that sealed the win. He used his whole experience in his fourth season with Frankfurt picking the rights spot and finding Cosmo Gruehn back door for the easy lay up. The German than made the free throw for the comfortable 80-75 lead with 22 seconds to play. “Zeeb has been in these situations so much. He stays calm and composed. That is why he is on the court in that situation because he will make the play”, warned Jules Akodo. Frankl-Maus hit a huge three with 12 seconds to go to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 82-78, but it was too little too late as Frankfurt won their fifth game of the season. “We stuck together as a team at the end and didn´t fall apart. We know each other very well and continue to be very motivated to show we are the best team. We all want to promote ourselves for that chance with the BBL team”, added Richard Freudenberg. “We were missing some luck at the end. We gave up too many offensive rebounds and easy lay ups. Our communication on defense hurt us. Defensive execution killed us”, stressed Viktor Frankl-Maus. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Richard Freudenberg with 23 points. Jules Akodo added 17 points and JT Roach 16 points. FC Bayern Munich was led by Nelson Weidemann with 19 points. Viktor Frankl-Maus and Jacob Knauf added 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 30% from the three point line and got 32 rebounds and coughed up the ball 16 times while FC Bayern Munich shot 43% from the field and 38% from the three point line and got 35 rebounds and coughed up the ball 21 times.