For six years German Viktor Frankl-Maus paradedin the Dragons Rhondorf back court and was the identity figure and heart andsoul of the team. The way he played the game and left his heart on the floorfor the Dragons, one had the feeling that he could never leave the club andbecome a Dragons lifer that would always give his all in the Dragon Dome forthe home court fan. But last summer he decided on taking on a new challenge andjoining Germany´s most famous sports club FC Bayern Munich and to be honest whocould blame him. It was a once in a lifetime chance to play for such arespected organization and later on tell his grand children stories of how hewas mingling with people like football legend Uli Hoeness or top player ThomasMuller or a Robert Lewondowski. Fans in Rhondorf not only will never forget hiseffort on the court, but the brilliant 2014-2015 Pro B season where the Germanled the club into the Pro A. Fans also won´t forget his beautiful feeds to topplayers like Aaron Nelson or Kameron Taylor in the last two seasons. The timehad to come where Frankl-Maus would return to his old stomping ground in theDragon Dome as he led the fifth ranked FC Bayern Munich who had a record of 5-2against his ex team Dragons Rhondorf who were resting in tenth place with adisappointing 2-6 record. It was a game where there was little differencebetween the two even though the standings told a different story. A basketballgame has 40 minutes, but the Dragons played only 37 minutes as they allowed FCBayern Munich to break out on a 10-0 run at the end to decide the game. Afterthe game ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Viktor Frankl-Maus was all smiles as he hadhelped lead his new team to a win over his ex team. “I was very happy to behere. It is one of the highlights for me this season. I was happy we got thewin and was very happy how much the fans cheered for me. It tells me that Ileft a lasting impression here. We had problems rebounding, but overall playedwell at both ends of the court. We didn´t play perfect and made mistakes, butwhen it counted most, we stuck together”, warned FC Bayern Munich guard ViktorFrankl-Maus. After the bitter loss Dragons Rhondorf center Zygimantas Riaukatold it like it was, but was still pleased with the club´s effort. “Theyoutrebounded us which is unacceptable. It came down to us missing some layups. Wemissed a couple of bunnies. I am happy how we played as a team. Everybody wasfighting. Earlier in the season we would have gave up. We are a young team, butcan´t make anymore excuses. We have some big games coming up and need to produce if we want to make the playoffs”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.
The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t waste anytime as they jumped all over FC Bayern Munich rolling out on a quick 13-4 lead. This was aided by their aggressive defense which stopped Munich´s first six possession. On the offensive end the Dragons Rhondorf profited from the work horse from Lithuania Zygimantas Riauka who got a couple of buckets. They also got support from a Kwam Waller alley-op tap in, Joe Koschade runner and a trey from ex Speyer forward Yannick Kneesch. FC Bayern Munich were lethargic on offense and really looked like they just woke up while the Dragons Rhondorf played with high intensity and just wanted it more than the guests. However when 2017 NBBL champion Nelson Weidemann was inserted from the bench was when the turning point came for FC Bayern Munich. All of a sudden they made a 180 degree turn and closed out the first quarter with a dominant 13-8 run to trail only 21-17 after 10 minutes. Weidemann brought more structure and spunk to the offense. The scoring point guard was aggressive getting to the free throw line twice and dropping trey. They also were aided by a Jannick Jebens runner and free throws and an offensive rebound and put back by 18 year old 210cm center Julius Duh. Munich moved the ball better and finally got better shots and also fought harder on the offensive glass than did Rhondorf. Rhondorf got two key threes from ex Ehingen forward BO Meister and ex Phoenix Hagen forward Julian Jasinski to keep the guests at bay. “We took the win from last weekend into this game. We played with a lot of heart and will. We showed a lot of energy from the start, but Weidemann did a good job bringing them back into the game with 7 points in 4 minutes”, stressed dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn. FC Bayern Munich shot 31% from the field and 14% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 41% from the field and 43% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
The second quarter remained a dog fight as noteam could pull away and no team led by more than 4 points. FC Bayern Munichdid a good job keeping up their momentum from the first quarter going on a 6-2run to dead lock the contest at 23-23. Weidemann continued to control the paceand do what he wanted to on the court nailing a trey while Duh continued to beactive in the paint and work hard for his points. After Alex Moeller who gothis second bucket of the quarter and Bosnian forward Rijad Avdic who played 20Pro B games with Lok Bernau traded baskets, it was Frankl-Maus that gave theBavarian squad it´s first lead with a three at 28-25. The game remained veryeven as the Dragons Rhondorf were fighting hard while FC Bayern Munich didn´tseem always to make the best decisions. But were doing a better job on gettinginto the paint something that they couldn´t in the first quarter. The two bigmen Riauka and Duh traded baskets, but FC Bayern Munich still had their nose infront 30-27. FC Bayern Munich then got a huge trey from Frankl-Maus lifting FCBayern Munich to the 35-31 lead. The Dragons Rhondorf never let up, but keptthe same intensity and just continued to chip away at the Munich lead. The workhorse Riauka showed his strong inside out game scoring inside as he almostalways had to fight off double teams and even saw triple teams trying to gethim out of the paint. With a few seconds remaining Riauka saw himself all alonebehind the three point line and had no mercy and just fired away seeing nothingbut net as FC Bayern Munich fled into the dressing room trailing 36-35. “Welost rhythm on offense in the second quarter. We let them get into the painteasier and couldn´t control Weidemann. But I was happy with our effort”, addedassistant coach Max Schwamborn. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 34% from the fieldand 24% from the three point line and grabbed 23 rebounds and had 7 turnoverswhile FC Bayern Munich shot 38% from the field and 31% from the three pointline and grabbed 20 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dragons Rhondorf center Zygimantas Riauka who dropped 18 and 10 in the loss
In the third quarter FC Bayern Munich got the lead back, but couldn´t get away as the Dragons Rhondorf always stayed on their door step. The Dragons Rhondorf couldn´t get anything going in the first few minutes as FC Bayern Munich cruised out on a 6-0 run to lead 41-36. In the run they got a clutch trey from Julius Duh, a lay in from 2017 NBBL champion Bruno Vrcic and a free throw from Weidemann. FC Bayern Munich upped the aggressiveness and intensity on defense which stifled the Dragons offense. They suddenly had no more easy shots. After a few missed shots, they lost self confidence, swayed away from team basketball and opted more for selfish 1-1 play. However Rhondorf would have spurts of solid defensive stops and got a big boost form Kneesch who suddenly saw the hole as big as the ocean nailing a three and getting a lay in as the game was tied 41-41. The game remained tight, but FC Bayern Munich still had the upper hand and slight lead as they got buckets from Avdic, Frankl-Maus and ex Alba Berlin 2 player Jakob Knauff keeping the 49-45 advantage. FC Bayern Munich continued to use their size and length advantage getting baskets from 25 year old 206 cm 110 kilo center Nemanja Markovic and Knauff as Rhondorf trailed 54-49. Falkenstein and Meister remained aggressive getting to the free throw line, but FC Bayern Munich still led after three quarters 56-52. “Offensive rebounds killed us as did little things, but we got more consistent stops”, added Viktor Frankl-Maus. “I missed too many shots. Kneesch gave us a lot of energy. He is an amazing player that plays for the team”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. FC Bayern Munich shot 44% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and hauled down 32 rebounds and had 15 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 33% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and hauled down 27 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.
The Dragons Rhondorf had the better and quicker start in the fourth quarter going on a rapid 6-2 run to steal back the lead at 59-58. American Kwam Waller had a miserable shooting day so he concentrated on his playmaking and helped Rhondorf get the lead back. He began with a floater after retaining his own rebound, watched Bo Meister make a steal and lay in and then performed a perfect shovel pass to Riauka for the lead. FC Bayern Munich lacked concentration and poor shot selection Rhondorf was back in the game and also benefited from some loose balls that kept some of their plays alive. Rhondorf continued to play spirited basketball keeping their offense going getting an alley-op tap in from German Alex Moeller as Waller supplied the feed and a Waller bucket as Rhondorf led 63-59 and looked like they were in command. But in the game of basketball a four point lead is never safe as Rhondorf found out. A few missed shots and a few Munich hit shots quickly turned the game around as Munich had the momentum. A Frankl-Maus trey and Weidemann lay in turned the tide as FC Bayern Munich led 66-63. Both teams were playing with very high intensity, but it seemed like each team had the capabilities to push the lever on their intensity up a notch with every new possession. Jasinski then scored back to back baskets as he showed unbelievable explosiveness getting to the bucket as Rhondorf led one last time 67-66. However with 37 minutes having played, FC Bayern Munich closed the lid on the Dragons Rhondorf going on a bitter 12-0 run to decide the game. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf had good looks, but couldn´t execute and also missed easy lay ups inside as their self confidence started to decline. FC Bayern Munich played smart basketball and executed down the stretch consistently something they hadn´t been able to do earlier in the game. They burned Rhondorf in the paint as Duh, Frankl-Maus and Jebens all scored with ease. Weidemann and Markovic free throws sealed the win. “We were the better team in the deciding minutes getting stops and making big shots”, warned Viktor Frankl-Maus. “The bottom line was they made shots and we didn´t. Nobody put their heads down. We had good looks, but the shots didn´t want to fall”, added Zygimantas Riauka. FC Bayern Munich was led by Nelson Weidemann with 17 points. Viktor Frankl-Maus contributed 16 points and Juius Duh had 14 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Zygimanta Riauka with 18 points and 10 boards. Yannick Kneesch produced 12 points and Julian Jasinski and Bo Meister added 10 points apiece. FC Bayern Munich shot 43% from the field and 29% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 34% from the field and 21% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 12 turnovers.