The weekend of May 24-26 was an incredible weekend for FC Bayern Munich in many ways, while for basketball powerhouse Alba Berlin at least in the youth department it was a time to forget and could have been classified as black Saturday. The weekend started off great on Friday as EasyCredit BBL Team FC Bayern Munich woke up in the fourth quarter after receiving a scare in Braunschweig by the pesky Lowen and won game two 84-74 to up their playoff series lead to 2-0 while on Saturday the FC Bayern Munich winning ways continued while for Alba Berlin their U-16 team led by ex German national player Vladi Bogojevic was upset by home team Science City Jena 82-70 where the overall team play and cleverness overwhelmed them and in the U-19 semi-final game they were knocked out by arch-rival FC Bayern Munich 81-76 where they couldn´t handle the ruthless domination by Croatian beast Matej Rudan who exploded for 27 points on 8/16 shooting leading his team back to the final which they handed won since 2017 in Frankfurt. To make matters worst for any anti Munich fans only about 170 kilometers away, FC Bayern Munich were able to celebrate again in another sport football where the soccer department won their 19th cup and had endless celebrations until the wee hours of the morning. On the basketball JBBL and NBBL final game day FC Bayern Munich went into the two final games motivated, but both teams had to overcome two competitive and focused teams with Science City Jena and TSV Troesster Breitengussbach. In the first final in the JBBL U-16 game, the FC Bayern youths took control in the second half and explosive 36 point performance by German Benjamin Schroder helped them capture the title. While in the NBBL final, FC Bayern Munich met a feisty and strong team basketball orientated club TSV Troester Breitengussbach and pulled out an amazing 84-80 victory thanks to a heavenly explosive dunk by Sasha Grant and the leadership by Bruno Vrcic in crunch-time. After the huge victory, FC Bayern Munich cut down the ropes led by ex Ulm forward Jason George and were overjoyed with a great performance despite having some serious injuries and key players out including their starting point guard. Bruno Vrcic played his last NBBL game and saved his best for last leading his team with 22 points and making key baskets in crunch-time. “This was a hard game to win, but we stepped up as a team. You can´t win these games alone, but come together and we did that. We didn´t defend well in the first half, but did it better in the second half playing smarter. We didn´t play as hectic in the second half. I took control in the second half and we came out with the win”, stressed Bruno Vrcic. TSV TroesterBreitengussbach last won the NBBL title in 2013 and had the roster to do it again, but just couldn´t execute offensively as well as they had in the first half and made crucial defensive mistakes at the end. After the tough loss, top Estonian talent Henry Drell Explained what the difference was. “We played a pretty good game, but our offense collapsed at the end and they had more luck”, stressed Henry Drell.
The NBBL had a super turnout for the final with 1,500 plus basketball fanatics and witnessed TSV Troester Breitengussbach race out to a quick 6-2 lead. Matej Rudan did get Munich´s first points, but the opponent than displayed their beautiful ball sharing and getting solid support from 17 year old 185cm guard Elias Baggette who played 28 Pro A games for Baunach this season made a lay in, 18 year old 198cm forward Brandon Tischler who had a 6 point 5 rebound effort against Nurnberg made a lay in on transition and 18 year old 195cm forward Moritz Plesscher also scored on transition. TSV Troester Breitengussbach kept the lead continuing to get consistent support from Brandon Tischler and Moritz Plescher as their intensity was something that the FC Bayern Munich defense could slow down. Henry Drell hit a trey, but all in all was kept well under warps by FC Bayern Munich. But FC Bayern Munich kept up and found a replacement for the consistent offensive support that Rudan gave them in the semi-final but couldn´t in the early going in the name of Jason George. George who sprouts massive athleticism and is the team´s best all around player did a great job on the offensive glass getting three offensive rebounds in a row and got three baskets keeping his team close as 17-14. TSV Troester Breitengussbach did a good job keeping Rudan out of his offensive game and annoyed FC Bayern Munich with their nonstop transition game. FC Bayern Munich had problems getting good shots and couldn´t take advantage of good scoring opportunities. TSV Troester Breitengussbach made a little push in the last few minutes getting some added support from Henry Drell who averaged 13,0ppg in the German Pro A with Baunach last season and got a last second trey from Baggette as TSV Troester Breitengussbach led 25-18 after one quarter. “It was great seeing how well prepared TSV Troester Breitengussbach was. I love how they share the ball and had this great ball movement. FC Bayern Munich played too simple. All I saw was feed the post, find the lifter or the side pick and roll”, stressed ex Dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn.
In the second quarter TSV Troester Breitengussbach continued to have the lead continuing to execute with ease on offense, but in the latter half of the quarter FC Bayern Munich made a furious come back to dead lock the game at 41-41 at the break. TSV Troester Breitengussbach started out the second quarter with a bang going on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 30-20 as they got continued great offense including a trey from Brandon Tischler, and a lay in from 19 year old 211cm, 103 kilo center Daniel Koppel who played for the Austrian U-18 national team. FC Bayern Munich continued to not be able to execute their offense the way they wanted to, but got continued good production from 2018 Albert Schweitzer winner Jason George who rattled down his fourth offensive rebound and put back in the game. FC Bayern Munich then got a lightening 6-0 run to cut TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s lead to 30-26. In the run, FC Bayern Munich got added production from Jason George as he made a soft floater, a floater from 2017 NBBL winner Bruno Vrcic and a lay in from 17 year old 204cm center Mohamed Sillah from Sierra Leon who has only been playing basketball since one and a half years. TSV Troester Breitengussbach lost some intensity in the run while FC Bayern Munich finally calmed down and created better offensive scoring opportunities and also took something from TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s play book getting some transition baskets. Then came the big moment of Daniel Koppel who finished with 5 points and three blocks. He made a lay in in down low in traffic and blocked top players Rudan and Kilian Binapfel giving TSV Troester Breitengussbach the 33-26. FC Bayern Munich slowly began making their comeback doing a fine job getting to the free throw line and got a sweet catch and pop jumper from Matej Rudan who recently scored 26 points and grabbed 18 boards against Partizan Belgrad at the 2019 Adidas Next Generation tournament and a runner from Vrcic cutting TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s advantage down to 37-34. TSV Troester Breitengussbach wasn´t defending badly, but FC Bayern Munich made the most of their opportunities even if it meant hitting tough shots. Drell kept some added space between both teams with a lay in extending TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s lead to 39-34. FC Bayern Munich now was riding on their experience of their two captains Vrcic and Binapfel as they scored cutting TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s lead to 39-38. Brandon Tischler then made a key steal and coast to coast sprint and lay in for the 41-38 lead, but Jason George hit a clutch trey in the closing seconds dead locking the contest at 41-41 at half-time. “FC Bayern Munich played more aggressive and did a good job with second chances and Jason George was key for Munich making their come back. TSV Troester Breitengussbach had too many easy misses and free throws”, stressed ex Dragons Rhondorf assistant coach Max Schwamborn.
In the third quarter FC Bayern Munich really turned the game around and controlled the play on the court, but could never shake TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s away as they stayed on their back door steps. FC Bayern Munich came out strong going on a 4-0 run to extend their lead to 45-41 as they scored in the paint from Jason George and Matej Rudan also flashed his brilliant athleticism getting a bucket. Elias Baggette who has those piercing green eyes and sometimes reminds one of a Steph Curry with his looks, but also with his quickness and style on the court made a pretty basket as he picked his spot in the paint, made a stutter step and then sank the pull up jumper as if it was the easiest thing in the world. This shot temporarily slowed down the FC Bayern Munich run, but the 2017 NBBL champion then struck back again with an annoying 6-0 run to extend their lead to 51-43. Rudan led the run with two buckets as he made a lay in and picture perfect step back jumper almost as pretty as his shot in the semi-final against Alba Berlin. The run was fortified by a Grant runner. TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s was exerting much energy, but still had much left in their tank as they continued to fight back with success. Basketball is a game of runs and TSV Troester Breitengussbach demonstrated that cruising on a 7-3 run to sneak back into the game. In the run, TSV Troester Breitengussbach got valuable support from 17 year old 200cm forward Leon Brcic who has the Croatian/Austrian citizenship and averaged 7,4ppg and 4,6rpg in the NBBL this season leading up to the weekend as he brought severe energy from the bench. The big forward scored two baskets, made a key rebound and gave intensity on the defensive end. Brandon Tischler also hit a runner in the run. TSV Troester Breitengussbach raised their intensity and found other options as FC Bayern Munich keyed in more on Drell taking away his offensive touches. Vrcic continued to take responsibility and take charge on offense scoring twice giving FC Bayern Munich the 57-52 advantage. But TSV Troester Breitengussbach continued to execute and loiter around on FC Bayern Munich´s heels getting free throws from Drell and a clutch three pointer. FC Bayern Munich also were able to keep their lead getting a huge offensive rebound from Sillah and put back and Grant lay in to lead 61-59. FC Bayern Munich closed out the third quarter with a Vrcic runner to lead 63-59. “Both team´s were at eye level. It went back and fourth and we were unable to break away”, stressed 2019 NBBL MVP Bruno Vrcic.
In the fourth quarter TSV Troester Breitengussbach turned the game around again regaining the lead, but FC Bayern Munich never gave up and came back and would turn the game back to their favor. TSV Troester Breitengussbach came out red hot going on a brutal 9-0 run to steal the lead back 68-63. In the run it was Henry “Mr clutch” Drell who scored 7 of the 9 TSV Troester Breitengussbach points and just dominated like no other. He understood that he had to take responsibility and FC Bayern Munich allowed him to. He refrained from displaying his three and scored twice in the paint with penetration and nailed a jumper while Baggette used his superior basketball eye Q scoring over a handicaped Matej Rudan who had to hold back on defense as he had four fouls. Rudan then hit a free throw, but TSV Troester Breitengussbach struck again with a Plescher three extending TSV Troester Breitengussbach´s lead to 71-64. TSV Troester Breitengussbach was back to being able to play their controlled offense while FC Bayern Munich lost intensity and just couldn´t find back to their strong play of the third quarter. FC Bayern Munich head coach Andreas Wagner who knows about performing under pressure as he has helped teams like Nordlingen and Vechta move from the Pro A to the BBL didn´t show any signs of losing his composure on the sidelines, but stayed calm as crunch-time was approaching. FC Bayern Munich finally got out of their rut and showed again why basketball will always be a game of runs as the turned they game around to their favor going on a key 15-2 run breaking the back of TSV Troester Breitengussbach to lead 79-73. In the run they got crucial support from their captain Bruno Vrcic who upped his intensity scoring two huge baskets. The first basket was also the first field goal for FC Bayern Munich in the fourth quarter at the 5.03 minute mark. His second hoop was probably his most prettiest of the game as he came from the left wing and made a reverse lay up under 2-3 TSV Troester Breitengussbach players using the glass to his advantage. Rudan also continued to be a vital part of their success hitting a huge trey to tie the game at 73-73. Rudan continued to hold back on defense on account of four fouls and on offense was a spark with his versatile play. “Rudan is such an important player for us. He can play the positions 1-4. He has had problems this season with foul trouble, but he really took responsibility today. I always keep telling him that even if you are in foul trouble just keep your head up and keep playing. He was very controlled in the fourth quarter”, stressed 2019 FC Bayern Munich MVP Bruno Vrcic.
Then came the deciding play and most spectacular play of the game. Sasha Grant who was born in Sardenia, Italy and lived four years in Coventry, England showed what true athleticism and basketball power is. The 17 year old 198cm kid hasn´t played basketball for a long time and when you look at his body you wouldn´t wonder why. He has the body of a bull and played rugby and lacrosse in England and came quite late to basketball. He showed his moments during the game on offense and defense, but he kept his absolute best for last. Vrcic had the ball and found a cutting Grant coming from the right wing and he jumped and flew to the court jamming the ball down with both hands. The dunk will surely be remembered in NBBL circles for centuries. The dunk was great and memorable, but at the same time he also came down hard on a TSV Troester Breitengussbach player. This resulted in a technical handed down to TSV Troester Breitengussbach due to arguing the call as FC Bayern Munich sunk two free throws for the 77-73 lead. “I was trying to find our center, but he was covered, but then I saw Grant and threw him the ball and he jumped to heaven. That dunk gave me goose bumps”, smiled Bruno Vrcic. Sillah closed out the run with an easy lay in off the perfect lob pass from Vrcic. TSV Troester Breitengussbach totally got away from their offensive game in this phase as they couldn´t cope with the fierce aggressiveness of FC Bayern Munich while they also were unable to make stops as FC Bayern Munich was playing their best offensive basketball of the game which was fueled by the intensity of Vrcic. TSV Troester Breitengussbach had 1,32 minutes to play and tried a comeback getting free throws from N Tischler and Bulic, but FC Bayern Munich also supplied a basket from Rudan for the 81-77 advantage with 27 seconds to go. Then the game look decided as B Tischler made a bad turnover, but TSV Troester Breitengussbach stayed strong and forced FC Bayern Munich to a turnover getting the ball back. They were rewarded with a huge trey from Moritz Plescher with 3,7 seconds remaining cutting FC Bayern Munich´s lead to 81-80. But the two FC Bayern Munich captains Vrcic and Binapfel closed the door on TSV Troester Breitengussbach for good with free throws securing the 84-80 win and title. Key for the success in the crunch-time was the massive leadership of the two veterans Vrcic and BInapfel. “The difference at the end was our defense and the free throws that we made and they didn´t. We also didn´t allow any easy baskets. Me and Killian play at a high level and we have so much experience that playing in these situations makes it a lot easier. We are able to see the many options better than others”, stressed Bruno Vrcic. FC Bayern Munich was led by Bruno Vrcic with 22 points while Matej Rudan added 20 points. Jason George contributed 15 points and Killian Binapfel had 13 points. TSV Troester Breitengussbach was led by Henri Drell with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Brandon Tischler added 13 points while Nicholas Tischler and Elias Baggett contributed 11 points a piece. FC Bayern Munich shot 49% form the field and 14% form outside and had 42 rebounds and 17 turnovers while TSV Troester Breitengussbach shot 48% from the field and 41% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 19 turnovers.