After four and a half months of summer vacation, the NBBL(U-19) youth league kicked off their season this weekend, but something was very much different. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners didn´t kick it off with an enjoyable, competitive and exciting Hessen derby against Giessen or TV Langen, but instead met the best red team in Germany with FC Bayern Munchen. In the past this famous club was never in Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners´s division and if one had to meet them then usually in the playoffs or in late may at the Final 4. But the NBBL league decided to change the structure of the divisions and created just two which actually made the regular season more competitive. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners not only have FC Bayern Munchen now to battle in the regular season, but also other NBBL powerhouses like IBAM from Munich, ratiopharm Ulm or Porsche Ludwigsburg. Of course it was bitter for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners to kick off the season having to play against the defending champion, but on top of that even worse that the club´s two German leaders Len Schoormann and Maxi Begue were absent due to injuries. You can never expect too much in the first game of the season, but FC Bayern Munich entered the game as the overwhelming favorite. On a rather mild early autumn afternoon day that saw some spectators trade in the sneakers and bikes for the seats and hot dogs, fans witnessed a very interesting first NBBL game for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners. The 2015 NBBL finalist fought hard for 40 minutes, but halfway through the second quarter they were playing catch up basketball for the rest of the game and just couldn´t get over the hump as they lost 71-60. The Pro B Munich team had played the day before and had stayed overnight and after the victory, both teams Pro B and NBBL hurried out of the BCM gym to get back home and were unavailable for comment, but new Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners center Julian Steinfeld had joy answering question. He made his debut in the NBBL at age 18, because the 211cm center spent the last two years in the United States. He disappointed no one with game as he was the best Frankfurt player on the court with a 20 point game, 15 rebounds(10 offensive), 2 steals and 2 blocks day. Despite the loss, he was upbeat and reflected on the loss. “The second quarter wasn´t a good one for us. Walz got going and changed the game with his shooting. We didn´t shoot our free throws well, but we defended very well. Grant took us apart, but it´s really difficult to defend him”, stressed Julian Steinfeld.
FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had numerous injuries to compensate as did Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners as they were with out Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue, Clavin Schaum and Risto Vasiljevic. Both teams also had a number of guys coming from the JBBL(U-16) as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had five players and FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had six players. Jordan Samare who averaged 18/10 with the Cologne JBBL team two years ago got Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a tip in. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball didn´t waste their time testing their offense as they got back to back buckets from the Italian Stallion Sasha Grant and big man Mohammed Sillah who was fed nicely from 2019 JBBL MVP Benjamin Schroeder. New Skyliner Erik Brummert who also plays for the Pro B team scored on transition as quickly the game was tied 4-4. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball continued to put on the pressure on offense and got another basket from Sillah and a trey from German Philipp Walz for the 9-4 advantage. FC Bayern Munchen did a good job getting Sillah many touches while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was making simply too many turnovers as they couldn´t come to terms with the Munich on ball pressure. But Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had a secret weapon with German Julian Steinfeld. He played with a high intensity from the get go and was nearly unstoppable the whole afternoon. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners went on a 7-2 run as Steinfeld scored twice including free throws. Both teams would trade leads back and forth with a total of six times. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball got key baskets during the lead changes from 16 year old Michael Rataj, got a Grant lay in and a trey from German Luis Wulf. While Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners saw 14 year old Joshua Bonga make his debut. He didn´t wait long to make his presence felt as he hit a runner. Bonga finished his first NBBL game scoring 3 points getting 1 rebound and two assists in 14 minutes of play. “He made some good plays. He demonstrated that he could play well against older players. He played with a lot of self-confidence and wasn´t afraid of anyone”, stressed TV Idstein head coach Igor Starkovic. With FC Bayern Munchen Basketball leading 20-16, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners closed out the first quarter in spectacular fashion and Steinfeld continued to rule the offensive glass making a put back and point guard Frederick Fischbach hit a buzzer beater three to steal the lead away from the Bavarian squad 21-20. “Frankfurt did a good job getting offensive rebounds. Steinfeld did a good job in his debut”, added TV Idstein head coach Igor Starkevic. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 42% form the field and 40% from outside and had 12 rebounds and 6 turnovers while FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 64% from the field and 67% from outside and had 6 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The turning point in the contest occurred in the second quarter as Philipp Walz got hot hitting numerous shots giving the Bavarian team a big lead and one that Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t recover from. Both clubs had difficulty finding their offensive rhythm at the start so the guests got into their offense with good defense as Sasha Grant made a steal and went coast to coast for the hard two handed dunk. Steinfeld than made a free throw as the game was dead locked 22-22. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners then lost total control of the game giving up a brutal 15-1 run to trail the 2019 NBBL champion 37-23. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball let it fly as it started to rain three´s. Walz hit two while Schroeder hit one while also making a lay in. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners lost focus and intensity on defense something you can´t allow to happen against a top team like FC Bayern Munchen Basketball. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners just couldn´t get anything going on offense as they couldn´t get into their sets correctly due to the high defensive intensity and pressure the guests were putting on them on every possession. FC Bayern Munchen continued to execute all the way to the break. FC Bayern Munchen continued to feed big man Sillah the ball and he used the abundance of mis matches and scored twice. Grant let fly another trey and connected. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got a three pointer from German Pierre Bathoum and free throws from Bennet Schubert. “Munich started to hit shots better and just played with more ease. Munich just played with a lot of power on defense forcing Frankfurt to take tough shots”, added Igor Starkevic. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 71% from the field and 60% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 11 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 30% from the field and 27% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
In the third quarter FC Bayern Munchen had total control of the game and led by as much as 21 points as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t get anything going at both ends of the court. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners showed more effort on the defensive end and started getting more stops, but they couldn´t take advantage of their better defense with good offense. It seemed like things were looking up for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners as they got a basket from Jordan Samare and FC Bayern Munchen Basketball couldn´t hit the ocean. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got to the free throw line a few times, but couldn´t make all their shots. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had been hit early with their fifth team foul at the 7,25 minute mark, but Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t really take full example of it as their 48% showed from the free throw line. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had made better decisions while the guests had lost total rhythm on offense. Steinfeld continued to carry Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners making a hook shot as suddenly the Munich lead had dwindled down to 49-35. But basketball is a game of runs and it is only a matter of time before FC Bayern Munchen finally start executing. They finally did going on a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 59-38. In the run, they got explosive support from Sasha Grant who scored six points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had lost their rhythm on offense and they began to do 1-1 play which didn´t give them positive results as Munich had the paint clogged and it was very difficult to score. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners closed out the third quarter with a 4-0 run as German Ben Karbe scored in the paint as did Steinfeld as they trailed FC Bayern Munchen 61-44. “We didn´t hit our shots consistently. We had problems defending their many offensive options. They have many weapons. Sillah was a monster”, stressed Julian Steinfeld. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 53% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 29 boards and 16 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 33% from the field and 27% form the parking lot and had 28 boards and 17 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners made one last push, but couldn´t get over the hump never cutting the Munich lead down under 10 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners started their push right away tightening up their defense and getting 5 consecutive stops on FC Bayern Munchen Basketball. However they couldn´t take full advantage as they scored only twice on offense. A big problem on this day was that Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners really only had one go to guy/offensive option with Julian Steinfeld. He continued his offensive domination scoring the first two Frankfurt buckets on a transition lay in and a hook shot as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was in range to keep striking only down 61-48. The German finished with 20 points and 15 boards including 10 offensive rebounds. “I was very excited to play. The dunk at the start helped my confidence. I played well on the offensive glass. I don´t know if the 10 offensive rebounds was a personal record for me, because in the States I played against a lot of smaller players”, smiled Julian Steinfeld. But FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had their own scoring weapon in Sasha Grant. It was kind of that situation where coach tells him to take the ball and do work. And that is what he did. He already had a huge physical advantage on every player he went against and he scored time in and time out again. He scored four buckets and even though Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got two clutch three´s from Karbe, they couldn´t make any ground as they still trailed 69-56. With a minute to play, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was beat even if they gave it a strong fight. Steinfeld showed his high intensity and aggressiveness until the buzzer as he scored too more time improving his statline, but in the end not getting over the hump hurt them. “We defended very well, but once we got closer, they were able to hit shots.”, stressed Julian Steinfeld. FC Bayern Munchen was led by Sasha Grant with 30 points. Philipp Walz added 10 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was led by Julian Steinfeld with 20 points and 15 rebounds. FC Bayern Munchen shot 48% from the field and 30% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 26 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 34% from the field and 25% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 24 turnovers.