Neu-ulm (dpa) – showdown in neu-ulm. In the fifth and decisive playoff semifinal on thursday (19.00 a.M.) between ratiopharm ulm and the EWE baskets oldenburg for a place in the finals.
The winner can look forward to a series of finals against defending champions brose bamberg starting on sunday. For the loser, on the other hand, the season is over.
"We can only win, while ulm can lose everything. That’s a clear calculation," said oldenburg coach mladen drijencic, commenting on the situation ahead of the eagerly awaited duel for a place in the finals. However, his team missed a match ball in the 61:74 against the first of the main round. "Everyone had almost congratulated us. If you think just one percent, the series is over, the mistake has already happened," said drijencic.
For the fifth meeting, the bosnian therefore demands from his team an "even more intense performance, an even more physical defense. We have to play over 40 minutes of basketball," said drijencic. "On thursday it only depends on the form of the day," the baskets coach announced.
Ulm, on the other hand, is looking forward to the decisive game with renewed self-confidence after averting an early exit from the tournament. "I’m looking forward to it. I expect a spectacle from the fans that has never been seen before in ulm," announced coach thorsten leibenath. "I wish that the hall would burn down. Because nothing is given to us, but the team has character."
At the same time, the trainer of the year 2017 addressed his followers with a flaming plea. "It hurt our hearts when fans went home before the end of the third game," said the 42-year-old coach. "I expect, even if i am not in the position to demand anything, that all will support this team unconditionally."
His team put in perhaps its best performance in the semifinals in oldenburg and kept its cool despite two bitter defeats and the threat of playoff elimination. "I’m impressed with my team, how we believed in ourselves after those jolts," enthused leibenath. "Now it is the golden task to mobilize all energy and forces for the last game."