Okinawa (dpa) – Manila is calling. On the way to the World Cup finals in the Philippine capital, German basketball players await one last match in Okinawa.
Dennis Schroder and company want to leave the Japanese holiday island with a fifth win in their fifth match. On Sunday (1:10 pm/Magentasport), former European champion Slovenia awaits a tough test with star Luka Doncic. Although the two teams have already qualified for the quarter-finals, some questions still remain.
How is Dennis Schroeder?
According to national coach Gordon Herbert, it was not particularly good. The Canadian said, “He is suffering from pain in his back. We have to see what he can do today. We will wait until tomorrow and see how things go in training and throwing.” Schroder was substituted Friday in the 10:73 win over Georgia and cited back issues. Just how bad things were wasn’t clear. Herbert left it open whether Schröder would be able to play – instead he pointedly praised players Maudu Lo and Justus Holatz, who will have to make up for the potential loss.
When will Franz Wagner return?
This is still unexpected. The 22-year-old Orlando Magic winger sprained his ankle in the opener against Japan and was wearing a walking boot. Wagner practiced again this week, but mostly one-on-one and not with full contact at five-on-five. So far there is no need to rush Wagner’s return. This also applies to the Sunday following progress. It is conceivable that Al-Mamoud will only return in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
What is the starting position for the German national team?
Compared to many other top teams, it’s great. European vice-champion France was already eliminated in the preliminary round, followed by Australia, the third-placed Olympic team, in the second round. Some of the other medal contenders will have to worry about progress on Sunday. Spain, the world and European champions, meets a Canadian group full of NBA stars. Only the winner makes it to Manila. Italy and Serbia are also at risk.
But the German team is still far from satisfied, as confirmed by team captain Johannes Voigtmann. Voigtmann said: “I am happy that we reached the quarter-finals. But this was just a temporary goal. We now want to top the group so that we have a good starting position for the quarter-finals.” Only two teams will qualify for the World Cup knockout rounds undefeated, and Germany could be one of them.
What about the 2024 Olympics?
The first steps have been taken with four World Cup titles won, but elimination – with only the top two European teams coming straight to Paris – is difficult. Reaching the quarter-finals alone will not be enough, as two other Europeans, Lithuania and Slovenia, have qualified for it. Other countries such as Italy, Serbia or Spain could follow and then meet in the quarter-finals. Perhaps reaching the semi-finals is essential for Herbert’s team. If the United States and two other European countries win medals, fourth place won’t be enough.
What is the topic of the match against Slovenia?
In addition to the unblemished record, a group win is also at stake. However, at the time of the match, it will not be clear what this means for the rest of the tournament. All decisions regarding the German national team in the other groups will be made later. Are you waiting for world champion Spain or Latvia in the quarter-finals? Will we play against the USA in the semi-finals or just a possible final? A win over Slovenia does not necessarily have a positive impact on the knockout stage in Manila. The final group match has nothing to do with qualifying for the Olympics, as both teams will almost certainly advance to the quarter-finals.
Will RTL participate again in the final stage?
No, it is no different from the European Championship 2022. An RTL spokesman said in response to a request from the German news agency dpa that the broadcaster “has decided not to broadcast individual basketball matches this summer.” “In September we will focus on the long-awaited start of the NFL season and our extensive football rights.” Last year, the private channel showed the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the bronze match in Berlin. Magentasport broadcasts all German matches for free and other World Cup matches for a fee.
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