The ultimate 2.8 seconds of the Spherical 33 sport between FC Bayern Munich and Zalgiris Kaunas had been maybe probably the most transcendent within the competitors up to now this season. Zalgiris led 69-70 and all of the groups within the playoff race – Actual Madrid, TD Techniques Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Zenit St Petersburg and Valencia Basket – had an eye fixed on this sport as a result of Bayern win would ship it to the playoffs and thus go away simply two spots up for grabs. Even the 4 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinalists – Herbalife Gran Canaria, AS Monaco and Virtus Segafredo Bologna – had eyes on this sport: there could also be one or two EuroLeague spots out there via the EuroCup relying on the ultimate EuroLeague Playoffs image.
Bayern inbounded the ball and Vladimir Lucic took a fast shot. Although the shot missed, he was fouled by Joffrey Lauvergne with 2.3 seconds remaining. Lucic needed to take the largest free throw makes an attempt of this profession – and likewise the largest for any participant on a German squad in EuroLeague historical past. Lucic, an 86.7% free throw shooter this season, didn’t crack in crunch time; he made each makes an attempt to place Bayern forward, 71-70.
Zalgiris known as timeout to organize a closing play. All eyes had been on Marius Grigonis, who already hit a last-second game-winning jumper in a 74-73 house win towards Bayern earlier this season. Each Grigonis and Lukas Lekavicius tried to make themselves out there for Thomas Walkup, who inbounded the ball, however they had been nicely defended. Walkup ended up discovering Lauvergne, who was pressured to take an off-balance. Lucic was not guarding Lauvergne however got here from close by to dam the shot and finish the sport. The remainder is historical past.
Bayern gained and reached the playoffs for the primary time in its six EuroLeague seasons. Bayern additionally grew to become the primary German membership to succeed in the EuroLeague Playoffs for the reason that flip of the millennium. ALBA Berlin had reached the quarterfinals within the 1998 EuroLeague and the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague, the place it misplaced towards AEK Athens and Panathinaikos Athens, respectively.
“It is a historic day for German basketball, for Bayern. We made it. Very tough season, plenty of issues to undergo, however as a coach I’m relieved. However my gamers needs to be pleased as a result of, from day one, we had been chasing a dream. We’ve got some fights via adversities, some unhealthy video games, some unhealthy luck, however ultimately, we made it,” Coach Andrea Trinchieri mentioned, earlier than joking a few potential post-game celebration. “I imagine it’s a nice day for FC Bayern and for German basketball. I’ll drink a pool of crimson wine! An Olympic pool!”
The joke continued within the press convention room. “I requested for crimson wine and so they gave me a Coke!” Trinchieri mentioned, after which cited a poem by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.
“Within the final 15 days we felt that we had been shut however by no means shut sufficient. It’s like The Utopia of Galeano. You stroll, you suppose you’re strolling in the direction of one thing, however the distance is all the time the identical.”
The sport got here all the way down to small particulars. Steals and blocks had been a few of these small but vital particulars. Bayern had 11 steals and dedicated simply 12 turnovers. Zalgiris collected simply 4 steals and made 16 turnovers. Bayern additionally had 4 blocks, together with Lucic’s earlier than the buzzer, whereas Zalgiris had none.
“It’s a nice second. We had been dreaming about this for the reason that day we began in early August, so it’s a massive accomplishment for everyone – for the staff, for the group – being a part of the primary German staff who ever [reached the EuroLeague Playoffs],” Lucic mentioned after the sport. “However plenty of actually vital video games are but to return and we have to be prepared for the subsequent steps.”
Bayern was in acquainted territory down the stretch. It has performed 18 video games this season determined by 6 factors or much less, and this grew to become its 14th win in such a situation. A kind of 4 losses got here towards Zalgiris in Kaunas.
“We like giving our followers just a little coronary heart assault typically, however we’re a grasping staff and we’re going to struggle arduous and we’re going to compete, and that has been our M.O. from the beginning – plenty of these conditions come all the way down to the tip,” Nick Weiler-Babb mentioned after the sport. “Successful shut video games like this, it’s one thing particular and it makes us powerful to beat.”
Trinchieri mentioned that he believes this historic win is much from the tip of the street: “I need my staff to play the playoffs with pleasure, to be a part of one thing tremendous massive, the perfect eight groups in Europe. It’s an unimaginable consequence, however I do not wish to cease dreaming. Why not? We’ll face, for positive, an important staff. We would be the complete underdog and I simply hope that in this time period, we’re in a position to recharge, have some gamers more healthy.”
And in that case, who can predict how far more magic there will likely be in Munich this season?