Telekom Dome and Ratiopharm Arena are to host surprisingly the German battle for the title. The final will be played in a best-of-five format, Bonn will play the first, third and fifth games at home, and the first match will be on June 9.
Bonn reached the easyCredit final for the sixth time in the club’s history, the last time being in 2009, reaching an incredible streak – it was unbeaten in the last 25 games of the Basketball Bundesliga. Tuomas Iisalo did a fantastic job this season, his team won the regular season with 32 wins in 34 rounds, and then in the first round of the playoffs, they swept Chemnitz, the offense working perfectly (94, 95 and 89 points scored), in the semifinals another sweep followed with Ludwigsburg, this time it was the defense that won games, their opponents scoring 73, 65 and 71 points. Iisalo has demonstrated all season that his team has learned to counter the opponents’ game, knows how to play matches at a fast pace with TJ Shorts as the first weapon and knows how to win matches in which the defenses shine, his team having unlimited energy resources. TJ Shorts continues to impress and has huge chances for the MVP title of the final considering the form and quality shown in the important matches. And he is not the only important player, Jeremy Morgan, Javontae Hawkins, Tyson Ward, Sebastian Herrera, Collin Malcom, Finn Delany and Leon Kratzer ensure a valuable rotation.
If I had to use a word to describe the Ulm’s season a month ago, that word was modest considering that they finished the regular season with 16 defeats in 34 rounds and only two wins from ninth place. But what followed is science fiction, the seventh place provided them with a route on which the Euroleague teams were. In the quarterfinals with Alba Berlin, the two Brazilians Matheus-Caboclo were unstoppable helped by Paul, Jallow, Klepeisz and an extraordinary kid, Juan Nunez managed to win both matches in Berlin and qualify for the semifinals with 3-1. In the semifinals they managed to sweep Bayern, the same Brazilian duo Matheus-Caboclo were at their best, they won the first two away games and then followed it with a victory in overtime 104-102 at home. Worth noting Nunez’s numbers from these 3 games: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists; 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 11 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists, incredible performances for a kid born in 2004 in the semifinals of a top competition against a Euroleague team.
A dream final awaits us between two teams in a magical form, in a duel between a player who at the moment cannot be stopped by anyone, TJ Shorts (18.5 points, 7.3 assists) and a Brazilian duo Bruno Cabaclo (15.6 points, 6.8 rebounds) – Yago Mattheus (14.9 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds) who in this playoff won twice at Berlin and Munich, allowing the two Euroleague teams to win a single match. Bonn won both direct meetings this season and seems to be the favorite for this final, but Ulm is the Cinderella of this competition.
Photo credit: WDR