Domination against Bulgaria, turn with the Croats. The Czech basketball players came out of the Pardubice tournament undefeated last weekend, and they intend to confirm their role as the dark horses of the EuroBasket in Hamburg, where the DBB Supercup or the next stage awaits them of preparation for EC. On Friday, from 8:30 pm, they will face the home team of Germany (PP Nova Sport 2), and on Saturday, they will compete for the position with the Italians or the Serbians. “These will be matches at a higher level than in Pardubice. All the teams there are better than the Croatians and I’m not talking about the Bulgarians. They will come with complete rosters, so definitely that they take it seriously,” realized captain Vojtěch Hruban.
In Hamburg’s Barclays Arena, which can accommodate up to 14,000 spectators for basketball, a prosperous one will gather. All the starting teams are in the top 12 of the FIBA world rankings – Serbia is fifth, Italy is tenth, Germany is eleventh and the Czech Republic is twelfth.
Ronen Ginzburg’s team traveled to the tournament venue by train on Thursday and will face the home team at the start. The Germans, the eighth team in last year’s Olympic Games, are among the regulars on the international stage. “They have a very good roster and a very good domestic league. They showed it in every qualification, when they advanced to all the championships with complete ease. But for some reason, they did not do well in the final tournaments. So they are very hungry to prove something in their home European Championship,” Hruban pointed out.
The Germans are led by point guard Dennis Schröder, a 28-year-old sharpshooter with nine seasons in the NBA, most recently as a Houston player. And also the 100% owner of Braunschweig Löwens, ie the club whose colors were defended this year by Martin Peterka and Ondřej Sehnal. Daniel Theis reigns under the basket, who was Tomáš Satoranský’s teammate in Chicago for a few months last year and now wears an Indiana jersey. And young Franz Wagner, who was voted the NBA’s fifth best rookie of the last year for his performances in Orlando, will be there as well. On the other hand, his older brother Moritz, who is also an Orlando Magic player, missed the summer representative due to an ankle injury.
|friday||18:00||Serbia – Italy||PP Nova Sport 2|
|friday||8:30 p.m||CZECH REPUBLIC – Germany||PP Nova Sport 2|
|Saturday||4:00 p.m||for third place||PP Nova Sport 2|
|Saturday||6:30 p.m||final||PP Nova Sport 2|
The Czechs last played in the tournament in Hamburg in 2019 as part of preparations for the World Cup in China. And then the Germans swept them 87:68 in the final. “They have run over a lot of us before. They were big, they played with a lot of power and we couldn’t match that on the day. This will be the purpose of the match – be ready for it. Because we think we’re tall, but they’re half a head taller in every position,” Hruban said.
On Saturday, the Czechs can play against the Italians or the Serbs, led by NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, who are in the main group of the Prague EuroBasket. And if the Czechs could choose, they would prefer not to reveal their cards before the ME. “I’m a little surprised that they’re in the German tournament. Personally, I’d rather have them in Europe,” Jaromír Bohačík smiled and Hruban nodded. “It’s probably better playing with the Italians.”
The Czech team went to Hamburg with fourteen players without Tomáš Vyoral and “Canadian” reinforcement James Karnik. Before the start of the EuroBasket, the coaching team has to narrow down the nomination by two more names.
After arriving in Prague on Sunday, Ginzburg’s team will fly to Paris on Monday, where they will face France in World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, August 24. Three days later, the basketball players will meet Hungary in Chomutov, and begin the EC for them at Prague’s O2 Arena on Friday, September 2, with a match against Poland.