A week without play? Johannes Thiemann had to think briefly about whether he and his colleagues from Alba Berlin had experienced this this season. The Berliners had last won at Zenit St. Petersburg last Thursday and have been without a game for six days since then. This has only happened twice in this exhausting season. “We had a few days off, had time for ourselves and for relaxation,” says Thiemann about the unusual situation. “That was very important.”
Because the opportunities for regeneration will be rare in the coming months. Already on Thursday evening (20 o'clock / Magentasport) a big task is waiting for the Berliners, because with Anadolu Istanbul the sovereign leader of the Euroleague is visiting the arena at the Ostbahnhof. The Turkish top team has only lost three times in the best continental competition and won 18 of the last 19 games.
Peyton Siva is out after elbow surgery
In the first leg, Alba almost managed to surprise in Istanbul, but Anadolu happily won in extra time 106: 105. “We were still able to surprise Efes,” says Alba coach Aito Garcia Reneses, “but everyone now knows that they can expect a difficult game in Berlin.” Johannes Thiemann is also aware of the roles in the second leg: “We are not under pressure and we are the clear underdog. ”
Even if Anadolu and Shane Larkin are likely to have to do without the probably most dominant player in the Euroleague due to injury, the title candidate has a very experienced team at their disposal. With Tibor Pleiß is also a German player among them.
The Gladbach native is already playing his ninth Euroleague season. “He has good physical stability for his size, a good understanding of the game and can throw from the outside,” says Thiemann about Pleiß, whom he knows from earlier times in Bamberg. It is not yet clear whether there will be a reunion on Thursday on the floor.
Thiemann recently suffered from shoulder problems. “We will see. You have to see from day to day how I can put pressure on my shoulder, ”says the center. Definitely missing will be Peyton Siva, who suffered bleeding in the bursa of the left elbow in the cup final and was operated on Monday. The playmaker is out for about ten days. Makai Mason, Tim Schneider and Stefan Peno will also not be there due to injuries.
Despite the one-week break, these are not the best conditions for the next few weeks. Because after the home game against Anadolu an insane March is waiting for Alba. Within 29 days, twelve games are on the program. Proper training or relaxation is then no longer an option.