Bayern Basketball hope to exact revenge at Olympiahalle
Munich - Six games into Mission: Promotion, Bayern was dealt a blow to their dreams of an undefeated season in the ProA and earning a spot in the Basketball Bundesliga. A tough loss in Würzburg, 63-55 to the s.Oliver Baskets proved to be a reality check for the club. Bayern dropped to 3rd in the table, and it was clear now that promotion was not going to be easy.
"We were on the road, we were not getting any calls," recalled guard Jonathan Wallace a week after the loss, in which the team's leading scorer was held to only 5 points. Four months later, Wallace is looking to make amends. "I wouldn't say we will get our revenge, but we want to win the game."
Immediately after that narrow loss, Bayern went on a tear, winning the next 8 games by an average of 23 points to get the mission back on track by year's end. Bayern is currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak and a win today will not only excorcise their one loss, but put them in a good position to enter the top flight of German basketball.
The response by the city of Munich to this 'Bayern Project' has been tremendous, selling out home matches at the Olympia Eissportzentrum and providing a home-court advantage that has sent all visiting teams home with a loss and a sense that this sport is taking off where football is king.
And Bayern have responded, and offered this 'Showdown' between ProA's top two clubs at the bigger Olympiahalle. The club could not print tickets faster, as the initial allotment of 8000 tickets were sold out within weeks, and subsequent additional seats were sold out quicker than that. 12,200 fans are expected to pack the house.
As basketball is new, Bayern have been able to educate the curious sport fans with the nuances of the game by printing out the rules in a small guide that have been available at all home matches. And the PA announcer letting the crowd know when to cheer and simmer down at critical moments. But the Olympiahalle will create a bigger challenge as there will be even more fans and the thought of losing the home-court advantage is not lost on head coach Dirk Bauermann.
"2000 fans from Würzburg are coming on a special train," he warned. "Those fans are not coming because it's a special event, this is their sport, they are aware of the consequences. What we don't want, is that the 2000 fans are louder than the 10,000 Munich fans." Bauermann advises: "Stand, cheer and clap, and the team will respond."