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“Off to the ice bin, as Mertesacker says. Then we'll see"

The game wasn't over yet when Daniel Theis put his hands on his hips, looking a little disbelieving.

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“Off to the ice bin, as Mertesacker says. Then we'll see"

The game wasn't over yet when Daniel Theis put his hands on his hips, looking a little disbelieving. The German center had to follow the final stages against Slovenia after his fifth foul from the bench. His facial expression gave the impression: there could have been more. His team-mates had a similar facial expression when they were asked to put the previous 40 minutes into words.

"We weren't as clever as the Slovenians, we committed far too many fouls," Franz Wagner began his round of questions in the mixed zone after the 80:88 (36:44) against Slovenia, in which Luka Doncic dominated with 36 points. "It's a bit disappointing that we didn't get into the game better, but a tournament is an up and down," Wagner didn't want to dramatize the first bankruptcy of the German basketball players at the European Championship. “Off to the ice bin, as Mertesacker says. Then we'll see."

The team of national coach Gordon Herbert was already qualified for the round of 16 in Berlin before the duel with the European champions, but missed out on the early group victory. Slovenia showed the euphoric German the limits - and provided important insights.

"In the end it wasn't enough offensively to compensate for what Luka did. We discarded too many free things. It wasn't a brilliant performance offensively and we didn't really find the means defensively," analyzed Johannes Voigtmann on "Magentasport". An apt analysis.

The Slovenians were compact in defense and blocked Germany's way into the zone. Instead, Dennis Schröder and Co were forced to throw from a distance. But after the exhausting extension drama against Lithuania, the German legs seemed heavy; many throws were far too short.

Germany only hit 39 percent of their shots; of the threes only 12 of 37 attempts. Above all, the throwing weakness of Captain Schröder, who himself criticized his throw at the European Championship, continued. Although the 28-year-old was the top scorer with 19 points, he left many open throws unused. In addition, Slovenia prevented Germany from being able to finish quickly after winning the ball. In the half-field offensive, the Herbert team seemed unimaginative in many attacks.

In defense, superstar Doncic repeatedly presented the German team with unsolvable tasks. It doesn't matter whether it's Nick Weiler-Babb, Wagner or ultimately Schröder: No German could stop the 23-year-old Dallas Mavericks point guard. Doncic used his massive body skillfully again and again to attack the German basket and get fouled in the process. If the NBA star didn't graduate himself, he always found his open teammates.

The good news: Despite their worst performance in the tournament so far, Germany still had a chance of winning just a few seconds before the end. Only an unsportsmanlike foul by Schröder, who had previously suffered a technical foul and therefore had to leave the hall, sealed the narrow defeat against ripped-off Slovenes.

“We now have to react well to this defeat and get better as a team. A lot can still happen in the group now, so we have to win against Hungary,” demanded Wagner, who was only able to collect eight points this time after his 32-point gala against Lithuania.

With a record of 3-1 victories, the DBB selection still has the chance to finish first in Group B, which was known as the hammer group before the tournament. To do this, Germany must win its last group game this Wednesday (8.30 p.m. / Magentasport) against Hungary, who have already been eliminated, and Slovenia must first lose to France. Then you would avoid the top favorites Greece and Serbia in a possible quarter-final. In any case, Germany will then play the round of 16 in Berlin on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Berlin.

The defeat against Slovenia was perhaps a timely setback. In the knockout round she would have faced more serious consequences. Now it is up to Herbert and his players to draw the right conclusions.

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