The Bavarian derby in the post-season ended in a beat-down as Brose Baskets Bamberg demolished FC Bayern to complete a 3-0 sweep and progress to the Bundesliga finals. Emmet Ryan looks back on a big-time whupping
The warning signs were there in Game 2 when Bamberg looked far too comfortable coming back to take what was, in the end, a rather convincing road win. The ease with which they reeled Bayern in, much like the manner with which they dealt with the local rivals at the tail end of the regular season, pointed to a side that was hiding the true gulf between the teams.
It took half a quarter for the real Bamberg to show up in Game 3. The real Brose Baskets is not the side that was pushed to five games in last year’s finals by their rivals to the south. This team is one designed to win in Piraeus, to take down CSKA Moscow, to beat Barcelona. This team was not going to let Bayern believe they belonged on the same stage as a side that finally took its place as a power in Europe this past season. Brose Baskets had a chance to take the series today and from the off they made sure the sweep was a certainty.
This rivalry is anything but organic and it’s the artificiality that has made it so deep, from fans to front office. Bayern want to be the big time power in German hoops. They took the title in just their second season in the top flight and were just a game away from repeating last season. Bamberg, the long-time power in the Bundesliga, sees its rival from a larger city to the south as one without the tradition in the Bundesliga that it has worked to build. This club, in one of the finest drinking cities in Europe, was knocked off its perch for a year but that made it more aware than ever as to what the Bundesliga title means to it.
The ragged mess that was what was left of Bayern after 40 minutes today showed the result. Big names have arrived in Bamberg but the core remains from a year ago. Where gaps existed, they have been filled, and now this is a side that wants to end its year in dominant fashion. Merely winning the Bundesliga was ample for Brose Baskets before, this year #PlayoffsBaby is about asserting authority. Whether it’s Ulm or Frankfurt that comes to town in a week, the goal is no different. Brose Baskets, in their final series before formally changing to Brose Bamberg, wants to set a marker down for the year to come.
The winner of the Bundesliga will take what looks like the final slot in Euroleague’s new 16 team format next year. The home side ended Bayern’s hopes of being that team in emphatic style today. The visitors looked at half-time like a side that wanted to scurry off to the bar next door and few could have blamed them if they did. In a week, Bamberg welcomes a new foe and one it will look to tear into early and often.