By Josie Esch
Quakenbrück is a small town in Lower Saxony, Germany with a population of ca. 13.000. It’s in the district of Osnabrück and was founded 1234. Since this is a Basketball page you could rightly ask yourself what Quakenbrück has to do with Basketball. Now let me tell you: a lot! Quakenbrück, or better their Basketball team Artland Dragons, is the biggest sensation of the Basketball Bundesliga this season. As the eighth of the regular season the team of hadcoach Chris Fleming was the last team with a Playoff ticket and because their opponent was the first of the regular season, Alba Berlin, everyone was just happy, that they reached the round of the best eight teams for the third time in a row. No team in the history of the Basketball Bundesliga was able to win against the first, so they could play with no pressure. Everyone expected Berlin, the seven times German championship winner, to win. But you also should expect the unexpected. Very surprisingly the Dragons beat Alba Berlin 3:0 and were in the semi finals for the first time in their club history. “I’m very proud of our team, who did everything to win, played together very well and now get rewarded for it,” Fleming said after the third victory. Berlin’s headcoach Henrik Rödl congratulated: “Quakenbrück has won deservingly. In the second and third game they were clearly the better team and with our Defense we didn’t managed it to get their hit rate under 50%.”
Perfect sensation. All experts couldn’t believe what happened and you agreed, that this was a really big surprise, but at the same time you thought that this won’t happen again, because in the semi-finals the next favorit for the champion was the opponent: acting championship and cup winner RheinEnergie Köln. Berlin had some injured players, were weakened, but Cologne had the strong will to defend their title. Only defect: in the quarter finals they had five intensive games against the Eisbären Bremerhaven, that’s why some were concerned about the remaining power of Cologne. However, the pressure had RheinEnergie and the Dragons actually couldn’t lose anymore, they already won more than expected.
But exactly this extra made them dream of the finals and that’s why the whole team fought till the end. Till the deciding fifth game. It was a hard fought series and again, with a great team performance Quakenbrück could kick out the next favorite for the title. So the next step of the spectacular journey were: the finals!
And there we are. Opponent in the finals: Brose Baskets Bamberg, who beat the Telekom Baskets Bonn and EnBW Ludwigsburg. There was already the first game of the finals, which won, not that surprisingly anymore, Artland Dragons very closely with 70:69 thanks to a tip-in in the last second. But Bamberg showed, that they can handle this situation, for them, this is no reason to get nervous. But this game showed, that the Dragons are going to fight till the very last second. They realised that they can gain everything, so why don’t the championship? Now they are very very self confident and again no pressure on them. The next week will show how we going to introduce Quakenbrück in the next season: Vice-championship or Championship winner Artland Dragons…