The German National Team had very good results in their preparation for the Fiba Basketball World Cup, starting on August 25th. Our team at AGS looked closely at one of Europe’s elite teams that won the bronze medal at the Eurobasket in September 2022 and will give an outlook on their rotation, group matchups and what the Germans could be capable of.
Germany eased into their preparation schedule by beating Sweden convincingly, 87-68. Their 2nd game was a close contest against Canada, which saw Germany dominate the first half (50-34). Canada came all the way back to tie the game in the closing minutes but eventually Germany got the win, 86-81.
Their 3rd and 4th test came at the Super Cup in Hamburg where they dominated China in the semi final, 107-58. The Final saw a rematch against Canada, just 5 days after their fist matchup, and this time Canada would squeak out a narrow victory in overtime with the score of 113-112.
The final two tests came at the USA Basketball Showcase in Abu Dhabi. In their first game against Greece it was the 2nd half (51-39) that saw Germany break the game open for an 84-71 win.
The final test came against Team USA where Germany held the upper hand for a lot of the game, building a 16 point lead in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately for Germany, they couldn´t manage to hold on and eventually lost, 99-91. It was a great performance and showed what Germany is capable of. They played the favorites of the tournament down to the wire and it took 34 points from Timberwolves Star Anthony Edwards with help from Tyrese Haliburton in the 2nd half to turn the game around for the Americans.
The test against Team USA is the clearest indicator of how coach Gordon Herbert will distribute minutes once the World Cup starts. In that game he rotated just 9 players with his 10th man playing just 1 minute.
Germany´s starting five stayed consistent throughout the preparation games. Ex-Lakers and now Toronto Raptors guard Dennis Schröder starts at PG with FC Bayern shooter Andreas Obst next to him. On the wing Orlando Magic Swingman Franz Wagner starts alongside Milano´s Johannes Voigtmann at the 4 and Indiana Pacers big Daniel Theis playing center.
Off the bench the quality drops a bit, but Germany´s 4 main bench players are all Euroleague or NBA players. New Milano guard Maodo Lo handles the back-up guard rotation with FC Bayern and ex NBA player Isaac Bonga filling out minutes on the wing. The big man rotation is completed by Orlando Magic PF/C Moritz Wagner alongside Alba Berlin´s Johannes Thiemann. With Justus Hollatz injured as back-up guard, and Nils Giffey as well as David Krämer getting almost no minutes, Germany seems set on their 9 main rotation players.
Almost everything runs through Schröder who comes off an NBA season that saw him make the western conference finals with the Lakers and average 12.6 PTs and 4.5 ASTs. A lot of pick & rolls and drives are created by Schröder, who will either finish himself or make the right pass. Obst is used as an off-screen and spot up shooter, the same role he plays for FC Bayern in Euroleague, where he averaged 9.9 PTs and hit 2.6 3-pointers per game on 39.5%. Maodo Lo plays a combo guard role off the bench that sees him as another scorer and playmaker, who is also capable of hitting open shots or finding his teammates.
Franz Wagner takes center stage as the co-star and 2nd go-to guy for the team. The 21 year old started 80 games for the Orlando Magic last season and averaged 18.6 PTs, 4.1 REBs and 3.5 ASTs per game in the NBA. At 6´10 he is a force on the wing, with or without the ball, who can make plays in a variety of ways. Isaac Bonga was the only other wing who really played minutes and is an all-rounder. The 6´8 athlete can defend, rebound and get to the basket but is a limited threat from the 3pt line.
The strongest part of Germany´s roster outside of Schröder and Wagner. Johannes Voigtmann starts as a typical stretch 4 who can also attack off the dribble and has a knack for finding the right pass. Daniel Theis starts at the 5 and comes off and injury rattled season with the Indiana Pacers that saw him play in just 7 NBA games. After a long rehab he looks healthy and had a big game vs team USA with 12 PTs, 13 REBs and 2 Blocks. Theis is a very good defender who operates as a lob threat on offense and likes the mid range jumper. Having the luxury to bring Orlando Magic big man, and Franz´s brother, Moritz Wagner off the bench, is something not many teams have. Moritz averaged 10.5 PTs and 4.5 Rebs in the NBA last season and started 18 games for Orlando. Johannes Thiemann rounds out the rotation. He can play both 4/5 positions and is a solid post player with a decent 3pt shot.
Group and Tournament Outlook
Germany starts against the co-host nation Japan, which is followed by games vs Australia and Finland. The biggest test will be the 2nd game against Australia with a lot of NBA talent and a deep rotation that includes Josh Giddey, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills among other high level talent. Finland brings NBA All-Star Lauri Markkanen but is otherwise not greatly talented. Expect Germany to handle Japan and Finland and go at least go 2-1 in their group and make the next round, with possibly a 3-0 record if the manage to beat Australia.
The Germans have the talent to make it far in the tournament and coach Herbert has given out the goal to bring home a medal in the World Cup. A lot comes down to the knockout rounds and who the team will have to face at which point in the tournament, but overall the top 8 seem very realistic with potentially making it one step further into the semi-final, when that goal of a medal then becomes achievable. Germany hasn´t won a medal in the World Cup since 2002 in Indianapolis, when they brought home the bronze led by tournament MVP and newly appointed Hall of Famer and NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki.