Alba Berlin before the start of the final series: the loud and the quiet under the basket

When Johannes Thiemann was asked about his state of mind in the past few days, the basketball player from Alba Berlin always had a logical and a completely atypical answer ready: Thiemann’s “great anticipation” for the final series of the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), in the Alba Friday (8.30 p.m., Mercedes-Benz Arena) against FC Bayern Munich want to secure his third championship in a row? So far, so to be expected. But that Albas Forward also feels “very rested”? This is most unusual.

After almost 80 games in the current season, Alba’s team had a full six days without a game before the highlight of the season. Enough time to rest your tired legs and then prepare with renewed energy for the best-of-five final series, in which three victories are needed for the championship. The main reason for this luxury: Alba’s impressive consistency over the past few months. She recently led the Berliners to 16 wins in a row. A consistency that Johannes Thiemann and his colleague under the basket, Ben Lammers, symbolize – albeit each in their own way.

Thiemann praises Lammers’ excellent timing

First of all, there is the athletic consistency of the duo. In the case of Thiemann, a look at his statistics is enough to see them: With 13.6 points per game, he is Alba’s top scorer in the play-offs. In addition, he has gotten at least five rebounds per game (7.8 on average) and reliably shines with his effectiveness. Alba coach Israel Gonzalez has long been able to rely on Thiemann finding a way game after game to contribute to Berlin’s success with consistently high commitment. “With the double burden of the Euroleague, you get used to having to perform every evening,” says the 28-year-old, adding: “If the shot doesn’t fall, I just try to defend even better and get even more rebounds.”

Defense and rebounds – two keywords for Ben Lammers too: “Ben is unbelievable defensively,” says Thiemann about his colleague, who also has an impressively safe throw from the middle distance. Above all, Lammers’ excellent timing when blocking opponent’s throws inspires Thiemann: “He doesn’t look like he can block anyone at all. But suddenly he’s above ring level within a millisecond.” Just like last year’s final, when Lammers secured the Albas championship with two blocks just before the end.

If you ask the 26-year-old about this a year later, he answers with a restrained laugh: “Of course it’s fun to block shots in important moments.” The American says this sentence with a voice that sounds as calm as his face while Alba’s games looks. It is almost impossible to read emotions from Lammers’ always the same features. While Thiemann, for example, likes to celebrate loudly after successful actions, Lammers trots across the field seemingly unaffected even after his most spectacular blocks and dunks. “The quiet way is just my nature,” says the center. Calm consistency on the floor and off it.

Alba’s other actors occasionally not only make fun of the fact that “Ben feels like he only opens his mouth in an extreme emergency”, as Thiemann, who is always extremely communicative, says, but also about his leisure activities. The qualified engineer for mechanical engineering is not someone who deals with basketball all day. “I enjoy playing basketball,” says Lammers, “but it’s important to me to focus on something else.” For example, engineering or assembling different Lego sets. “I didn’t get anything else as a present last Christmas,” says Lammers with a laugh and reports on complex “Star Wars” constructions made up of a thousand parts.

Alba’s mixture of different types is correct

It is this mixture of different types that makes Alba’s team sporty and human. “It wouldn’t work if we only had people like JT or only characters like me on the team,” Lammers is sure. Johannes Thiemann adds with regard to basketball: “Our variability is a huge advantage.” The skill sets and strengths of the individual players make Alba difficult to calculate. “The opposing Big Man sinks a lot? All right, we’ll bring Ben and he’ll hit shot after shot. The center is physically a little weaker? Then I go to the post-up,” explains Thiemann.

The concept works. Just in time for the fourth championship final duel with FC Bayern in the past five years, Alba has found his best form. In view of three defeats against Munich in the current season with only one Alba win, they will also need it in the final – the top form and the impressive consistency.

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