Jolie performed in the second set at the beginning of the afternoon in Cologne between Lithuania and Germany. Two very opposite situations, Denis Schroeder’s teammates were unbeaten in the group stage, while Domantas Sabonis’ team lost the first two matches. it is clear that Pushing force largely in favor of the hosts, while Lithuania might play to stay in the competition…
At first, the meeting was disputed, with two fluid groups on attack and committed defences, which is somewhat fun. We quickly notice that the CEOs are taking time to get started: Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas collected 6 points for 2, while Dennis Schröder scored just one basket. So it is the “role players” who show themselves: Modu Lou (8 points) and Daniel Theis on one side, Marius Grigounis with 5 points and 2 rebounds on the other side.
After a quarter, the two teams are equal: 19-19.
Germany in control
But overall, you might feel more in control of the host side, and that translates quickly: Germany predicted the first half of the match (30-21) after a few minutes of playing in the second act. It will follow the big clip of Jonas Valanciunas, the strongman of this early period Lithuania, which is easily essential in the board and combines several clips on the free throw line. The New Orleans hub is clearly saving his group during this poor time.
In the break, Lithuanian players are generally led and controlled, but they are still in the game at only -5 (46-41).
The intensity and level of play increases when they come back from the locker room, and then they start crossing that will continue to the end. We feel the urgency with which Lithuania plays: it won in the third quarter with a score of 24-20, still counting on its stable strength Jonas Valanciunas and Marius Grigounis, thus recovering the result to -1 after half an hour of play (66-65). A wake-up call from Domantas Sabonis, top secret in the first half, helps the case well.
Germany were able to hold the score before attacking in the last quarter thanks to the relentless efforts of Maodo Lô, whose presence up front stabilized the Mannschaft match, but especially thanks to the awakening of Franz Wagner. Magic Wing earnestly gains strength and takes over the German offensive: 24 points after three quarters!
Jonas Valanciunas to the rescue
Then, we had to wait for “money time” to see clearly: Even a massive award-winning shot from Franz Wagner puts the Germans at +7 (87-80) with less than three minutes remaining, there are no more two possessions left. In one last attempt, Lithuania uses a simple strategy: all balls are on Jonas Valanciunas’ low post… and it works!
The hub tied a pass on the free throw line and then two small “hooks” near the circle to reach the 30 point bar, especially to equalize at 89-89 seven seconds from the end of the regulation time. At the back, Dennis Schroeder misses the Match Winner and the two squads continue to duel in overtime.
In the plural, because the first five extra minutes is not enough, at first, to choose between the two teams. Franz Wagner, on a “step back” behind the arc, has the opportunity to kill the meeting, but Pele fails on the left side of the circle (96-96).
Lithuania, one shot away from winning…
The second overtime reached an impressive level of play, taking the match into another dimension. We first think Germany came out of the woods comfortably when Maodo Lô sent in two winning shots in a row to move to +5 (109-104).
But Lithuania immediately responds, with “and one” of Martynas Echodas, to restore the monarchy (109-107). After a final defensive pause by Lithuania, it all turned into a confused final possession but ultimately led to a completely open shot from Arras Butkevicius in front of the German bench. The siren goes off when his shot is in the air, but the skin never touches the net…
Lithuania squandered a match point and lost for the third time in as many matches. On the other hand, for Germany, which continues its error-free performance and sits alone temporarily in first place in the second group, waiting for the result of the Slovenia match.