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17 Dennis Schroder (GER)
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Schroder looking to affirm German medal aspirations in rematch opener with France

BRAUNSCHWEIG (Germany) - Dennis Schroder insists that Germany cannot afford to start the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 flat since their Group G opener will be a huge clash against an extra-motivated France.

Less than 12 weeks from the tip-off of China 2019, Schroder is just starting to get back into workouts after taking three weeks off from his sixth season in the NBA. And the 25-year-old point guard believes Germany have good chances of excelling in their group in Shenzhen.

"A good group. I think we can really accomplish a lot with the group," Schroder told a German Basketball Federation press conference when asked of the draw with France, Dominican Republic and Jordan. "The first game against France will be the top game in the group and we really have to go out there and win that game."

The Oklahoma City Thunder playmaker knows that the September 1 European clash will not be easy. Not only have France collected podium finishes in four major tournaments since 2011 – winning FIBA EuroBasket 2013, finishing second at EuroBasket 2011 and taking third at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and EuroBasket 2015 – but they will also have extra incentive against Germany after Schroder collected 21 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in an 84-81 Round of 16 victory over Les Bleus at EuroBasket 2017.

"We beat France in Turkey, they will be motivated for the game. We have to do it again," said Schroder, who helped Germany reach the EuroBasket top eight for the first time since 2007.

Germany are back at the FIBA World Cup after missing Spain 2014 and they had back-to-back Quarter-Finals showings in 2002 and 2006, even taking third place in Indianapolis 17 years ago. In order to have a chance to repeat that, Germany will have to first grab one of the top two spots in Group G and then finish in the top two of Group L, which would also include two of Australia, Canada, Lithuania or Senegal. Schroder said Germany will refrain from thinking too far ahead.


"You have to think one game at a time. France will be a challenge. We must play a good game to win it. So, game by game. Then if it's Lithuania or Australia that come, we will do it then," Schroder said.

Schroder, for his part, is not shy about his intentions with Germany.

"I cannot promise anything, like I always say, but my personal goal is to win a medal in the coming years," he said.

Schroder, who averaged 23.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in four games in the European Qualifiers, is excited about Germany's chances long-term, especially since he was one of seven Germans in the NBA or the NBA G-League this past season, including the now-retired Dirk Nowitzki.

"We have so much potential. We have never had so many NBA players. There was a lot of potential with Dirk Nowitzki and those great players. But right now with the young players we have, it's exciting for sure. I am looking forward to the future," Schroder said.

Fans watching the games in China might see something added to Schroder’s game as he told the media he would like to work on his three-point shot.

Already lightning quick on his drive to the basket, Dennis Schroder wants to improve his outside shooting

"Since everybody is shooting threes like crazy, of course I need to work on that a lot this summer. That will be the main thing this summer. Really only just threes … and getting stronger in my legs. Those are the points I want to work on," said Schroder, who averaged 34 percent on 364 three-pointers taken in the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season and 20 percent on 25 three-pointers during the European Qualifiers.

That would help Germany that much more in their quest in China, starting straight away against France.