Germany's Schroder thrilled to finally play at home with Qualifiers clash in Braunschweig
BRAUNSCHWEIG (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers) - Dennis Schroder has not played in Braunschweig in five years and Germany's star playmaker is honored to play the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers in his hometown next month.
Germany open their third window with a showdown against neighbors Austria in Braunschweig's Volkswagen Halle on June 29, and Schroder cannot wait to play in front of his family and friends.
"THE FANS AND ALL MY FRIENDS IN GERMANY ARE EXCITED TO SEE ME PLAY AGAIN IN MY HOMETOWN. WE CAN'T WAIT" Schroder
"I'm really looking forward to being able to play again here in Braunschweig. I haven't played here in five years. It will be an honor for me," Schroder told a German Basketball Federation (DBB) press conference on Monday in Braunschweig, where the 24-year-old grew up and played at Basketball Löwen Braunschweig until he was drafted by the NBA's Atlanta Hawks in 2013.
"I'm playing," Schroder said to FIBA.basketball about the third window of the Qualifiers for China 2019. "I think it's big to play in front of the friends we had growing up. The fans and all my friends in Germany are excited to see me play again in my hometown. We can't wait."
Schroder explained that he and the people around him played a role in getting this game of the Qualifiers to be played in Braunschweig.
"Me and my managing team were asking the German federation if we can do it in my hometown," he said.
"I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING ABLE TO PLAY AGAIN HERE IN BRAUNSCHWEIG: I HAVEN'T PLAYED HERE IN FIVE YEARS. IT WILL BE AN HONOR FOR ME" Schroder
Germany's second game in the June-July window will be at Serbia on July 2.
"Serbia are top three in the world and of course you are excited about playing in Belgrade in front of their fans. It's great, and you look forward to it," Schroder said. "It will be a good game. Everybody will be there for them and the same for us. They have a lot of talent and can do a lot, so I am excited about it."
The 24-year-old added that Germany have nothing to fear about that game.
"We have to be really good to win this game. But I'm not counting us out because we have five NBA players playing at the top level, playing and getting minutes. We don't have to be afraid," he warned.
Germany are 4-0 in Group G after the first two windows while Serbia are 3-1 with Georgia 1-3 and Austria winless at 0-4.
Schroder definitely thinks Germany have the talent to achieve big things.
"As a team, we naturally want to reach the World Cup and then (the Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament 2020) as well. That should be the goal of every player from the national team and the organization (DBB). We have the team to win a medal if everybody plays and that should be the goal for all of us," he said.
Schroder did not want to want to say by when Germany would win a medal, but the podium is definitely his top goal.
"I can't promise anything. I know what my goal is and that's to win a medal. Why else should I be playing. That's what's it all about. I want to win with the team if I sacrifice my time during the summer. That should be the goal of every player; and if not, they shouldn't be playing. I can't give you a time frame - two-three years, five years, who knows? But with the team that we have, we have the level to achieve that."
First off though for Schroder is the thrill of playing in front of family and friends in Braunschweig.