Third Place Game preview: Will Germany or Poland finish strong with podium spot
BERLIN (Germany) - Losing a Semi-Finals game is never easy, but both FIBA EuroBasket 2022 hosts Germany and Poland know bouncing back and winning the Third Place Game would at least give the country a positive finish to the tournament.
Germany will be disappointed they couldn't close out the game against Spain, losing 96-91 after leading by seven points with under eight minutes to play. Gordie Herbert's team will need to refocus to lock up their third podium showing after the title in 1993 and second place in 2005.
Poland were unable to match their level of the Quarter-Finals surprise against Slovenia as they were dismissed by France 95-54 in the Semi-Finals. Poland already have their top performance since 1971 but would love to win their final game and secure their fifth podium finish. It would be their fourth third place after 1939, 1965 and 1967.
Germany won the last two matchups against Poland in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers, winning in the First Round 72-69 in Poland and then 93-83 in Germany. Those victories snapped a German losing streak dating back to 1987 as Poland won in the EuroBasket 1997 second group stage as well as twice in EuroBasket 2015 Qualifiers.
Key Matchup: Dennis Schroder and A.J. Slaughter will clearly be their teams' main leaders and it might just be a real shootout. The showdown between Schroder and Spain's Lorenzo Brown was otherworldly with the German playmaker going for 30 points and 8 assists and Brown picking up 29 points and 6 assists.
X-Factor: For Poland to have any chance, Mateusz Ponitka will need to play well. He will look to bounce back after collecting just 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting with 4 turnovers against France after a massive triple-double of 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in Poland's shocking win over Slovenia.
Stats Don't Lie: Germany are the top scoring team in the competition at 93.3 points per game with Poland playing slower ball at 78.1 points a contest. Germany also shoot 40 percent on three-pointers while Poland hit just 34 percent. The Germans also allow opponents to connect on just 32 percent from long range.
They Said: "Our goal was to win a medal and that is still possible on Sunday. Me as captain and the guys we want to win a medal. It would be history and we want to write history, and that is enough motivation." - Dennis Schroder, Germany
"This game (Semi-Finals loss) is quickly wiped out of our memory. It's over. We're still here and a lot of teams are at home. A lot of teams would love to be in our place right now playing for third place. We'll forget this one and go for the next one." - A.J. Slaughter, Poland