Fiebich focused on having fun as Germany turn heads in Udine
UDINE (FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2016) - It’s still very early days and so whisper it quietly, but this Germany team at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship in Udine could just be the best it has ever fielded.
Or at least the best in recent memory.
Located at the heart of a successful start which has seen Germany go unbeaten and be crowned Group A winners is Leonie Fiebich. She played at last year’s edition of the event when Germany only just missed the cut for the Quarter-Finals.
Fast forward 12 months later and Germany are living up to their billing as dark horses. Only after a wonderful 53-40 overtime win against Spain, they exchanged their pre-tournament moniker for one of podium challengers.
Their performances have had everyone talking about their potential and while Fiebich is aware of the splash they have made, she is doing everything she can to soak up the experience and enjoy playing for a winning team. Also knowing that coming unstuck in the Round of 16 will mean a battle for survival rather than a medal.
"It has been a lot of fun so far, especially getting to play against such great teams and just having fun with our rock and roll team," she laughed.
"We have had a lot of congratulations after beating Spain and everyone is saying we are a now a ‘big’ team and that we will get a high place here in Udine; and it is a great job that we are doing.
"I don’t know how far we can go this year yet and we must just play game by game."
Some outstanding team spirit and a great atmosphere is contributing to Germany's success and the enjoyment of Fiebich
So what has changed since Matosinhos? Well, a small core of players have gained valuable experience which has clearly come in handy, while the debutantes have also shone brightly so far. It has been particularly impressive because Germany are flawless despite being without last year’s standout player Nyara Sabally.
"This team is special because of the individual attributes everyone brings," revealed Fiebich, who has averaged a terrific 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
"We've got big and small women on the team, while we can also play very fast. Our fitness is a very big thing and we have been preparing hard in this area.
"Most important is that off the court, it is always a very funny experience [with my team-mates] so it makes it all very enjoyable."
With Germany expected to continue shining, Fiebich is becoming hot property. However, she is eager not to scan the horizon too much - even if she could be high on the list of those looking to add burgeoning European talent to their respective rosters.
"Maybe I will play in college, the Bundesliga or a big league like France, Russia or Turkey, but I don’t really have any long term plans," she mused.
"Next year I will play in Munich [at TSV Jahn Munchen in DBBL 2 and the youth Bundesliga] and that is it. I am not thinking too much further ahead," she concluded.
That seems like a wise position to take for a player who is living in the moment and will be a big factor trying to safely navigate to the last eight of Division A for the first time by getting past Turkey in the Round of 16.