Dennis Schroder, the Star of the Show, Etched His Name into the Annals of Basketball History
He led Germany to their maiden world title at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. In a closely contested final, Germany prevailed over Serbia with a final score of 83-77, captivating the hearts of 12,022 fervent fans gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
This triumph marks a historic moment for Germany, who previously stood on the podium with a bronze medal in Indianapolis in 2002. On the other hand, Serbia, despite their valiant efforts, had to settle for second place for the second time in the last three World Cups, having previously lost to the United States in the 2014 Final.
The turning point in this nail-biting encounter came in the second half when Coach Svetislav Pesic had to recalibrate his lineup due to the injury to key defender Ognjen Dobric, who rolled his ankle and couldn’t return to the game. Germany capitalized on this opportunity, finding their rhythm offensively and trusting Johannes Voigtmann to defend Nikola Milutinov one-on-one. This defensive strategy paid dividends, causing Serbia’s offense to stagnate, and Germany surged ahead with a 64-53 lead with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter.
Serbia, however, refused to surrender easily. Aleksa Avramovic spearheaded a spirited comeback, narrowing the deficit to 71-64 with 7:22 left on the clock. When he drained a crucial corner three-pointer, cutting the margin to 73-69, the arena reverberated with thunderous cheers from the passionate crowd.
Germany appeared poised to regain control, with Voigtmann responding with a clutch three-pointer from the opposite corner. Nevertheless, Avramovic kept Serbia’s hopes alive by scoring six consecutive points, bringing the game to a razor-thin margin of 78-75 with just 1:21 left.
In a pivotal moment, Marko Guduric had the opportunity to level the score from the right corner after a steal by Bogdan Bogdanovic but narrowly missed the shot. Germany seized the chance to extend their lead once more.
With Guduric’s subsequent basket closing the gap to 79-77, Coach Gordie Herbert entrusted the ball to his superstar, Dennis Schroder. Schroder, with nerves of steel, delivered a clutch layup, extending Germany’s lead to 81-77 with only 21.4 seconds remaining.
Following this pivotal play, Serbia struggled to mount a comeback, committing a crucial turnover, and Schroder sealed the deal by converting free throws to set the final score.
In recognition of his stellar performance, Dennis Schroder was awarded the TCL Player of the Game, solidifying his status as the hero of the championship game. He finished the night with an impressive 28 points, including the game-winning shots.
Bogdan Bogdanovic also exhibited stellar play, contributing 17 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. However, the TCL Player of the Game award for the Final was bestowed upon Franz Wagner, who displayed unwavering consistency throughout the contest, amassing 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
On Serbia’s side, Aleksa Avramovic’s remarkable contribution cannot be understated, as he notched 21 points, with 16 of them coming in the final quarter.
Examining the statistics, it becomes evident that Germany’s success hinged on their tenacious defense, as they forced 12 turnovers, with nine of those resulting from steals, effectively outplaying Serbia at their own game. This translated to a 19-12 advantage in points from turnovers, a pivotal factor in their victory.
In summary, the final was a game for the ages, featuring high-level basketball characterized by tactical brilliance and aesthetic finesse, earning admiration and applause from the Filipino crowd throughout the game.
Germany’s triumph in 2023 adds another chapter to the nation’s storied basketball history, building upon past successes that inspired generations. Dennis Schroder’s leadership, the energy of the Wagner Brothers, and Andi Obst’s emergence are sure to become legendary tales for future basketball enthusiasts in Germany.
Remarkably, this victory follows Germany’s bronze medal win at FIBA EuroBasket 2022, marking the first time in the country’s basketball history that they have secured medals in consecutive years at major events.
For Serbia, their exceptional performance in the tournament underscored their status as a basketball powerhouse, with this remarkable run reminding everyone why they reached back-to-back Finals in 2014 and 2016. Marko Guduric’s admission of the gold medal-winning run in 2002 as the inspiration for his love of basketball encapsulates the team’s role as role models for the next generation of this passionate basketball nation