It may not have the exact same excitement factor as a meet and greet with Justin Bieber for an overzealous 12 year old girl, an American player returning back home after an arduous nine month season in Europe and returning to his favorite eating spot ready to chow down on his favorite food or an anti FC Bayern Munich football fan enjoying the rapid downfall of the football team in the last 13 minutes in the Champions league semi-final against FC Barcelona, but for most Fraport Skyliner fans returning back to the Beko BBL playoffs after a 4 year absence is surely a very happy and satisfying moment again even if they have to meet up against Germany´s most famous team FC Bayern Munich in a best of five series. There are only two key figures remaining on the Frankfurt team from the bitter five game semi-final loss to Alba Berlin in 2011 with the minister of defense Quantez Robertson and head coach Gordon Herbert. If you look at the current Fraport Skyliner roster and go back to the 2010-2011 seasons the German twin towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann were playing in the second Bundesliga for with USC Heidelberg and Science City Jena, the two rookies Justin Cobbbs and Sean Armand were rookies at Minnesota and Iona and role players Jacob Burtsch was just finishing his rookie season with the Phoenix Hagen, Canadian Aaron Doornekamp rookie season in Italy and put back and dunk specialist Mike Morrison was finishing up at George Mason(NCAA). After an unsatisfying finish to the Eurochallenge season where the Fraport Skyliners finished fourth at the final 4 in Turkey, they had their last challenge of the season with the playoffs and had an annoying opponent with FC Bayern Munich and were hoping to steal game one in Munich, but came up a bit short after staying with the FC Bayern Munich powerhouse for 30 minutes, but running out of gas in the fourth quarter as they were unable to match the consistency of their opponent losing game one in Munich 83-72.
The Fraport Skyliners had a solid start getting to the free throw line in their first two possessions while stopping FC Bayern Munich, but Danilo Barthel was only able to sink two of four free throws for 2-0 lead. FC Bayern Munich then executed on their third play as ex Alba Berlin forward Jan Jagla made a tip in off a Taylor miss as this was one of the biggest strengths of the evening for the team crashing the offensive boards with success. The Fraport Skyliners continued to execute with success on offensive going on a 6-0 run to lead 8-2 as Barthel again was only able to muster one free throw, Canadian Aaron Doornekamp nailed a three pointer and he then found 2 time Beko BBL slam dunk finalist Quantez Robertson cutting to the hoop for the two handed dunk. FC Bayern Munich stopped the run with a quick 4-0 run as Serb Vasilije Micic connected on a nifty finger tip roll and Jagla hit a 15 footer as Frankfurt still led 8-6. The Fraport Skyliners continued to hold on to the lead going on a 11-5 run to extend their lead to 19-11. Frankfurt showed their versatility playing sound inside out basketball as Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi who played his first playoff game scored inside waiting for Taylor to fall on his back, but connecting with the lay in and free throw and later making a three pointer, while Johannes Voigtmann made a lay in and Doornekamp hit his second trey. FC Bayern Munich received support from California native John Bryant with a lay in and ex TV Langen forward Robin Benzing hit a three pointer. However Frankfurt was unable to hold the momentum and allowed FC Bayern Munich to close out the first quarter with an annoying 7-0 run to trail 19-18 after 10 minutes. In the Munich run it was Vladimir Stimac that connected on free throws, Serb Dusko Savanovic rolled in a three pointer and Bosnian Djedovic showed his quick hands forcing a turnover on Doornekamp and going coast to coast for the lay in. After ten minutes the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 60% from the two point range and 38% from outside while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 50% from the two point range and 40% from outside. FC Bayern Munich had the 9-8 rebound edge and had one turnover while Frankfurt had three turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners got off to a quick begin getting buckets inside with a tip in form Florida native Mike Morrison and Robertson who flew by Djedovic like a corvette would past a Volkswagen as Frankfurt led 23-20. However FC Bayern Munich then went on a hard 10-0 run to take their first lead in the contest and lead 30-23. Fc Bayern Munich took advantage of the Frankfurt sloppy play as their worst memory was not being able to take care of the ball as the Munich aggressiveness took a toll on the concentration of Frankfurt. In the run, FC Bayern Munich got ample production from their inside players like Stimac who finished inside, Bryant made a tip in and Savanovic nailed a three pointer and Djedovic buried free throws. Frankfurt halted this run and got timely support from Brooklyn native Sean Armand with a three pointer and step back jumper as he once again displayed scoring in bunches ability as Frankfurt narrowed the gap to Munich trailing only 30-28. However as would be the case so often in the fourth quarter later on, FC Bayern Munich always had an answer available as soon as Frankfurt was getting close as Djedovic dropped a huge three pointer to extend Munich lead to 33-28. Doornekamp and Bryant then traded buckets as the game remained close. Voigtmann then made free throws to narrow the FC Bayern Munich lead to 35-32. However soon after Frankfurt was hit with a hard blow as Voigtmann stepped on a Munich player´s foot and seemed to hurt his ankle and he would never return which really hurt Frankfurt´s efforts on the boards in the second half. Benzing then followed with a tip and Morrison was fed an ally op pass from Armand as Frankfurt still trailed 37-34. Taylor then hit free throws and Morrison put home a Cobbs lob pass and made the free throw as FC Bayern Munich had the narrow 39-37 lead at halftime. After 20 minutes FC Bayern Munich was shooting 45% from the two point line and 48% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the two point line and 31% from the three point line. Both teams had 18 rebounds a piece and Frankfurt had nine turnovers and FC Bayern Munich had five turnovers.
In the third quarter, there were seven lead changes and continued to be a dog fight going back and forth as FC Bayern Munich had the 54-53 advantage after 30 minutes. FC Bayern Munich got on the scoreboard first as Jan Jagla made an offensive rebound and put back as they continued to attack the Frankfurt weak point. However the Fraport Skyliners struck back with a lightening 4-0 run to deadlock the game at 41-41 as Justin Cobbs stole the ball from big man Bryant who tried like a guard, but failed as the Los Angeles native went coast to coast for the lay up and Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel made a lay in. Bryant then made an offensive rebound and put back as that big man presence of Voigtmann was lacking as FC Bayern Munich continued to rule the offensive boards as the ill Gordon Herbert who didn´t make the trip probably was having unending headaches watching the game on TV. Cobbs and Djedovic then traded three pointers as FC Bayern Munich got the lead back 46-44. Both teams continued to score as neither could get stops. Robertson made a steal and found Cobbs on transition for the lay up. German national player Heiko Schaffartzik and Robertson traded three pointers as the game was tied 49-49. There would be four more lead changes in the last two minutes as Robertson made a steal and found Armand for the lay in, Schaffartzik then made a crazy shot seemingly from the Marien platz in Munich center, Armand hit a jumper and little used ex Buffalo(NCAA) center Yassin Idbihi made the last bucket of the third quarter making another FC Bayern Munich offensive rebound put back which was a frequent occurrence on the day as FC Bayern Munich led 54-53 after thirty minutes. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 45% from the two point range and 32% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 58% from the two point range and 29% from the parking lot. FC Bayern Munich had the 32-25 rebound edge and nine turnovers while Frankfurt had 11 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter FC Bayern Munich got off to a quick start from which the Fraport Skyliners could never recover from and FC Bayern Munich led by as much as 11 points and just executed very consistently while Frankfurt didn´t and could get key stops on defense securing game for them. FC Bayern Munich started the fourth quarter and went on a 8-0 run to extend their lead to 62-53 as California native Bryce Taylor nailed a jumper and Schaffartzik dropped consecutive three pointers this time over Cobbs. Frankfurt needed a good start and didn´t get it mainly for their one on one play and static offense while FC Bayern Munich was making good choices in their offensive sets and playing aggressive one on one defense. Frankfurt reacted well making a 6-0 run to cut the FC Bayern Munich lead to 62-59 as Doornekamp made a jumper, Cobbs a lay in on transition and Robertson a lay in also on transition. However just when one thought Frankfurt might make a crucial turn now, it was FC Bayern Munich that used their individual qualities and made big shots going on a 6-0 run piercing an unwanted dagger into their comeback attempt of Frankfurt to up their lead to 68-59. In the run, it was back to back three pointers that did the damage as a wide open Bryant connected and Djedovic made a no look pass on the penetration finding Taylor for the shot from the corner. FC Bayern Munich now used their home court advantage and just found ways to get to the free throw line which totally thrashed the Frankfurt comeback. FC Bayern Munich closed out the game strong while Frankfurt kept making key shots, but weren´t able to come closer at the end simply because they couldn´t make more stops on defense. A Cobbs basket and Burtschi three pointer cut the Munich lead to 75-68, but another Savaonvic three pointer decided the game as Frankfurt trailed 78-68. Barthel made two more buckets in the last minute, but Munich hit their free throws as Djedovic and ex Bamberg guard Anton Gavel ultimately sealed the win. FC Bayern Munich was led by Nihad Djedovic with 17 points. Heiko Schaffartzik added 16 points and John Bryant 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Danilo Barthel with 12 points. Justin Cobbs added 11 points and seven assists and Aaron Doornekamp and Quantez Robertson chipped in with 10 points a piece. FC Bayern Munich shot 44% from the two point range and 42% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the two point range and 30% from outside. FC Bayern Munich won the rebound battle 42-31 and had 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers. Game two is Tuesday May 12th in Frankfurt.