On Friday and Sunday, a double game day will bring the final decisions in the play-off-race. It will be the most thrilling weekend of the season so far, where the final three contenders for the championship will be determined.
Right now, leader Esch, the Musel Pikes and T71 are qualified for the play-offs which include only the best 6 teams. On the other end of the standings, Contern and Amicale are already out of the play-off-race.
This leaves us with the other 5 teams which will compete for the remaining 3 places in the top 6. It is clear that reaching the top 6 is the most comfortable way to stay in the league for one more season. Everybody knows that the “play-down“ is a very exhausting challenge and is basically equivalent to starting a new season with another 14 games (to be played against 7 opponents) where anything can happen.
Therefore Racing, Etzella, Heffingen, Arantia and Sparta will definitely try to avoid that round. The final decisions could possibly fall already on Friday-evening.
Let’s take a closer look at the Friday-games and to what can be expected …
20.45: Sparta – Amicale
–> Sparta needs a win to stay in the play-off-race. However, they cannot reach the play-offs on their own and rely on the “help” from other teams.
X-factor: Sparta’s new coach
It will be the first game for the new Sparta-coach Meurs. The question therefore is will he help the team win their second game in a row and keep their chances for a play-off run high?
First meeting: Amicale – Sparta 95:75
20.45: Esch – Etzella
–> Etzella would qualify for the play-offs with a win.
X-factor: New chemistry
It will be the first game for new professional player Ronnie Harrell Jr. The question is can he give Etzella a lift?
First meeting: Etzella – Esch 75:97
20.30: Racing – Heffingen
–> Heffingen would qualify as well for the play-offs with a win.
–> Racing needs a win against Heffingen to stay in the play-off-race. They lost the first game against USH by 17 points. If Racing loses against Heffingen, they need Arantia or Etzella to lose so that they keep their chances to move past one of these teams on Sunday. On Sunday, Racing will then directly face Arantia.
X-factor: Stopping Morton.
US-player Morton is the head of the Racing team, but he faces arguably the toughest defender in the league in Denell Stephens. In their first meeting, Morton scored a career-low of only 2 points.
First meeting: Heffingen – Racing 78:61
20.30: Arantia – Musel Pikes
–> Arantia would qualify for the play-off with a win.
The US players of both teams can score a bunch of points. The question is which supporting casts will be most effective in this game?
First meeting: Musel Pikes – Arantia 91:66
21.00: Contern – T71
–> T71 is qualified for the play-offs, while Contern is out of the race.
X-factor: Extra-points in the standings
Every point counts in order to stay in the league later in the season for Contern or in order to qualify for a higher spot before the start of the semi-finals for T71. A high scoring game is expected.
First meeting: T71 – Contern 93:75
No later than Sunday evening, we will know who will still compete for the championship.
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