What friendly games Slovenia, Group B teams will play before EuroBasket?

2022-08-04 12:35
Credit: BasketNews.lt/D.Lukšta, FIBA
Credit BasketNews.lt/D.Lukšta, FIBA

Some groups in the EuroBasket 2022 are stronger, some are weaker, and then there is Group B.

When FIBA released the EuroBasket power ranking last week, three of the six Group B teams were in the Top 5 - Slovenia at #1, France at #2, and Lithuania at #5.

NBA megastar Luka Doncic, three-time NBA DPOY Rudy Gobert, two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, double-double machine Jonas Valanciunas, FIBA wunderkind Dennis Schroder, and EuroBasket MVP Goran Dragic are just a few names that European basketball fans will be able to watch in Cologne, Germany.

Germany, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Lithuania, and France will battle in Group B of the EuroBasket.

Day 1 already features juicy matchups as Slovenia meets Lithuania in a last year's Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers rematch, while France goes against Germany in a game where Dirk Nowitzki's no. 14 national team shirt will be retired.

Full of stories and intrigues, Group B is not going to let basketball fans down.

Germany

Germany comes in hot into the preparation period for the EuroBasket after winning both of their World Cup Qualifiers games against Estonia and Poland, where Dennis Schroder was the undisputed leader of the team.

Now, the electric guard receives help from the NBA, with three additional names arriving at the camp. The EuroBasket host city of Cologne will also welcome the German national team to its first training camp on August 6.

After a three-day preparation, the roster featuring four NBA and four EuroLeague players will travel to Belgium and the Netherlands to play its first two friendly matches ahead of the FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers.

No. Player Team
1 Robin Benzing Fortitudo Bologna
2 Niels Giffey Free Agent
3 Justus Hollatz CB Breogan
4 David Kramer Basketball Lowen Braunschweig
5 Leon Kratzer Telekom Baskets Bonn
6 Maodo Lo ALBA Berlin
7 Andreas Obst FC Bayern Munich
8 Kenneth Ogbe EWE Baskets Oldenburg
9 Dennis Schroder Free Agent
10 Christian Sengfelder Brose Bamberg
11 Daniel Theis Indiana Pacers
12 Johannes Thiemann ALBA Berlin
13 Johannes Voigtmann CSKA Moscow
14 Franz Wagner Orlando Magic
15 Moritz Wagner Orlando Magic
16 Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann Hamburg Towers

Following the three-day journey throughout Europe, the players are set to get a three-day rest. The players and the staff will then meet on August 16 to prepare for the annual SuperCup tournament hosted in Hamburg, Germany, which also features Italy, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.

Then, all that remains are the World Cup Qualifiers games against Sweden and fellow Group B member Slovenia. Germany is in a comfortable #1 spot in Group J of the Second Round with five wins and only one loss in the team's account.

If Germany wins both matches, they are almost guaranteed a spot in the 2023 World Cup as the three best teams from the group advance to the grand tournament.

Germany's schedule:

  • August 10, 20:30 CEST: Belgium vs. Germany (Friendly game in Hasselt, Belgium)
  • August 12, 19:00 CEST: Netherlands vs. Germany (Friendly game in Almere, Netherlands)
  • August 19, 20:30 CEST: Germany vs. Czech Republic (SuperCup tournament in Hamburg, Germany)
  • August 20, TBD: Germany vs. Italy/Serbia (SuperCup tournament in Hamburg, Germany)
  • August 25, 18:30 CEST: Sweden vs. Germany (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 28, 15:00 CEST: Germany vs. Slovenia (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)

Hungary

Most likely the biggest unknown of the group, Hungary does not feature big names, with Adam Hanga being the undisputedly best-known player on the roster.

The team's training camp has already started, with players arriving to prepare for the upcoming matches on August 1. The team will spend two weeks in the city of Kecskemet.

At the end of the first week of preparation, two friendly matches against Georgia are scheduled. However, there is one kick - the first match on August 5 will be able to be seen by any basketball fan around the world, while the second one on August 6 will be played behind closed doors and nobody besides the teams themselves and their staff will be able to watch the game.

Just before the first friendly match, the Hungarian Basketball Federation announced the extension of head coach Stojan Ivkovic's contract for three more years.

No. Player Team
1 Rosko Allen Niigata Albirex BB
2 Szilard Benke Falco Szombathely
3 Janos Eilingsfeld Atomeromu SE
4 Csaba Ferencz BC Kormend
5 Gyorgy Goloman Lietkabelis Panevezys
6 Adam Hanga Real Madrid
7 Kemal Karahodzic Duna Aszfalt-DTKH Kecskemet
8 Norbert Lukacs Alba Fehervar
9 Mikael Hopkins UnaHotels Reggio Emilia
10 Akos Keller Falco Szombathely
11 Zoltan Perl Falco Szombathely
12 Marcell Pongo Alba Fehervar
13 Adam Somogyi Falco Szombathely
14 Zsolt Szabo Alba Fehervar
15 Benedek Varadi Rytas Vilnius
16 David Vojvoda Alba Fehervar

Next week, Hungary will meet Slovakia in the third preparatory match in Kecskemet. Following the training camp in their home country, the Hungarian players will then travel to Rijeka in Croatia to finish the series of friendly matches against the national team of Croatia.

Two matches of the Second Round of World Cup Qualifiers await the team next as the squad will battle Lithuania and the Czech Republic at the end of August.

With a 3-3 record, both matches will be highly important for Hungary in hopes of going to the World Cup for the first time in the country's history.

The second game will be hosted in Chomutov, a small Czech city near the border with Germany. Hungary will not return home after the game and instead will travel straight to Cologne to play in the EuroBasket.

Hungary's schedule:

  • August 5, 18:00 CEST: Hungary 89:88 Georgia (Friendly game in Kecskemet, Hungary)
  • August 6, 16:00 CEST: Hungary 78:75 (80:81) Georgia (Friendly game in Kecskemet, Hungary)
  • August 12, 17:00 CEST: Hungary vs. Slovakia (Friendly game in Kecskemet, Hungary)
  • August 18, TBD: Croatia vs. Hungary (Friendly game in Rijeka, Croatia)
  • August 24, 18:00 CEST: Hungary vs. Lithuania (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 27, 18:15 CEST: Czech Republic vs. Hungary (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)

Slovenia

The number one-ranked team on the FIBA EuroBasket list, Slovenia brings big hopes to the tournament. Led by the Dallas Mavericks mega-talent Luka Doncic, the country has been near the top of world basketball in recent years.

Champions of Europe in 2017 and 4th finalists in the Tokyo Olympics last year, Slovenia began its training camp on June 25. Doncic and Goran Dragic will miss the first weeks of practice due to NBA rules prohibiting players from being with their national teams longer than 28 days.

Besides Doncic and Dragic, Vlatko Cancar and Mike Tobey were also missing from the roster for the first friendly match against the Netherlands. Two days later, Slovenia will battle against Montenegro in Celje to mark the end of the first preparatory period.

No. Player Team
1 Jaka Blazic Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
2 Sasa Ciani Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
3 Vlatko Cancar Denver Nuggets
4 Jakob Cebasek Stella Artois Leuven Bears
5 Ziga Dimec Anwil Wloclavek
6 Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks
7 Goran Dragic Chicago Bulls
8 Zoran Dragic Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
9 Gregor Glas Partizan NIS Belgrade
10 Gregor Hrovat Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez
11 Robert Jurkovic Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
12 Jurij Macura KK Krka
13 Edo Muric Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
14 Aleksej Nikolic Hereda San Pablo Burgos
15 Bine Prepelic Helios Suns
16 Klemen Prepelic Valencia Basket
17 Luka Rupnik Semt77 Yalovaspor
18 Ziga Samar Urbas Fuenlabrada
19 Luka Scuka Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
20 Mike Tobey FC Barcelona

The team will then travel to Istanbul to play in a friendly tournament. Two games in two days against Turkey and Ukraine are set to prepare the roster for the showdown with Serbia on August 17 in the capital of Ljubljana.

As well as Hungary, Slovenia will end the cycle of friendly matches with a clash against Croatia.

Sitting in the same Group J of the Second Round of World Cup Qualifiers, Slovenia has a slightly worse record of four wins and two losses. Two beatable teams in Estonia and Germany come in as a test before the EuroBasket for the Luka-led squad.

With two wins in the pocket, Slovenia would solidify the top-three place in the group, which guarantees a ticket to the World Cup.

Slovenia's schedule:

  • August 4, 20:15 CEST: Slovenia 83:76 Netherlands (Friendly game in Celje, Slovenia)
  • August 6, 20:15 CEST: Slovenia 70:52 Montenegro (Friendly game in Celje, Slovenia)
  • August 12, 19:30 CEST: Turkey vs. Slovenia (Friendly tournament in Istanbul, Turkey)
  • August 13, 19:00 CEST: Slovenia vs. Ukraine (Friendly tournament in Istanbul, Turkey)
  • August 17, 20:15 CEST: Slovenia vs. Serbia (Friendly game in Ljubljana, Slovenia)
  • August 20, 20:15 CEST: Slovenia vs. Croatia (Friendly game in Celje, Slovenia)
  • August 25, 20:30 CEST: Slovenia vs. Estonia (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 28, 15:00 CEST: Germany vs. Slovenia (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)

Lithuania

Probably the busiest of all teams in the group. Although Lithuania started the training camp on the same day as Slovenia, the match schedule of the Baltic country is the densest.

The Lithuanians will play seven friendly games in preparation for the FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers and the EuroBasket 2022. Welcoming the two biggest stars in Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania will hope to solidify its place as a powerhouse in European basketball.

The Lithuanian towers will join the team on August 5th-6th as NBA players can only hold individual workouts until the dreaded 28-day limit is reached.

No. Player Team
1 Arnas Butkevicius Zalgiris Kaunas
2 Domantas Sabonis Sacramento Kings
3 Donatas Tarolis Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
4 Eigirdas Zukauskas BC Wolves
5 Gytis Masiulis Rytas Vilnius
6 Ignas Brazdeikis Zalgiris Kaunas
7 Jonas Valanciunas New Orleans Pelicans
8 Kristupas Zemaitis BC Wolves
9 Laurynas Birutis Zalgiris Kaunas
10 Lukas Lekavicius Zalgiris Kaunas
11 Marius Grigonis Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
12 Martynas Echodas Rytas Vilnius
13 Mindaugas Kuzminskas Free Agent
14 Rokas Giedraitis Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
15 Rokas Jokubaitis FC Barcelona
16 Tomas Dimsa Zalgiris Kaunas

With only one exception, the Lithuanian national team will play matches in pairs - two in a row against Estonia, two in a row against Finland, and two in a row against Spain.

Only the last game against the Netherlands will not feature a second match afterward. Interestingly enough, only one of the matches will not be played in Lithuania.

Regarding World Cup Qualifiers, Lithuania is one of only three teams to have a 5-1 record after the First Round.

The two games against Hungary and Montenegro should not prove difficult for the stacked Lithuanian roster. Going into EuroBasket, it is more likely than not that the Baltic national team will go into Day 1 with its head held high.

Lithuania's schedule:

  • August 4, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania 84:70 Estonia (Friendly game in Klaipeda, Lithuania)
  • August 7, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania 90:88 Estonia (Friendly game in Alytus, Lithuania)
  • August 10, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania vs. Finland (Friendly game in Kaunas, Lithuania)
  • August 11, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania vs. Finland (Friendly game in Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • August 16, 19:30 CEST: Spain vs. Lithuania (Friendly game in Gran Canaria, Spain)
  • August 18, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania vs. Spain (Friendly game in Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • August 19, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania vs. Netherlands (Friendly game in Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • August 24, 18:00 CEST: Hungary vs. Lithuania (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 27, 18:30 CEST: Lithuania vs. Montenegro (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Although the training camp started on July 28, Bosnia and Herzegovina has much bigger questions to answer than just plays and the structure of preparing players physically for the upcoming fights.

Due to a serious lack of funding, the country's national team is on the verge of not even going to EuroBasket 2022 at all. In a time of desperation, the Bosnian Basketball Federation even set up a GoFundMe page (which can be accessed here) to help finance the participation of both men's and women's basketball teams in international tournaments this year.

Despite the troubles, the two biggest stars of the team have arrived - Real Madrid's young star Dzanan Musa, who drained a game-winning shot to send the country to the Second Round of World Cup Qualifiers, and Bosnia's biggest star - Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. Even the naturalized player John Roberson is not backing away from the squad.

No. Player Team
1 Miralem Halilovic Nanterre 92
2 Edin Atic Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
3 John Roberson Manisa Buyuksehir Belediyespor
4 Dzanan Musa Real Madrid
5 Jusuf Nurkic Portland Trail Blazers
6 Emir Sulejmanovic Lenovo Tenerife
7 Luka Garza Free Agent
8 Amar Alibegovic Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
9 Amar Gegic KK Cibona
10 Kenan Kamenjas Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
11 Sani Campara KK Split
12 Ismet Sejfic Golden Eagle Ylli
13 Rijad Avdic WWU Baskets Munster
14 Adin Vrabac Belfius Mons-Hainaut
15 Ajdin Penava Belfius Mons-Hainaut
16 Jure Zubac Inter Bratislava
17 Halis Delalic KK Igokea
18 Aleksandar Lazic Mornar Barsko zlato

Only after Nurkic arrived at the camp, the team officially announced that it will travel to Estonia to play two friendly matches. No more friendly games have been announced since.

With a 3-3 record, Bosnia and Herzegovina will look to solidify its place in Group K of the Second Round of World Cup Qualifiers. With three teams sharing the same record and Montenegro being only a win ahead, the two matches against them and France will prove highly important for the struggling team.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's schedule:

  • August 13, 17:00 CEST: Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Kullam 100 tournament in Tartu, Estonia)
  • August 14, 16:00 CEST: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Estonia (Kullam 100 tournament in Tartu, Estonia)
  • August 24, 19:00 CEST: Montenegro vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 27, 20:00 CEST: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. France (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)

France

The national team, which has the most depth on the roster by a country mile, France, comes into the tournament after placing second only to the USA in the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Initially, there were 17 players on the list of candidates, but Victor Wembanyama was excluded from the roster after undergoing medical tests with the national team's doctors as it was determined that the injury sustained while playing for LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne had not healed yet.

After first gathering in Paris for testing on July 29, the French roster began its training camp on July 31 in Nanterre. Only a week of practice is scheduled for the team as the first friendly match will take place on August 7.

No. Player Team
1 Andrew Albicy Gran Canaria CB
2 Isaia Cordinier Virtus Segafredo Bologna
3 Moustapha Fall Olympiacos Piraeus
4 Evan Fournier New York Knicks
5 Rudy Gobert Minnesota Timberwolves
6 Thomas Heurtel Free Agent
7 William Howard LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
8 Mouhammadou Jaiteh Virtus Segafredo Bologna
9 Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot Atlanta Hawks
10 Theo Maledon Oklahoma City Thunder
11 Amath M'Baye Anadolu Efes Istanbul
12 Frank Ntilikina Dallas Mavericks
13 Elie Okobo AS Monaco
14 Vincent Poirier Real Madrid
15 Terry Tarpey Le Mans Sarthe Basket
16 Guerschon Yabusele Real Madrid

France will then exchange a pair of matches with Italy, one of them being held in Bologna and the other in Montpellier. A friendly game against neighboring Belgium will end the preparatory period for the European basketball powerhouse.

Together with Lithuania, France holds a 5-1 record in Group K of the Second Round of FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers. Similarly, two beatable opponents come in for a challenge at the end of August in hopes of spoiling the party for the French.

France will travel the very next day to Cologne straight to EuroBasket, where a match against Germany highlighted by Dirk Nowitzki's jersey retirement ceremony awaits just two days after the arrival.

France's schedule:

  • August 7, 17:00 CEST: France 89:65 Netherlands (Friendly game in Rouen, France)
  • August 12, 20:30 CEST: Italy vs. France (Friendly game in Bologna, Italy)
  • August 16, 20:30 CEST: France vs. Italy (Friendly game in Montpellier, France)
  • August 18, 20:30 CEST: France vs. Belgium (Friendly game in Montpellier, France)
  • August 24, 20:30 CEST: France vs. Czech Republic (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)
  • August 27, 20:00 CEST: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. France (FIBA 2023 World Cup Qualifiers)


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