Does “Luka Magic” also conjure up against Belgium or do Belgian Lions provide a touch of magic in Berlin? | European Basketball Championship

Does “Luka Magic” also conjure up against Belgium or do Belgian Lions provide a touch of magic in Berlin? | European Basketball Championship
Does “Luka Magic” also conjure up against Belgium or do Belgian Lions provide a touch of magic in Berlin? | European Basketball Championship

Belgium already crossed paths with the world champion with Spain earlier this tournament. Now the Belgian men will also meet the reigning European champion with Slovenia. The Slovenians surprised the basketball world 5 years ago by winning their very first European Championship gold.

Slovenia is one of the strongest basketball countries in the world, as evidenced by the FIBA ​​ranking, where it occupies 5th place. This makes it the 3rd European country in the pecking order after Spain (2nd) and France (4).

Even without its star players, Slovenia easily qualified for this tournament. In the preliminary rounds, the Slovenians easily took a European Championship ticket in a group with Ukraine, Hungary and Austria.

Slovenia is the defending champion and has already shown in the group stage that it is ready to take on that challenge. It turned into group winner in the so-called “group of death”, with victories against other medal contenders such as Lithuania, Germany and France. Only against Bosnia did the Slovenians surprisingly lose.

The skeleton of the team that won the European Championship in 2017 is still standing. There is another coach, but no less than 8 of the 12 players are back. old hand Goran DragicMVP at the European Championship 2017 and for years in the NBA, said goodbye after the European title, but is now back for his latest international trick.

The most important newcomer is the naturalized American Mike Tobey, who has played alongside Sam Van Rossom at Valencia in recent seasons. The 2.13m center, which will soon be working for Barcelona, ​​is a beast under the plates on both sides of the field.

The star of the team is of course guard Luka Doncic, still only 23, but a player for whom superlatives already fall short. Doncic was barely 18 when he led Slovenia to gold 5 years ago.

In the meantime, he has been playing in the NBA for 4 years, where he has developed further at Dallas into one of the best and most unstoppable basketball players in the world.

In 2017 Slovenia experienced another fairy tale at the European Championship. Five years later, Luka Doncic and co are eager to prove that the gold back then was no fluke. And that may well work, because the team just got stronger in that period, with Doncic as exponent.

The start of Doncic – nicknamed Luka Magic – this tournament was still quite modest, with 14, 20 and 16 points in his first 3 matches. Then the guard exploded completely. Against Germany he scored 36 points and against France was Doncic completely unleashed with an astonishing 47 points.

Doncic is an incredible scoring machine and also has the gift of making all the players around him play better too. That makes Slovenia a very strong team that very hard to stop is.

Earlier this tournament, the Belgian Lions rightly received a lot of praise for their victory against world champions Spain, but this Slovenia is currently of a different caliber than a Spain in transition. Winning against Doncic and co would be an even bigger stunt than against Spainone that goes around the world.

Belgium will have to count on a lesser day from Doncic and his lieutenants, while the Lions themselves will all have to reach their very best level. Even though it will be very difficult, the Belgians will come onto the field with a lot of self-confidence after their excellent 1st round. Against the European champion, Belgium has nothing to lose.

“And if you have to go out, preferably against the great Luka Doncic”, Sporza journalist Carl Berteele already looked ahead on Thursday. Will Belgium soon become acquainted with Luka Magic of is it the Belgian Lions who provide a touch of magic in Berlin?

belgian lions at EK basketball

1/8th finals
Slovenia Belgium sat 14:45

group stage

program group a
01/09 Belgium Georgia 79-76
03/09 Montenegro Belgium 76-70
04/09 Spain Belgium 73-83
06/09 Belgium Turkey 63-78
07/09 Bulgaria Belgium 80-89
standing in group a
m W V +/- ptn
1. Spain 5 4 1 +63 9
2. Turkey 5 3 2 +25 8
3. Montenegro 5 3 2 +3 8
4. Belgium 5 3 2 +1 8
5. Bulgaria 5 1 4 -48 6
6. Georgia 5 1 4 -44 6

The top 4 advance to the 1/8th finals. The European Championship is organized in Germany, Georgia, Italy and the Czech Republic. The Belgian Lions play their group matches in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

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