Bayern captain Barthel proved decisive in thriller

Feb 01, 2019 by Print
Bayern captain Barthel proved decisive in thriller

FC Bayern Munich's excellent season claimed another major scalp in thrilling circumstances on Thursday night as the German champion outlasted league-leading Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to claim a 90-86 home victory…but that simple statement doesn't even begin to tell the story of perhaps the best game so far in this Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.

For starters, it was the first game to go to double-overtime in more than a year, since AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan overcame Valencia Basket on the road in November 2017. On this occasion, the additional periods were required firstly when Kostas Sloukas tied the game at the end of regulation with just 4 seconds left and then after Joffrey Lauvergne was unable to win the game as he split free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining of the first overtime period.

Then there were the highlight-reel plays. In case you haven't already seen them (which you really should), Derrick Williams could nearly own the top 10 plays of the week all by himself: a spectacular 360-degree dunk, an amazing block, a colossal alley-oop, an enormous put-back slam, a brutal two-handed hammer…if you wanted thrills and spills, this was your game – and Williams, in particular, was your man.

Long-range shooting? Yes, this game provided three-point bombs as well, 22 of them in total and notably from Fenerbahce's Ali Muhammed, who made 5 of 9 triples, including one impossibly high-arcing buzzer beater from beyond the scorers' table that defied belief.

In the end, though, none of those proved decisive. Instead, the single biggest factor in determining the outcome was Bayern's captain, Danilo Barthel, who obviously concluded that double overtime was quite enough excitement, thank you very much, and made the last five minutes his own.

Barthel started the second additional period by netting the first basket to send Bayern ahead. Then, when Gigi Datome missed from long-range, he grabbed a defensive rebound. A minute later he scored from two-point range again, and then again, giving Bayern a 4-point lead with just over a minute remaining. His work was still not done: Barthel took another rebound and finally, with Fenerbahce desperate and Sloukas driving to the basket, who else was there to deny him but Barthel, who blocked the shot and grabbed the loose ball for good measure.

In five minutes, Barthel had scored 6 of his team's 10 points, claimed 3 rebounds and blocked a shot, playing a true captain's role to ensure that Bayern came away with a victory that means so much both in terms of morale and the standings. And in Munich, you can be sure that fans will remember it for years.