If I were a betting man I’d be very rich at this moment, early September last year as I watched the then “new” medi bayreuth team go through their drills, movements, and game plans during their first training session together I made the assessment that this group of players assembled would make a statement in the league. They would be a force to be reckoned with, one that teams had to seriously game plan for and hold certain players accountable for not being able to stop them. Now as the team prepares to go into the playoffs my assessment was, as we say in the military, “SPOT-ON”.
There’s a new kind of vibe in Bayreuth basketball world these days, no more “Will-we-stay-in-the-first-Bundesliga” mentality or “Which-player-will-stay” conversations. The talk is playoffs and how far the team will advance, thanks in part to the first year head coach Raoul Korner whom the team acquired from Braunschweig. If the fans are saying that it’s “a breath of fresh air” that he arrived in the city that’s telling you something. Bayreuth fans had a strong love affair for former head coach Michael Koch who, not only was a former player for Bayreuth, but was known around the league for his vast basketball knowledge and for turning slumping teams around. He was looked at as a savior in some sorts to bring the team a championship, however things didn’t work out with him and the organization and they came to the agreement to part ways after the 2015-2016. There was sadness with a lot of the fans, who was going to lead medi in the upcoming future? What was the state of the team? What was going to happen?
In May of last year medi bayreuth announced that they brought on Raoul Korner as the new head coach, a lot of fans knew that he was a very good coach but would he be a good fit with Bayreuth? From that first training session, I saw a coach who had the players operating like a well-oiled machine, there wasn’t any players that had the “superstar” mentality but a whole bunch of team players that worked together and blended together like a strong unit. From my time in the military I’ve learned and have seen that good leadership starts from the top with leading by example and respecting your subordinates, during my brief talks with Coach Korner and some of the players before the games I got that exact same vibe. With the state of affairs now in Bayreuth the fan base is gravitating in the same direction.
At the time of writing this article medi bayreuth played their first playoff game in 21 years losing the first game to Oldenburg 85-83, even in the loss the team played with a fight and put fear into their opponent. It was, by far the LARGEST crowd I’ve seen in the Oberfrankenhalle and the LOUDEST that I’ve ever heard. There’s no doubting this first-year coach or all his abilities to have this team ready and the fans have come to love this coach just as much as the former. There’s playoff fever in the air and everyone has caught on to it, I don’t think that it’s going to leave any time soon. If it does decide to leave how does Bayreuth intend of keeping it?
………..how about keeping Raoul Korner for a while???????