Germany and Italy meet Sunday morning in the 2020 Olympics in a basketball meeting at the Saitama Super Arena. Germany is making its sixth Olympic appearance and first since 2008 when it finished 10th. Italy is making its first Olympic appearance since it won silver in the 2004 Games.
Germany is 10-24 in the Olympics all-time, as this country is more known for its EuroBasket success where it won gold in 1993 and silver in 2005. Germany has finished no better than seventh place in its previous Olympic Games. The good news is Germany has won seven straight matches when you throw in qualifying and friendly matches. Dennis Schroder is not participating for Germany this year, which leaves Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga as the lone NBA players for this country. Johannes Voigtmann was a two-time Allstar in BBL, Niels Giffey was a key role player on a UConn team that won two titles and Maodo Lô was a two-time All-Ivy selection at Columbia. Danilo Barthel and Robin Benzing bring the experience and the size to team Germany. Expectations can’t be high based on past efforts, but Germany has some quality players on its roster and could pull off an upset or two.
Italy hasn’t been a consistent participant in the Olympics, but it’s won silver in two of its last four trips. Italy is 54-37 all-time in the Olympics and recently finished 10th in the FIBA World Cup. Italy has three NBA representatives in Nicolo Mannion, Nicolo Melli and Danilo Gallinari. The rest of Team Italy includes LBA MVP of this year in Stefano Tonut, a consistent double-digit scorer in Achille Polonara and a two-time Italian League All-Star in Riccardo Moraschini. Italy is also led by coach Meo Sacchetti, who has accomplished everything imaginable and was indicated into the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame a few years ago. Italy has the ability to become a dark horse in what’s a solid and competitive Group B.
Germany has won five of the last eight meetings against Italy, including the most recent match in a friendly last month. Italy hasn’t beaten Germany since a 2018 friendly international.
This should be a fun game between two teams that don’t make the Olympics often and have the ability to be a sneaky contender in this group. This is a must win for either side. And while Italy is the better team with the better top end talent, it’s Germany that’s red hot with seven straight wins and already beat Italy about a month ago in a friendly. In that win, Germany scored 91 points on 52.5 percent shooting.
I’ll take a chance with Germany and the points.