The German Cup-Winner RSV Lahn-Dill took a first step to win also the German Championship by beating the archrival at Zwickau by 70:63 (16:14/29:31/48:43). This win brought the 1:0 lead in the final best-of-three play-off-series. It was the first home loss for Zwickau this season.
The team from Wetzlar can now use the first match point next saturday at the August-Bebel-Arena to defend the title from 2010.
Due to shoulder-problems RSV captain Joey Johnson couldn´t participate in practice well during the week but was able to play at Zwickau. Headcoach Nicolai Zeltinger had to go into the game without the still injured Marco Zwerger and for Zwickau it was Raimund Beginskis who was not able to participate due to a virus infection.
From the beginning on the lead changed from side to side: 10:14 (9.), 19:18 (13.) and 26:23 (17.) but close to halftime the hometeam from Zwickau was able to gain a 31:27-lead just before RSV-veteran Dirk Köhler cut the lead to 29:31 just with the buzzer before the break. Headcoach Nicolai Zeltinger was not very satisfied with the first twenty minutes, what he told his team clearly during the break.
It was again the third quarter that brought a 10:2-run for the team of captain Joey Johnson and the first clearer lead of 39:33 (25.) that was equalized by Zwickau two minutes later.
Although the defending champion kept the lead from a 52:43 (31.) to a 61:53 (36.) and controlled the game, little inconsequences in defense gave Zwickau still hope for a change during the last two minutes.
„We can´t allow ourselves these kind of mistakes in such a game. But the great performance of our deeper bench was the deciding factor in the end" Zeltinger reviewed the game and mentioned this way the special performances of Kai Gerlach and Gesche Schünemann.
Next Saturday, April 16th RSV Lahn-Dill has the chance to win the championship at Wetzlar. If Zwickau can win the second game, the third and deciding duell will also be played at Wetzlar on Sunday, April 17th.
Zwickau: Piotr Luszynski (19/1), Krzysztof Bandura (16), Rostislav Pohlmann (9/1), Bryce Doody (6), Günther Mayer (6), Marcin Balcerowski (5), Frank Oehme (2), Diana Dadzite (dnp), Kai Möller (dnp).
Lahn-Dill: Steve Serio (19), Joey Johnson (17), Michael Paye (10), Dirk Köhler (9), Kai Gerlach (7), Gesche Schünemann (6), Thomas Böhme (2), Mina Mojtahedi, Thomas Gundert (dnp), Felix Schell (dnp).