Germany’s Coach Herbert reveals strategy behind FIBA World Cup success

Germany’s head coach, Gordon Herbert, shares insights into the strategies and efforts that led to Germany’s first-ever FIBA World Cup final appearance.

Germany’s head coach, Gordon Herbert, has attributed the national team’s historic advancement to their first-ever FIBA World Cup final to a dedicated effort to maintain continuity and build a strong foundation.

In a surprising turn of events, Germany secured their place in the FIBA World Cup final by defeating the United States 113-111 in the semifinals. This achievement marked a significant milestone for German basketball, especially considering their challenges following the retirement of NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki from the national team in 2016. During this period, Germany faced setbacks such as missing the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and finishing 18th in the World Cup three years later.

However, Germany’s resurgence began with their qualification for the last eight at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, followed by a bronze medal win in EuroBasket last year. Their upward trajectory continued in the ongoing 2023 World Cup, where they have already secured a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.


Coach Herbert shared insights into the strategies that underpinned their success, saying, “I took over Germany two years ago, and our first major competition was EuroBasket. When I joined, I had three goals for our players: EuroBasket, World Cup, and Olympics.”

Recognizing the importance of continuity in national teams, Herbert explained, “I believe that with national teams, it’s crucial to establish a foundation because the time players spend together in the summer is limited. We laid that foundation last summer, and I believe we are now reaping the benefits of our preparations.”

As a coach with global experience, Herbert welcomed the narrowing gap between the U.S. and European basketball, considering it a positive development for the sport worldwide. He noted, “European basketball has made significant strides over the past two decades. I can confidently say that the three best players in the NBA are Europeans. The gap is undeniably closing, which is a positive development for basketball. In this World Cup, I believed that 10 or 12 teams had the potential to reach the final four; that’s how competitive it has become.”

Regarding league competitions, Herbert expressed his opinion, stating, “After the NBA, the EuroLeague is the second-best league globally, offering highly competitive matches with strong fan support. The EuroCup and Champions League also rank among the top three leagues in Europe, showcasing excellent basketball quality.”

Germany is eagerly anticipating its next basketball superstar following Dirk Nowitzki’s era, and Herbert believes that Franz Wagner, currently playing for the Orlando Magic, possesses the potential to become the next German basketball sensation. Herbert said, “I consider Franz to be the future German star. He differs from Dirk in his position, as he primarily plays as a shooting guard or small forward. However, Franz has an incredibly bright future ahead. In my view, he is already one of the best players in FIBA basketball, and he is an outstanding young individual.”


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