After the drama with a happy ending, many tears of joy flowed in Ljubljana. The German basketball players first danced exuberantly across the floor, then the party in the dressing room took its course. “I have no words, only emotions,” said match winner Leonie Fiebich on Saturday after the 71:69 after extra time against the Czech Republic in the placement round of the European Championship. The narrow victory secured the players a ticket for one of the qualifying tournaments for the Olympic Games in Paris next year.

Because Olympic host France is automatically qualified for the summer games as a European Championship semi-finalist, sixth place at the European Championship is enough to take part in a qualifying tournament in February 2024. Germany secured this by beating the Czech Republic and the game for fifth place against Serbia on Sunday (2:15 p.m. / Magentasport) is now meaningless.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team. We won this game as a team,” said Fiebich, who had a decisive influence on the win. When Germany looked certain to lose, the Spain Legionnaire equalized with 0.4 seconds left. And in the final seconds of extra time, Fiebich kept her nerves when she scored the crucial two points from the free-throw line.

“I have never been part of such a roller coaster ride. I’ve already got a few new gray hairs,” said national coach Lisa Thomaidis, who has only been in office for about a month and previously looked after an absolutely top team with Canada. Germany, on the other hand, traveled to Slovenia as a clear outsider. For the German basketball players it was the first participation in the European Championship in twelve years. Participation in the Olympic qualification exceeds all expectations. “I’m completely enthusiastic about this team,” said association president Ingo Weiss.