Franz Wagner, Germany shake off frustration for win over Bosnia-Herzegovina

Franz Wagner continues some inspiring play as Germany took down Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Franz Wagner continues some inspiring play as Germany took down Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /

In the first half of Germany’s second EuroBasket game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Franz Wagner was struggling to get going. Two fouls in the first quarter relegated him quickly to the bench. He and his team needed a boost, especially with Jusuf Nurkic eating up on the inside.

Wagner was able to find that for a brief moment.

He knifed his way through the lane for a lay-in for his second basket of the game. It was the classic kind of Wagner move. A quick cut to the basket, some deft footwork to avoid defenders and then a silky finish in traffic.

But what happened a few possessions later only added to the frustration.

Wagner slid over to help a teammate and ended up fouling Nurkic, picking up his third foul before halftime. He hit himself in the head lightly to note the frustration of having to go the bench once again with foul trouble.

All this while Germany was struggling to handle Nurkic on the inside and keep pace with the upstart Bosnia-Herzegovina side.

Everyone needed halftime to regather themselves and refocus.

Germany weathered the storm after trailing by five at the half. And they burst through to take the lead and control of the game behind their stars — Dennis Schroder and Franz Wagner.

Franz Wagner proved to be one of Germany’s stars, stepping up when his team needed it to deliver a big win over Bosnia-Herzegovina at EuroBasket.

Wagner scored 11 of his 18 points in the third quarter, hitting a step-back 3-pointer, getting in the paint to get to the foul line and being an excellent floor spacer, before picking up his fourth foul late in the period. That was all Germany would need to retake the lead.

From there it was about hanging on as Germany took a 92-82 victory in their second game of group play at EuroBasket.

Wagner’s third-quarter burst showed all the potential that has Magic — and German national team — fans giddy about his future. When the light clicks on for Wagner, he can score in bunches and makes it very difficult for anyone to stop him.

Magic fans want to see Wagner work more on the ball and be more assertive as a scorer.

It is not like Wagner is going out there and chucking shots. But he is being assertive and finding his spots to score. Germany is starting to make it clear how much the team needs his contributions. And Wagner is still finding his ways to step up.

That definitely happened in Germany’s first game over France when Wagner hit some big shots down the stretch to secure the victory. Germany’s bench was not nearly as good in this game, necessitating both Schroder (18 points and nine assists) and Wagner to take over.

Still, there were all the hallmarks of Wagner’s play. And while there is certainly a lot of focus for Magic fans on Wagner’s shooting, scoring and usage, his defense has probably been the most impressive aspect of his EuroBasket run so far.

Wagner did pick up four fouls and was struggling with some of his rotations. But that could well be the vagueries of FIBA officiating and Wagner just struggled to adjust.

He still made some incredible defensive plays, including a massive block after Jusuf Nurkic beat Daniel Theis on a post up.

With Bosnia-Herzegovina cutting Germany’s lead down to as little as six, this play was a huge momentum-turning moment and just a fantastic defensive read as Wagner pre-rotated to the paint and made the great read when his teammate got beat.

Wagner has been making plays like this throughout his run with the national team this offseason. And he has displayed great overall versatility too. He was guarding bigger players this time around after locking up the perimeter in the win over France.

For Germany, this was a fantastic win that puts the team in very good standing to advance out of the group stage. More than that, it showed Germany has some real resilience that will make the team a tough one to beat.

They relied on their bench to carry them through a win over France on Thursday. In this game, Germany got its stars to counteract the post-disadvantage they were struggling with from the first half.

There is definitely some home-court advantage lifting Germany at this point. But they are still making plays and playing some inspired basketball. This is not a team just happy to host the tournament and get out of the group stage. They are hard-nosed and getting their work done.

Wagner is certainly getting his work done at this stage too. He has not had a steady drumbeat of offensive impact, but his presence is felt throughout the game.

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When his team needed him to step up, he was one of the key players that helped deliver Germany a huge win.