The German basketball champions Ratiopharm Ulm were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Bundesliga playoffs and missed defending their title after a crime thriller. In the last game under master coach Anton Gavel, the Ulm team narrowly lost 72:75 (31:36) to the Würzburg Baskets.

In the series in best-of-five mode, the favorite lost 1:3. In the semi-finals, Würzburg will face either FC Bayern Munich or MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

In front of 3,140 spectators, the Franconians turned around a three-point deficit in the last minute. Isaiah Washington made the decisive free throws with 10.3 seconds left. In the absence of the injured top player Otis Livingston II, who will also miss the semi-finals due to a torn medial ligament, Zachary Seljaas was Würzburg’s best thrower with 19 points.

For the Ulm team, who sensationally became champions last year after victories over FC Bayern, Alba Berlin and Telekom Baskets Bonn, Karim Jallow (15) was the most successful player. Before Würzburg, Alba and the Niners Chemnitz had already moved into the semi-finals.

The Würzburg-Ulm series was marked by injuries, hard fouls and some verbal taunts. Things were rough on Friday evening too. Ulm gained a lead in the final quarter, but could not hold on to it. After the upheaval after the championship title, master coach Gavel, who is moving to his former club Bamberg Baskets, is now leaving. The former professional is supposed to get the nine-time champions back on the road to success after missing the playoffs. Ty Harrelson, who comes from Rasta Vechta, follows in Ulm.