Arm in arm, Germany’s basketball heroes exuberantly sang the national anthem, captain Dennis Schröder had tears in his eyes. The outstanding NBA professional then accepted the World Cup trophy at 11:03 p.m. local time. The rest was pure joy in the golden confetti shower! Led by the seemingly unleashed Schröder, national coach Gordon Herbert’s team beat Serbia in a thrilling final on Sunday in Manila with 83:77 (47:47), thus pulling off one of the biggest surprises in German sports history.

It was the unimaginable culmination of an unforgettable basketball summer in which Schröder, who was often criticized in the past, especially in Germany, was finally crowned German basketball king. “I’ve been here for ten years now. Bronze at the European Championships last year, now the World Cup title – I don’t want to hear anything about my name anymore,” said Schröder after the biggest triumph of his career so far with the basket net around his neck. “I just want respect. That was a statement.”

After leading the German team to the greatest success in German basketball history, Schröder hugged his wife Eileen and their children on the floor. National coach Herbert, on the other hand, sat completely exhausted on the floor in the catacombs. At the award ceremony, the successful Canadian coach regained his strength and hugged each of his players. “The first thing I did during my term in office was go to Braunschweig and meet Dennis. We talked for three or four hours. That was the beginning,” said Herbert.

“World champion! Sensational, historic and so deserved. Congratulations,” wrote Chancellor Olaf Scholz on X, formerly Twitter. “World champions!!! Unbelievable! What a team!!!!” wrote Dirk Nowitzki a few seconds after the end of the game. Even the now retired German basketball icon couldn’t achieve something like that in her career.

Germany’s basketball players remained unbeaten throughout the tournament and completed perfect weeks in Asia with their historic first World Cup title. “It sounds incredible. How we managed it against the strongest teams in the world. World champions!” said Schröder. “It’s definitely a celebration now.” The gold medal winners will only fly back to Germany via Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, where there will be a reception in Frankfurt am Main on Tuesday morning. “It’s almost a bit of a shame that the tournament is now over,” said Johannes Voigtmann, who was extremely strong in the final.

Schröder shone with 28 points and took complete command in the final phase. The always aggressive young star Franz Wagner scored 19 points in a heated duel with former national coach Svetislav Pesic and was named the best player of the final. Schröder was voted the most valuable professional of the entire tournament – ​​and rightly so!

He had drawn the finale more and more into himself. With his enormous speed and great determination, the playmaker had finally crowned his almost nine-year career in the national jersey. “I’m trying to put basketball Germany on the map,” Schröder said. This was achieved in an outstanding manner with the World Cup title in Manila. For football star Toni Kroos it is already clear: “Dennis athlete of the year! No discussion necessary!”