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Not all dreams come true – USC Eisvgel

In the spring, Freiburger Eisvgel won the German women’s basketball championship and dreamed of doubling their budget. He stayed with the dream.

In the spring, Freiburger Eisvgel won the German women’s basketball championship and dreamed of doubling their budget. He stayed with the dream.

At the end of April, Eisvgel won the German league with a 3-1 victory in the final series against Bergisch Gladbach, the best team in the main group. Harald Janson, at that time still coach and sports director in one, dreamed of doubling the budget. Six months later, however, the first division basketball players are about to start the new season with an almost unchanged budget. Nobody talks about a title defense on Schwarzwaldstrasse before.

For a brief, small moment, USC Freiburg basketball players attracted national attention last spring after their resounding victory in the German league. And in this exuberant situation, Eisvgel Janson’s master trainer and producer possessed the calm and wisdom to use attention for an important message. He denounced the “one-football culture” in Germany and criticized women’s sport’s neglected support for Deutschlandfunk, which attracted a lot of attention. Shortly thereafter he announced that they were aiming to double the budget for kingfishers. Just six months later it becomes clear how the moment ended up without consequences.

Last week, Eisvgel presented their new squad. The budget is again around € 300,000. So the big surprise success of the championship was not followed by a budget explosion. Consequently, they are reluctant to formulate their goals for the Eisvogel.

Last year’s assistant manager and this year’s head coach Victor Herbosa said: “It is expected to be a very balanced league and we absolutely want to play evenly against every opponent.” For the moment Herbosa is only setting milestones for himself and his team: “The short-term goal is to bring the team to the highest physical level by the beginning of October”. When it comes to casting artists, no one is talking about the championship.

Due to the development of the budget, the USC does not play in Europe despite the championship. And given the departure of last season’s outstanding Bundesliga player, Japanese national team player Shiori Yasuma, who joined Italy’s top club Venezia, the squad is unlikely to match the season’s quality of the title.

In total, Eisvgel managed to retain eight players. Among them are the two Americans Christa Reed and Hannah Little, who played in Australia during the summer. A quintet is new in Breisgau. The most notable addition is 91-time national Stephanie Wagner from Marburg. “With her many years of experience in the league, she is a great support for our young players,” says Herbosa.

The Dnin Sofie Pretzmann should occupy the wings with Wagner. The coach is also impressed by the 27-year-old Scandinavian: “We are convinced of his qualities as a first shooter and as a defender.” In addition, larcher Lea Rasenberger (last Schwabach) and the talented 15-year-old Juljana Ehrlich complete the squad.

Jessie Loera is expected to fill the gap left by the Japanese international Yasuma in the construction position. The 25-year-old has previously played in Iceland and Switzerland, where she was voted best player in the league. “She is exactly the point guard who fits our philosophy”, says Herbosa, “she will keep the pace and create open shots for her teammates.”

“We have the advantage of still having an important team from last season,” adds new manager Herbosa and suspects that this will make his job easier. However, the Spaniard has so far only been able to work with a small squad because the professional players were still abroad and some women from Freiburg have been plagued by injuries. That’s why Eisvgel trained a lot together with the second team, which after winning the Scudetto in the regional championship in the 2022/23 season make their debut for the first time in the second Bundesliga.

And so the Eisvgel seems to face an uncertain season. So it can only be encouraging that Mirna Paunovic has surprisingly agreed to play another round. The woman of the center, almost 46 years old, is the symbol of the positive development of the women of Freiburg and has always been a guarantee of performance.

And so Paunovic plays the kingfisher character just before the start of this round of uncertainty. She is the face of a team of spite. To some extent, Mirna Paunovic represents a sober version of the Eisvgel, stripped of the visionary exuberance of post-title time.

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