The EHC Red Bull Munich players tend to react violently. When coach Don Jackson’s team seems battered, it’s not uncommon for an answer to follow that really hurts the opponent. This could be observed again last Sunday: With a score of 0:2 in the quarter-final series against the Fischtown Pinguins, some thought the top team of the main round was already close to the end, followed by a 7:1 at home.
On Wednesday evening (7 p.m., Magentasport), the starting position is still tricky. It is common for Munich to start a quarter-final series a bit slowly because they mostly had no games in the previous days and meet a team that had to prevail in the first play-off round. However, a 0:2 deficit as in this case is rather rare.
It is undisputed that the champions from 2016 to 2018 were the best team in the first phase of the season. The difference to second place, ERC Ingolstadt, was 19 points. Frederik Tiffels, who was demoted to a spectator by Jackson in game three, had previously toned: “Who do you want to eliminate with us? I don’t know how an opposing coach wants to do that. We have a depth like no other team, and we’re healthy too,” said Frederik Tiffels accordingly.
Perhaps the main round went too smoothly
But maybe the main round went too smooth and this real walk made sure that the feeling of having to win every duel in order to walk off the ice in the end as a winner has been lost.
In addition to Ingolstadt and Straubing, who can confidently be described as surprise teams in the main round, Munich were the only team that showed expected performances over 56 games. The polar bears were little more than a sparring partner this season and accordingly retired from the title race early on.
Points was the Munich advantage after the main round on the second
But also the Adler Mannheim, who equalized the series to 2:2 with a 7:3 in Cologne on Tuesday evening, could only partially underpin their claim to be a serious championship contender with their presentations.
The Munich squad is once again outstanding. As with the Berliners before, Mathias Niederberger is a safe support. With Yasin Ehliz, the club has the player of the year, who has played dizzying defenses with colleagues Austin Ortega and Ben Smith in recent weeks and months.
However, for the first time this season, the team will have to prove that they can handle pressure. It’s been five years since the last title. The team is now shaped by other faces than back then. They now have to prove that they have the right reactions to a weak phase. Last Sunday was a start.
Brayden White, a veteran sports writer at Global Happening, brings his wealth of knowledge and expertise to the sports section. With over a decade of experience, he is committed to delivering high-quality coverage of the latest games and events.