Shenzhen (dpa) - Nine hours before the start of the German basketball team Dirk Nowitzki sent a public message to his successors. "Let's go boys!!! I wish you a great tournament !! », wrote the legend on Twitter. "I'll see you tonight."

The 41-year-old is expected in his role as World Cup ambassador on Sunday (14.30 CEST / Magenta sports) at the German Kracher opener against France in Shenzhen. The most important thing about the team's game with leader Dennis Schröder at a glance.

STARTING POSITION: After a strong preparation with six wins from seven games, including the won dress rehearsal against medal candidate Australia, the German team starts full of confidence. "Everyone is super concentrated. Everyone is ready, we can start, »said national coach Henrik Rödl. As the only seriously troubled player is also on-actor Maodo Lo after an ankle injury again fully operational.

OPPONENT: France is one of the contenders for the World Cup title. Especially in the center position under the basket, the team is heavily staffed with the NBA pros Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) and Vincent Poirier (Boston Celtics). Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets), Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic) and Frank Ntilikina (New York Knicks) also play in the strongest league in the world. Center Mathias Lessort joined FC Bayern this summer.

MODE: The game against France is very important. The best two teams in each group are in the second round - which should not be too big a hurdle in the face of the next opponents Dominican Republic and Jordan. But all points are taken. In the second round are two more games, probably against Australia, Lithuania or Canada. Only the top two teams then make the leap to the quarterfinals.

QUOTE: «Unfortunately, the first game will be very difficult. They are the last team to beat us in a tournament. We would like to take revenge. They have a very young team that has improved even further. Dennis Schröder is a very dominant point guard, one of the best in the tournament. "(Vincent Collet, France coach)

"At some point you have to play the tough games, if you want to go far, there will be no easy games. This is a team we have to compete with, so you can not afford a sleepy start. "(Johannes Thiemann, German international)

BALANCE: France is not a favorite opponent for Germany. In 64 duels there were only 22 victories, 42 times lost the selection of the German Basketball Federation. The French are a permanent rival. The duel is now alone since the 2006 World Cup for the seventh time in a major tournament. The two previous clashes in the European Championship Round of Eightee 2017 and the European Championship preliminary round in 2013, the German team decided for themselves, before there were four tournament defeats in series.

IMAGINATION GAMES: The balance in the first matches at a World Cup is mixed for the German team. Two wins face three defeats. The previous opening matches and the tournament result at a glance:

year opponent Result Tournament cutting
2019 France
2010 Argentina 74:78 17th
2006 Japan 81:70 eight
2002 China 88:76 third
1994 Greece 58:68 twelfth
1986 Puerto Rico 69:81 From preliminary round

ATMOSPHERE: The German team does not want to be distracted by the somewhat depressing atmosphere outside the arena. In the parking lot of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center armored military vehicles were seen this week. "You've heard about the problems, but you do not really care about them. You do your thing and focus on basketball, "said Captain Robin Benzing. In Hong Kong, which is located near the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen, there were again heavy clashes between demonstrators and the police on Saturday.

Basketball World Cup 2019

DBB dates

DBB squad

WM at MagentaSport