Photo: FIBA/Twitter

Serbia and Germany will lock horns for FIBA World Cup glory on Sunday, but despite it being the final that not many expected, their form proves otherwise.

As a contest, the stats are almost identical, Serbia score their points in transition, but after seeing Germany edge the USA in a frantic semi-final, do you really want to get into a running contest with them?

For Germany, they got here with an unbeaten record, which includes beating the heavily favoured USA, whose lack of FIBA basketball experience and giving Andreas Obst a little too much respect proved to be their undoing.

But aside from that, the Germans, who are scoring a solid 94.4 points a game, showcased what they are capable of in the earlier rounds.

They were at their devastating best against Slovenia in the second round, beat Australia – who placed fourth at the 2019 World Cup – and played the villain to end Latvia’s fairytale in the quarter-finals.

It has been a magical run to the final, that arguably has gone under radar, but it means nothing until Sunday night.

“We talked about it in the locker room after the game, it’s a great win, but we’re not where we want to be yet. This group of players wants to win gold,” coach Gordie Herbert said after the win over the USA.

But could Germany be giving Serbia too much respect ahead of Sunday? Or are they playing mind games?

“I have no idea [about Serbia],” Herbert said.

“We were focused on USA 100 percent, we haven’t seen Serbia play. Coach Pesic is a friend, great coach, one of the best coaches in Europe of all time.”

For Serbia, you can’t help but respect the fact that they reached the final without their star power.

Nikola Jokic, Vasilije Micic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic and Aleksej Pokusevski are amongst the players not at the FIBA World Cup but heading into Sunday’s big game, they rank second in scoring at 97.7 points a game

But despite the one blip against Italy in the second round, Serbia have fought led by evergreen Bogdan Bogdanovic, who averages 19.4 points a game and now have a chance to redeem themselves and win a first gold medal since 2002.

They toppled an exciting Canada side in the semi-finals backed up by thrashing Lithuania in the last eight.

And maybe Serbia have an advantage? Not on the court, but off it. Could the key be head coach Svetislav Pesic?

The former Germany head coach knows German basketball inside out and has coached Bayern Munich between 2012 and 2016 in a career on the sidelines spanning a staggering four decades.

“This will be very interesting,” Pesic said.

“I still feel like I am part of the German basketball, without a question. I am always happy for German basketball, and I still live in Germany, over the years I had only the positive experience there.

“People say I did a lot for German basketball, and it makes me happy that we’re gonna go up against Germany.”

You can watch Sunday’s FIBA World Cup final on Courtside 1891. Click here to check what time the game is on in your area.