After the lavish celebrations at the home European Championship with the first medal in 17 years, the basketball players want to carry the momentum into the league and take the next step in the fight for more attention.
"We saw at the European Championships that there is a great deal of enthusiasm for basketball in Germany. And we're looking forward to what's to come," said Alba Berlin's Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Axel Schweitzer.
The Berliners have recently won the German championship three times in a row and are going into the season, which starts this Wednesday (7 p.m. / MagentaSport) with a home game against the Hamburg Towers, as favorites for Alba with an almost unchanged squad. The number one challengers are again Bayern, who were beaten 3-1 in the final series last season. "I'm not used to going home without a title. That's something I don't like. We want titles," said Munich coach Andrea Trinchieri.
Clubs expect title duel among top favorites
Alba versus Bayern - this duel between the two heavyweights will be repeated next season. Those responsible for the 18 clubs also see it that way in a survey by the German Press Agency. "Perhaps a club can surprise, but if I had to place a bet I would choose one of the Euroleague teams," said Bayreuth's new coach Lars Masell.
However, the clubs are hoping for a more exciting title fight in which other clubs can also intervene. "Realistically, Berlin and Munich are always the favorites for the title, but I think that Bonn and Oldenburg, for example, have great teams this season," said Heidelberg coach Joonas Iisalo. "If all goes well, these teams could have a chance to topple the BBL Goliaths."
Both teams still with question marks
But in terms of the budget and the squads, it all boils down to a duel between the two big rivals. Alba relies on continuity in attacking the next title. Only Oscar da Silva left the capital for Spain, with Gabriele Procida and Yanni Wetzell only two newcomers. It has been a long time since there has been so little fluctuation in the Berlin squad.
But coach Israel Gonzalez, who stepped out of the great shadow of his mentor Aito by winning the double last season, is still a long way from a well-rehearsed team. Five players around the bronze heroes Maodo Lo and Johannes Thiemann were present at the European Championship, Marcus Eriksson and Malte Delow were also injured. So there are still some question marks at the start of the new season.
This also applies to Bayern, who have to integrate several new players at the same time. With "fresh guys", as Trinchieri puts it, the Munich side want to better compensate for the double burden of Bundesliga and Euroleague this time. At the end of last season, Bayern had run out of strength due to many corona cases. Now players like Elias Harris, Isaac Bonga, Cassius Winston or Freddie Gillespie should ensure more balance. "The champion will be whoever wins the last game of the season," said managing director Marko Pesic. After three years without a championship, it will be for the Munich time that they are again.