Shortly before the start of the season, the basketball players from ratiopharm Ulm let it rip again. The defending champion proudly presented the specially made championship rings, which are otherwise only common in the NBA.
But because the first German championship in the club's history was something very special for the Ulm team, the bosses around managing director Thomas Stoll came up with something special - knowing full well that it could take a while until the Ulm team won the title again.
When master coach Anton Gavel's team opens the new season in the League of World Champions this Wednesday (8 p.m. / Dyn) against the Niners Chemnitz, they will start as outsiders again. The favorite is once again FC Bayern Basketball, as the 18 coaches in a survey by the German Press Agency almost agree.
Munich finally wants the title again
After four seasons without a championship, the Munich team definitely wants to win the Bundesliga title again this season. "This is my first year in a league that is new to me. We are trying to win the title, but other strong clubs want that too," said Bayern's new star coach Pablo Laso.
Managing director Marko Pesic became a little clearer. “Our goal is clearly the championship. We also want to defend the cup,” added Pesic in the “Kicker” interview. “There is no reason to appear arrogant,” said the ex-professional, referring to the long dry spell in the league. "But we should also have enough self-confidence because we believe our squad is strong."
Bayern have also hired a coach in Laso who knows how to win titles. The Spaniard won trophies in a row with Real Madrid, and now he should lead the Munich team back to the top with a greatly strengthened team.
“I’m really excited that he’s now working in the Bundesliga,” said national coach Gordon Herbert (64) in an interview with the “Münchner Merkur/tz” media group. “People like him and Ibaka will be of great use to the league,” said Herbert, referring to the Spanish star coach and top purchaser Serge Ibaka, who moved to Bayern with the experience of more than 1,000 NBA games.
But the top teams Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin realized last season that the championship won't be a sure-fire success. Ratiopharm Ulm against Telekom Baskets Bonn was suddenly the final, in which the Ulm team prevailed in four games.
The coaches are hoping for an exciting round again this season. “Of course, like every year, Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Basketball are considered favorites for the title,” said Ulm’s coach Gavel. “But there will certainly be teams again this year that are surprisingly at the top.” It remains to be seen whether his team, which lost many top performers after winning the title, will be included.
Another Cinderella story?
An exciting title race would also please Göttingen's new coach Olivier Foucart. "Traditionally, the championship will be decided between Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich. But let's hope that there will be another beautiful Cinderella story and other teams can challenge them," said the Belgian.
But the coaches see FC Bayern Basketball as the clear favorite. "Bayern have really stepped up their game with their commitments. They are hungry to bring the title back to Munich," said Bundesliga returnee Predrag Krunic from Mitteldeutsche BC. "Bayern have strengthened their team to the highest European standard. If they manage to put the individual pieces together, they will be difficult to beat," said Alba coach Israel González.
Berliners have had the biggest upheaval in a long time. Players like Luke Sikma, the face of the team for six years, world champion Maodo Lo and Jaleen Smith have left the club. "It's basically a new start again. We therefore need patience," said Alba managing director Marco Baldi. This is one of the reasons why national coach Herbert expects an exciting race. "I think it will remain close."
The master tips of the first division teams at a glance:
Anton Gavel (ratiopharm Ulm): "It's difficult to say at this point. Of course, Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Basketball are considered favorites for the title, as they are every year. But there will certainly be teams that are surprisingly at the top again this year. "
Roel Moors (Telekom Baskets Bonn): "Bayern München."
Pablo Laso (Bayern Munich): "This is my first year in a league that is new to me. We are trying to win the title, but other strong clubs want that too."
Josh King (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg): "Every team that plays its best basketball in the spring has a chance of winning a championship. Behind the Euroleague teams there are many teams with outsider chances. Many clubs have this claim, including us of course. Nevertheless, it works for us "It's not about the postseason, but just about the first opponent - Hamburg. The favorite for the championship is Munich."
Israel Gonzalez (Alba Berlin): "Bayern have strengthened their team to the highest European standard. If they manage to put the individual pieces together, they will be difficult to beat. But I also have a lot of trust in our players."
Pedro Calles (EWE Baskets Oldenburg): "There was a surprise winner in Ulm recently. Some teams have also experienced a change, such as the Champions League winner Bonn. The two Euroleague teams FC Bayern and Alba Berlin are also becoming strong internationally claimed. I find it very difficult to give a tip. That's why I say: whoever manages to win three times in the final series will become champion."
Olivier Foucart (BG Göttingen): "Traditionally, the championship will be decided between Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich. But let's hope that there will be another wonderful Cinderella story and other teams can challenge them. But usually Munich has the best Requirements, especially because of your new coach."
Rodrigo Pastore (Niners Chemnitz): "The two Euroleague participants Munich and Berlin are certainly hot candidates for the title again. But last season, when Ulm and Bonn were in the final, showed that other teams can also make it to the top. At this point, before the start of the new season, it is difficult to estimate who could slip into such a role."
Christian Held (Rostock Seawolves): "I think FC Bayern Munich will become German champions because they have made a very prominent and high-quality signing."
Oren Amiel (Bamberg Baskets): “That is a very interesting question, but one that cannot be answered at this point in the season.”
Sasa Filipovski (Würzburg Baskets): "I'm not Nostradamus and therefore unfortunately I can't see the future. Anything is possible, I can only talk about our team. Nobody would have thought that the USA would have to compete against Canada at the World Cup Bronze medal play. Of course we know that in the BBL Bayern Munich and ALBA Berlin are the leading clubs and the favorites."
Joonas Iisalo (MLP Academics Heidelberg): "I think the boring answer is Munich. They are the team with the most money and therefore quality and depth in the squad."
Nikola Markovic (Hakro Merlins Crailsheim): "You can't say that at such an early stage. There are many strong teams that are very dangerous, especially at home. Ulm showed last year that surprises are possible. But certainly, Berlin and Munich have to be mentioned first. I think a few teams can surprise in some playoff games."
Jesús Ramírez (Basketball Löwen Braunschweig): "After last season, this is a very interesting question for all of us. Personally, I would like it if the BBL was more open and several teams were fighting for the championship. At the same time, I see it as very difficult "That Berlin or Munich are not fighting for the title, which is why I believe that one of them will become German champion."
Benka Barloschky (Veolia Towers Hamburg): "I don't know, I'd have to look into the crystal ball. On paper, of course, the big names are the favorites. I believe that Bayern Munich will attack this year and want to play for the title. They "We've done a lot for it. When the season starts and a few games have been played, we'll know more."
Predrag Krunic (Central German BC): "The top favorites are the two Euroleague teams Alba Berlin and Bayern Munich. Bayern have really stepped up their game with their commitments. They are hungry to bring the title back to Munich."
Ty Harrelson (Rasta Vechta): "Last season showed that it doesn't necessarily have to be the two 'big ones' FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin who decide the championship between themselves. A season is so long, it can do so much happen. It is impossible to say at this point who will become German champion. When the pre-playoffs are played, there will be eight teams still fighting for the title - each with a 12.5% chance."
Danny Jansson (Tigers Tübingen): "You can't say that today. No game has been played yet. 18 teams will give their all in every game. There can also be surprises in the new season, like Ulm and Bonn recently. One thing is certain Of course, the teams from Munich, Berlin and Ulm are among the favorites."