As the second major team sport after football, basketball is kicking off this week despite the Corona crisis. The champion is to be chosen in an extraordinary tournament in Munich. "A good chance" - but also a step into the unknown.
Munich (AP) - The basketball Bundesliga is looking for the Corona champion and starts its final preparations for the extraordinary quarantine tournament.
Under strict hygiene measures, the ten teams seal themselves off in a Munich hotel later this week. From Saturday to June 28, the Audi Dome will be the title. The clubs are not only taking a unique path organizationally - the most important answers to the tournament at a glance:
How does the basketball Bundesliga continue its season?
Unlike the top leagues in handball, ice hockey or volleyball, basketball did not end its season in the coronavirus crisis. The BBL received political approval in Bavaria for a hygiene and safety concept - also a great opportunity from Herbert Hainer's point of view. "There will only be soccer and basketball in the next four weeks," said the president of FC Bayern on Bavarian television. "And this is a good chance for basketball to show how great this sport is."
In the meantime, all teams are at their locations in team training, have previously been tested twice on Corona. In Munich, players and coaches are now isolated in a hotel and have no contact with the outside world or their families. "We have been working for months to create the conditions for us to be able to continue playing. I'm really excited and really looking forward to it," said Gunnar Wöbke, Managing Director of Fraport Skyliners from Frankfurt, who are one of ten teams. "But I also have no idea how it will be."
How does the tournament work out?
The ten teams are divided into two groups, in which everyone plays once against everyone. The best four teams each reach the playoffs. There are first and second leg games in the quarter and semi-finals and the finals. The results are added up.
Even if Bayern have to do without US star center Greg Monroe for family reasons and injured leader Nihad Djedovic, the way to the championship is only through Munich. "We will certainly not play the competition to finish second," said Bayern CEO Marko Pesic. The defending champion can also compete in the usual environment. "Is that really a sporting advantage?" Asked Pesic. "I don't know, there is no experience." Before the interruption, the MHP giants Ludwigsburg also played a strong regular main round, the results of which were canceled. Alba Berlin, as the second German Euroleague team, is used to a tightly timed game schedule next to Bavaria.
What new faces are there to see?
The teams were able to recruit two players each, only Berlin, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Brose Bamberg have not yet strengthened their squad. The most prominent new signing is the German international Ismet Akpinar, whom Bayern from Besiktas Istanbul brought for the tournament. "We play at home, we play in Munich - I want to win the title," said the build-up player. Several clubs also made use of the seven Bundesliga clubs that did not finish the season.
What is the burden on the players?
High, but not completely unfamiliar. The professionals play a maximum of ten games in 23 days in the event of the final, there is always at least one day break between two games of a team. National players know the burden of international tournaments, in which five games in six days are not uncommon. But the circumstances make the championship tournament special. "There are an extremely large number of games in extremely short sequences, without which the majority of the players have really trained," said Frankfurt's Wöbke.
Where can fans watch the tournament?
Telekom is showing all 35 games live on its Magentasport platform. There are also highlights and in-depth reporting. A total of six matches can be seen at Sport1, including the second and decisive final on June 28th.
Information about the tournament on the BBL homepage