After having analyzed the situation in France, I’ll take a closer look at the relegation and promotion process this year in Germany. And as you will see, this is even more complex than the situation in France.
The German League has seen lots of financial disasters in recent years. But the league also has some of the toughest criteria to earn a spot in the league, including an arena with minimum 3000-seat capacity, 1 million Euro budget, etc.
The result of this is that not every year do the 2nd league’s top teams want to move up or are able to because they cannot meet these requirements. This year, we again have this kind of situation. The 2nd place team of Cuxhaven BasCats has not accepted its qualification for the Bundesliga as they don’t have the necessary infrastructure. First-place Nördlingen does not have the necessary arena capacity either, but the team tries to “extend” its Hermann-Kessler Halle to the necessary standards.
So what does this mean? The Bundesliga will distribute one wild card spot for which any team can apply without having qualified on the court. This means that even a team that hadn’t previously existed can apply. And if Nördlingen cannot fulfill the criteria of the league before the deadline, a second wild card will be attributed. At the moment, four teams are interested in this wild card: TBB Trier (who finished second-last in Bundesliga and relegated to ProA), Kaiserslautern Braves (3rd place in ProA), Mitteldeutscher BC (5th place in ProA) and Bremen Roosters (11th place in ProA).
If the situation in the Bundesliga seems quite clear, it reaches another level when you go down to the ProA (2nd) and ProB (3rd league) level. As the Bundesliga team Bayer Giants Leverkusen will move to Düsseldorf due to the dropping out of main sponsor Bayer (chemical company located in Leverkusen), existing ProA team Düsseldorf Magic has announced its disbanding and will sell its ProA spot to an investor in Krefeld who will continue in ProB.
Another team qualified for ProA is Science City Jena, one of two teams relegated from the Bundesliga. However, the financial situation of the East German team is currently bad enough that even ProA refused the club’s entrance. Their future is not at all clear at the moment and nobody knows in which division Jena will play next year.
Finally, Rhöndorf has asked for relegation to ProB because they cannot build a proper team for ProA despite their 4th place finish this season. The team’s front office wants to beginning anew in seeking to again become a top German talent school, and the level of the ProB is more in line with this project.
So who will fill all these open spots in ProA? One team that has ambitions but only played in the fourth league this season is Würzburg, Dirk Nowitzki‘s former team. After several years without any serious team, Würzburg has set up a new concept with the goal of returning the traditional team to the highest German level. And even without having qualified for the ProB, the team has made a licence request for the ProB in the case of open spots.
Another ambitious team is FC Bayern München, the basketball division of the famous German soccer team. After an exceptional season in the 4th league this year, the team from the Bavarian capital has received an affirmative to playing in ProB or even ProA. Because of their sportive qualification for the ProB, the team could even apply for a ProA spot, as some ProA teams don’t wish to play on that level.
So even after the regular season is over, the German leagues are far from set, and the fans don’t know on what level their team will play next season.
In Part 3, we’ll write on the strange situation the ACB will probably face next season.