After the first team training sessions in more than two months, the basketball bundesliga has taken another step on the way to the championship tournament.
All players and coaches who were in germany before last weekend tested negative twice for the coronavirus at their ten teams, according to the BBL. How difficult the plan remains to keep the season going until 28. June to finish with 35 games in munich’s audi dome, however, the positive finding of a player arriving from abroad shows. This professional had no contact with his team at any time and was isolated, as the league announced.
The league considered the first "test" for its hygiene and safety concept to have been passed. Until the tournament on 6. June opens with the match between BG gottingen and hakro merlins crailsheim, but the highest level of vigilance is still required. "Each individual must behave in a very intelligent and disciplined manner over the next six weeks," stressed marko pesic, manager of defending champions FC bayern munchen to the german press agency. "I have no doubts that we will succeed."
The bavarian state government had provided the basketball players with a "huge leap of faith" (pesic) by approving the concept. The BBL also wants to share its experience with games without spectators with european leagues and other sports in germany. "We have to see that the sport of basketball survives in europe, that in germany the indoor sport survives," said BBL managing director stefan holz in a podcast by magentasport. He announced a cooperation with the handball bundesliga and the german ice hockey league, which had cancelled their seasons.
Only a few hours after the political okay, the first basketball teams returned to their long-awaited team training sessions. BBL concept calls for three weeks of team training. But because the decision of the authorities took a little longer, it is now only two and a half weeks until it starts in munich. The return to training requires the approval of the local health authorities, which has already been obtained at many locations.
"We have to prepare as well as we can now," bavaria’s international player paul zipser told the online portal spox.Com". Whether the short preparation time would lead to more injuries, he could not say. But: "when a professional athlete is not in his normal rhythm or does not have the usual preparation, the risk is naturally higher," said the former NBA pro.
The bavarians are already training in groups again. Oldenburg, gottingen and vechta already have permission for contact training, which is why rasta coach pedro calles asked his players to attend their first joint session right away on tuesday evening. "This is a stage victory against the pandemic that has taken normality away from all of us," said oldenburg coach mladen drijencic, who returned to team training with his squad on wednesday.
The joy and relief of bringing the season to a sporting conclusion in the special format with ten clubs and a three-week hotel quarantine was everywhere. "It’s better to play this competition than none at all," said alba berlin coach aito. But even the veteran coach sees the risks of the short preparation time. "We now have to get into team training as soon as possible and integrate the foreign players who are currently still in quarantine, so that we can play our best possible basketball until the tournament," said the spaniard.