There is a mood of crisis among the Hessian basketball Bundesliga teams. Gießen 46ers in 17th place and Skyliners Frankfurt in 18th place are after more than two thirds of the season in the table with only six wins each and are in the two relegation places. “It would be very bad if it hit them both,” said Sebastian Schmidt, CEO and sports director of Mittelhessen.
While there was a glimmer of hope for the team of head coach Pete Strobl as they beat the 16th from Oldenburg with 88:75 on Saturday, the situation for Frankfurt has become even more difficult due to the 65:71 defeat on Tuesday in Heidelberg.
Skyliners Frankfurt Sunday in Bamberg
Only eight of a total of 34 matches are left for Skyliners on six points from the Savings Bank, the next on Sunday (15.00) in Bamberg. Staying in class is unlikely, but mathematically still possible. Therefore, according to CEO Yannick Binas, the team should concentrate on doing everything possible to prevent the crash.
But the people behind the scenes are already dealing with the Pro A scenario two and a half weeks before the deadline for the license documents on 19 April. It would be the first relegation of the 2004 champions in their Bundesliga history at Main, which has lasted since 1999. “We did everything we could,” says managing partner Gunnar Wöbke. But: Nothing has so far helped stabilize the performance of the weakest offensive team in the league.
The plans for Pro A are ready
With “a six-figure amount” over the actual budget, the squad, which was uncompetitive from the start, was upgraded several times. Coach Diego Ocampo, brought in this summer, whose focus should be on player development, had to leave two weeks ago. The late involvement of the Italian and experienced rescuer Luca Dalmonte, whose philosophy is determined solely by winning points, has not yet paid off after two appearances.
Only longtime assistant coach Klaus Perwas managed to lead the team to their first victory since January 2 in Gießen during his intermission on the sidelines in Braunschweig. “If the work accident happened with Pro A, we would try to rectify it as soon as possible,” says Binas. He is convinced that he has the necessary budget for this. There are partners who have remained loyal even in second grade.
Völler would like to join the Skyliners relegation
According to manager Sport Marco Völler, who wants to be himself, only junior players from the former squad would be a draw. Looking for the reasons for the “creeping downward trend” for the 2016 European Cup winner, Binas holds the city of Frankfurt accountable. “Our situation is also an expression that the arena issue has dragged on for years.”
You need a meeting place with sufficient marketing opportunities “to be able to position us for the future” and not have to expose partners over and over again. The discussion recently gained momentum when the head of the sports department, Mike Josef, presented plans to build the stadium and thus a third alternative to the “The Dome” project and the arena at Kaiserlei, which the Skyliners themselves want to build.
Completely unforeseen season for the 46s
According to CEO Schmidt, who first took office this summer, similar problems in Gießen are hampering the growth required for a sustainable future in the Bundesliga: “We are playing in a converted school sports hall.” The funds are similarly limited compared to the competitors. However, the current season was very different.
The 46ers were already relegated in 2021 but stayed in the BBL with a wildcard. Under the new head coach Strobl, “a solid squad has been put together,” says Schmidt. Injury problems and corona diseases were inevitable. In addition, strong goal scorer and little striker BJ Blake asked for his release after ten games after his brother was shot in the United States.
Direct re-flushing? “Very difficult”
Previously, former NBA professional and shooter Rawle Alkins had been bought by the Ludwigsburg giants after just two games. “It shows where we stand,” Schmidt says. The fans, of whom only 170 were allowed to come to home matches for a long time, were sorely missed.
Before the duel this Saturday (18.00) in Heidelberg, Schmidt does not see the situation as hopeless. Giessen still has ten games to play, several of them against direct competitors in the relegation battle. “The light would not go out with us,” the manager emphasizes. “But it would be very difficult to be promoted again.”