Imagine finding out late Wednesday night where you are going the following Thursday to play your first match in the championship round of a professional sports league there on Friday. It sounds strange – but is theoretically conceivable for the Bundesliga basketball team Niners Chemnitz. It is very possible that it will not be decided until 11 May who will play against whom in the BBL play-offs from 13 May.
Due to numerous match cancellations due to the corona and the successful seasons for FC Bayern Munich in the Euroleague (this Tuesday night in Barcelona it’s about getting into the final tournament) and the MHP giants Ludwigsburg in the Champions League (playing for the title in final) tournament in Bilbao this weekend) the season in BBL was extended. Nine catch-up matches are still on the program until May 11, including the Niners in Crailsheim next Saturday.
After the exciting 90:68 on Sunday night against leading Telekom Baskets Bonn, Niners is in fourth place in the table and would therefore have home rights twice in the playoffs against fifth place. The schedule in the championship round with the “Best-of-five” mode is home game – home game – away game – away game – home game from the point of view of the higher ranked team. If the Niners held fourth place, they would have secured two games ahead of their own fans with the corresponding support and financially important guaranteed revenue.
With a win in the final main round at Crailsheim, Chemnitz would have 23 wins on their account. What it would be worth only becomes clear afterwards when the other teams have played their catch-up matches. The closest rivals in the battle for fourth place are Ludwigsburg and Ulm, who could also have 23 victories each. Ulm would thus overtake Chemnitz because it won the direct comparison. Ludwigsburg would remain behind the Niners – the Giants lost the direct duel.
Although they lose in Crailsheim, the Niners can theoretically stay in fourth place – but they can also slip down to sixth place and then have to play out first. In Ulm? Ludwigsburg? Munich? You probably only know it on May 11th. “It may also be that shortly before the start of the playoffs, it is finally decided that we first have the home rights. But then our ticket department is really stressed,” says Niners CEO Steffen Herhold. “Ticket sales can only begin when we know when to play at home.”
There is no doubt that the fair will be packed in the home games in the playoffs. The enthusiasm of the fans already reached the next level on Sunday. It has not been as high as the victory against the leaders from Bonn for a long time – and it is always high at Niner’s home games. 90:68 (41:36) was a big exclamation point just before the start of the championship round.
With the tailwind of eleven wins in a row, Bonn came to Chemnitz and was outclassed by the Niners with one of the season’s best performances so far. “We were strong on both sides of the pitch, focused and moved the ball very well,” said Chemnitz coach Rodrigo Pastore. “We now have one more match in Crailsheim, and then it’s on to the playoffs. We need our fans there with the same great energy that they gave us against Bonn – and then we dream.”
The rest of the program the candidate for fourth place: Bayern Munich (currently 23 victories): in Ulm (May 6), against Göttingen (May 8), against Alba Berlin (May 10); Niners Chemnitz (currently 22 wins): in Crailsheim; MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (currently 22 wins): against Heidelberg (11.5.); Ratiopharm Ulm (currently 22 victories): against Bayern Munich (6.5.), against Giessen (8.5.)