The exciting basketball pictures of Cologne and Berlin are only two months old, but it feels like an eternity.
The German team, led by captain Dennis Schröder, remembered the wedding of former superstar Dirk Nowitzki and won the first medal in 17 years at the famous European Championship with a bronze medal at home. But with basketball’s continued boom, even after a brilliant summer of packed arenas and live games, things are going to be very difficult. It is already seen in the first international window after that.
A crowd of 3,927 watched a brand new national team qualify for the summer 2023 World Cup in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines in Bamberg on Friday night with an easy 94-80 win over Finland. Sports-wise, the outlook is great, especially since Schröder and NBA talent Franz Wagner should be available again for the tournament. As for the appeal in everyday life, there is still room for improvement, although they are satisfied with the German Basketball Association (DBB) ahead of Monday night’s next qualifying game (18:00 / Magentasport) in Slovenia.
“I’m very happy with the number of viewers”
“I couldn’t hope for more. I’m really happy with the number of viewers. Why do I always have to look at everything negatively? Why do I always have to say I still have this and I still have this? Of course, it fits the moment,” association president Ingo Weiss told the German Press Agency about the scenery. Ticket sales in Bamberg got off to a slow start despite the bronze coup in September, and eventually there were plenty of clubbers and youngsters from the area in the venue. In the end, they clearly enjoyed another clear victory for the rebuilt national team, which had to do without stars like Schröder or Wagner due to the playing schedule.
“Can’t we be content sometimes? Do we always have to look for hair in the soup?” asked Weiss, who talked about 75 to 78 percent of sales. In the former basketball stronghold of Bamberg, the arena has a seating capacity of over 6,000. In the past, when the Franconians still dominated the Bundesliga, every game there was sold out. National coach Gordon Herbert was also satisfied with the atmosphere. “It’s always a great atmosphere in Bamberg, it’s Freak City. This is an amazing basketball town. The fans were great, they really had our backs,” Herbert said.
The boom in women’s soccer has lasted longer
But if you compare the basketball players with the DFB women, who also caused euphoria when they reached the final in England in July, the boom there has so far been better and lasted longer. Head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s team played a friendly match against France in Dresden in October, which was broadcast in prime time on ARD. Records are being set in the Bundesliga, which has also received a much-improved new TV deal, with viewership numbers already surpassing last season after seven of the 22 matchdays. You don’t see milestones like this in basketball.
In terms of sports, things are going extremely well. Unlike in 2010 and 2014, when the qualifying round of the World Cup was missed, this time there were eight wins out of nine games. Schröder and Co. will be in Asia from August 25 next year, when the next World Cup will be played. “All of them did a great job. Gordy does it very well. We are completely satisfied with him,” praised Weiss. The decision to hire the 63-year-old Canadian to replace Henrik Rodl has already paid off.
Herbert expressed his pride in the “great team” whose face is constantly changing from international game to international game. He wants to talk about next year’s World Cup only after the match against Slovenia in Koper. It’s no longer about qualifying for the World Cup, but about winning the group and a better starting position for next spring’s draw. Only after that, it will be decided in which of the three Asian countries Germany will contest its preliminary stage.