All the teams that participate in different international basketball tournaments also have their own national league in their own respective countries; even those who don’t participate in international competitions have one.
Right now, we will discuss in great detail one specific national league: The Basketball Bundesliga of Germany.
What is Basketball Bundesliga?
The Basketball Bundesliga means Federal Basketball League in English and is commonly abbreviated as BBL. It is the highest level league of club basketball in Germany. The league comprises of 18 teams. A regular Basketball Bundesliga season is divided into the league stage and the playoff stage.
At the end of the league stage, the top eight teams that qualify for the playoff stage and the teams positioned 17th and 18th are relegated to a lower league. The playoffs are played in a best of five format. The winning team of the final round will be the German champions of that particular season. All the Basketball Bundesliga teams compete for the Basketball Bundesliga Cup. Teams playing in the second league or in a lower Regionalliga are also eligible to participate.
Always 3-knock-out rounds are played for the BBL-Cup. If more teams of the leagues below the BBL apply for participation than available places, additional qualification rounds are added for them. The final four remaining teams determine the rankings for bronze, silver and gold medals in knock-out matches termed the BBL-TOP 4. The gold winning team is the German Cup winner.
The BBL History
In 1939, the first German national basketball team was organized and was won by a team named LSV Spandau. During the World War 2 in 1944, all the basketball activities were forced to end. After the World War 2 was the creation of the split West-German federal-league consisting of one north division and one south division, each comprising 10 teams. On October 1966, the first season of the so-called Basketball Bundesliga started.
In the season 1971-1972, instead of 10 teams in each division the association decided to reduce it into 8 teams. In the 1975-1976 season, the league structure was changed. It was changed into a 10 team first league and a 20 team second league. Only the second league was split into a northern and a southern division of 10 teams each. In 1985, the top league was enlarged to 12 teams, two years later; the second league was also enlarged into 12 teams.
In the year 1988, in the championships, the Best of Five was applied for the first time. The federal leagues received their own administration within the framework of the German Federation in 1997.
The League’s Teams
Bayer Giants Leverkusen holds the record of being the winner of 14 German championships. However, since 1997 a new team has dominated the Basketball Bundesliga, the ALBA Berlin.
The team dominated the Basketball Bundesliga since 1997, and their 8th German championship was just last 2008. Some of the teams that are included in the league are the Brose Baskets, Telekom Baskets Bonn, Giants Dusseldorf, Mitteldeutscher BC and many more.