Bamberg’s basketball players are bottom of the table: alarm mood in FreakCity – Sport


It’s not a pretty sight. Philipp Höhne has to admit that too, although he tries to put this bad record into perspective because of his job. Bottom of the table in the basketball Bundesliga, out of the cup in the first round, missing out on qualification for the Champions League, progress in the fourth-tier Fiba Europe Cup at risk after a home defeat against the Golden Eagles from Ylli, a Kosovan representative. There’s not much to sugarcoat, the basketball players from Brose Bamberg have never been as miserable as they are at the moment. In addition, there is the news that the all-powerful main sponsor Brose, the sole shareholder of the Bamberger basketball GmbH wants to have sold its shares by the end of the season. The form in which the car accessories group will remain with the club still needs to be clarified.

So there is a lot to do for the managing director, Höhne is sitting in the neat meeting room of the neat office on Kornstrasse, not far from the Brose Arena. Höhne himself had scared the experienced observer a little, because suddenly a new name appeared in connection with the post. Until recently, Philipp Galewski managed the business of the Bundesliga club, where those responsible for sport were recently exposed to a high turnover. You can easily get together a handful of coaches, sports directors or even managing directors who were recently knocked out of office prematurely. But Galewski and Höhne are the same person, the 35-year-old got married and took his wife’s name.

So it’s up to him to explain the current plight of Bamberg’s basketball players. After the sacking of Dutch coach Johan Roijakkers last season, things were set to change under new coach Oren Amiel. Roijakkers had actually been brought from Göttingen to bring back that consistency to the club that the club had lost after the time of the Italian duo Trinchieri/Baiesi, who last won the title four years ago. After a few coaches and sporting directors had tried in vain, Roijakkers was largely responsible for putting together a squad – which also never lived up to the traditionally high expectations. After his dismissal in the current season, successor Amiel had to cope with the existing players, which was still passable by reaching the playoff quarterfinals. As a reward, his contract was extended in 2024.

Playmaker Justin Wright-Foreman was more concerned about his own performance than that of the team and was fired

The Israeli put the team together before this season, but in order to avoid the mistakes of the past, Höhne had decreed that from now on every new player had to withstand a thorough examination by the five-strong coaching staff – which, despite the newly installed security system, went horribly wrong at the first attempt . US Guard Justin Wright-Foreman, who was the leader, has now been suspended. According to reports, the 25-year-old was more concerned about his own performance than that of the team, and he also proved resistant to advice. The embarrassing performance in the Europe Cup home game against Ylli, a completely unknown team from Kosovo, was the last straw. Wright-Foreman proved unfit to lead a team. Höhne later even felt compelled to ask the fans for forgiveness in an open letter and to announce changes in the squad.

Without Wright-Foreman, Bamberg then achieved their first win in the Bundesliga against the surprisingly strong promoted team Rostock. A better-known successor was signed in Patrick Miller, the guard gained Bundesliga experience at Ratiopharm Ulm and won the Europe Cup with the Lithuanian club Utena.

The current crisis is particularly annoying in view of the fact that the Brose squad, with a total budget of almost nine million euros, is still one of the most expensive in the league after the top teams from Alba Berlin and Bayern Munich. Playmaker Vaidas Kariniauskas came from Lithuanian champions Vilnius, Czech international Jaromir Bohacik played a strong European Championship, center Gabriel Chachashvili is an Israeli international and Christian Sengfelder won European Championship bronze with Germany – to name just a few. However, it was not possible to form a coherent team, but the managing director does not see a lack of expertise among those responsible for sport: “Even if the results say otherwise, I trust the coaching staff, they have enough experience,” says Höhne. In addition, after the resignation of Wright-Foreman, who will probably return to the highly paid Chinese league, “there is still room for improvement in the budget”.

Bamberg's basketball players: No good prospects: Managing Director Philipp Höhne apologized to the fans after the miserable performance.

Not a good prospect: Managing Director Philipp Höhne apologized to the fans after the miserable performance.

(Photo: Daniel Löb/HMB Media/Imago)

It is unclear whether this will remain the case. Because the auto parts supplier Brose, which has been the sole shareholder of the basketball players since 2013, wants to sell all of its shares. In the current global economic crisis, it is difficult for the group to own a basketball club that has nothing to do with its core business. What Höhne doesn’t just want to see as a dilemma: “It’s a curse and a blessing at the same time,” he says, because this will end the great dependence on a single donor, who, however, should remain as a sponsor. In addition, the traditionally high expectations of fans and those around them will end, because with the budget shrinking, it is simply impossible to intervene in the fight for the championship: “We are still being measured by the glorious times,” explains the managing director, that is unrealistic.

The end of high-class basketball in “Freak City”, as the fans called their location in those great times, is avoided in the same way. The society and thus the basis of the association should be placed on several legs. Höhne is already looking for potential shareholders for this, and many talks have taken place. The goals will also change: “Then it’s no longer about the championship, but about playing in the playoffs.”



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