alba_berlin_logoAlba Berlin failed to reach the second round of German BBL league playoffs. But that didn’t stop the heads of Euroleague on Wednesday from handing the club a wild card for the Euroleague qualification for 2010-11.

Undoubtedly a big reason for the measure was Alba Berlin’s home arena o2 World, where the team averaged 10,207 spectators per home game.euroleague-logo

Germany only have one direct spot for the Euroleague but just like last season, Alba were given a wild card for the qualification. Sixteen teams – increased from eight teams from last season – will go through three knockout rounds of two-leg showdowns with the two finalists reaching the Euroleague. The other 14 teams will move into the Eurocup.

Berlin last season failed to reach the Euroleague regular season but made it to the Eurocup final. They finished second in the BBL regular season in 2009-10 but were bounced 3-1 in their quarter-final first round playoff series against eventual finalists Deutsche Bank Skyliners.

“We had a very successful European season but nationally it was not quite as satisfactory. Therefore we are happy that Euroleague gave us the chance to qualify for the best European competition,” Alba manager Marco Baldi said on the club’s website.

“Due to the expansion of qualification to 16 teams and a shorter time period after the basketball world championship, we will have a bigger challenge than last season. But of course we gladly welcome that chance.”

“Alba Berlin has not only been an excellent representative of German basketball in the past but also is one of the best organized clubs in European basketball. With Alba Berlin once again receiving a wild card is the evidence and recognition for the excellent work in the past and the sporting success the team had in Eurocup last season,” said BBL league commissioner Jan Pommer.

The qualification rounds begin on September 21 and runs three weeks with Tuesday (first leg) and Friday (return leg) matches until October 8. The Euroleague draw takes place on July 8 in Barcelona.

Besides German champions Brose Baskets Bamberg directly in the Euroleague regular season and Alba in the qualification, there are at least three other German clubs playing internationally next season.

EuroChallenge champions BG Gottingen and EWE Baskets Oldenburg will play in the Eurocup while Deutsche Bank Skyliners head into the Eurocup qualification.

It is unclear at this time how many and which German clubs will compete in FIBA Europe’s EuroChallenge.

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