DJK Don Bosco Bamberg celebrate a second straight second division title - and will be going up to the top flight DBBL next season - Photo from DJK Don Bosco Bamberg website

DJK Don Bosco Bamberg will join the German women’s top flight DBBL for the 2012-13 season – deciding to accept promotion after winning the second division title for a second straight season. The move makes the Franconian city of Bamberg the only home of a men’s and women’s first division team.

“We won the championship of the second league two years in a row and are naturally happy now to be able to take the next step,” head coach Steffen Dauer said on the DJK Don Bosco website.

“Even though we are expecting an incredibly difficult task, our goal is to establish ourselves in the Bundesliga – also through the good youth work going on.”

After beating TSV Amicitia Viernheim 2-0 in a best-of-three finals, American Jessica Miller and veteran Petra Oberpaul have already agreed to come back to Bamberg for next season. And 16-year-old Alina Hartmann is expected to play a bigger role next season as well.

“In basketball the number one thing for me is that I have fun and feel comfortable. And that is the case in Bamberg. I love the team, the club, the fans and the city,” said the 24-year-old guard Miller, who will be spending her third season with Don Bosco after averaging a team-high 14.8 points last season.

“Anyone can move to a bigger club for more money. For me, it’s important to build something up, to move something forward, and see how we consistently continue to develop through hard work.”

“I have played a long time and seen quite a lot but I have never experienced this kind of closeness,” said the 33-year-old Oberpaul, who won back-to-back-to-back DBBL titles and cup doubles with TSV 1880 Wasserburg.

“I have played on some successful teams, but the team spirit this year could not be compared to anything else. Being part of that gives me such an incredible satisfaction that it makes it very difficult to retire,” added Oberpaul, who works as a biology and chemistry teacher full-time in Bamberg.

Club boss Jörg Zimmermann decided to move Bamberg up to the top flight after securing the minimum budget of 100,000 euros from sponsors needed for the jump. The move was too quick last off-season after having played in the Regionalliga third league in 2009.

“Now begins the majority of the work. But we want to eventually turn Bamberg into the basketball capital of Germany,” said Zimmermann.

“Such a success was not expected in 2009 when we started in the Regionalliga season with a very, very young team. I took over back then in order to stabilize the program and move it in the direction of the second division for the medium term,” said Dauer.

After having a team with an average age of 21 last season, the coach has realistic goals in the DBBL next season.

“We are only looking at avoiding relegation. You can see how difficult that task will be with the relegation of established first division clubs like Saarlouis and Chemnitz. We also saw in the second division how the level has developed,” said the coach.

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