ALBA Berlin returned to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague last season for the first time in five years and after a rough start, the team turned in some spectacular results. Along the way, ALBA played a high-scoring fun-to-watch brand of basketball under Coach Aito Garcia Reneses. Now they hope to fight for a playoff spot in 2020-21. Here are five key games for the club this season.
Round 2: ALBA vs Bayern
The first home game of the season will be one to savor for ALBA as fellow German team FC Bayern Munich makes the journey up from Bavaria. ALBA wrestled the German title away from Bayern at the end of last season so the visitors will feel there’s a point to prove, but ALBA also has plenty of motivation after losing its only previous EuroLeague meeting at home to Bayern last season. It will be a special game for new ALBA signing Maodo Lo, who moved to Berlin this summer from Munich.
Round 6: Milan vs ALBA
Until now swingman Simone Fontecchio has spent his entire career in his native Italy, including three seasons in the EuroLeague with AX Armani Exchange Milan. This summer, Fontecchio left his homeland in search of success with ALBA, so his first trip back to Milan will be one to mark.
Round 7: ALBA vs Barcelona
There will be a clash of coaching generations when FC Barcelona travels to Berlin. Visiting coach Sarunas Jasikevicius established a reputation as a promising young player when he joined Barcelona in 2000, developing his game quickly under the tutelage of then-Barca and now-ALBA coach Aito Garcia Reneses. These two giants of European basketball go back a long way, but who will come out on top?
Round 23: ALBA vs Real
One of the most exciting, if not bizarre, games last season took place when ALBA hosted Real Madrid in Round 24. The visiting team raced to a huge 26-point first-quarter lead before ALBA roared back to take a 60-50 advantage at the break. Then Facundo Campazzo’s competition joint-record of 19 assists allowed Real to take a 97-103 victory. Let’s hope for similar stellar entertainment when the teams meet again in the German capital.
Round 34: ALBA vs Zvezda
The very last game of the season will be a special one for visiting Crvena Zvezda Coach Sasa Obradovic, whose first association with ALBA came back in 1994 when he joined as a player and played a big role in the team’s memorable triumph in the 1995 Korac Cup. He later returned to coach the team between 2012 and 2016 and led it to three German Cups. Now he is back as a visiting coach in Berlin in the EuroLeague for the first time and coming in the last week of the season when there could be everything to play for.