#Zadonk: The elite class of wheelchair basketball presents itself in Hamburg

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is warming up and getting ready for the 2018  wheelchair basketball World Championships. edel-optics.de Arena will host the four best club teams in Europe on May 4th and 5th in anticipation of the sports highlight, which will take place in Hamburg from August 16th to 26th. CD Ilunion Madrid (Spain), Unipol Sai Briantea84 Cantú (Italy), six-time Champions League winner RSV Lahn-Dill (Wetzlar) and the newly crowned German champion, the RSB Thuringia Bulls (Elxleben), qualified for the final four of the IWBF Europe Champions League, the highest club competition on the European continent.

Spectators can look forward to real wheelchair basketball treats, which will be served by the world’s best players in Hamburg’s Wilhelmsburg district in the beginning of May. Among the athletes are various Paralympic gold medal winners as well as many world and European champions, such as the Americans Brian Bell and Michael Paye (both Wetzlar),Matt Scott and Jake Williams (both Elxleben) or the British top stars Terry Bywater (Madrid) and Ian Sagar (Cantú). The aperitif at the World Championship will be rounded off by the Argentinian Adolfo Berdun (Cantú), the Australian Bill Latham (Madrid), the German top stars Aliaksandr Halouski, André Bienek (both Elxleben) and Thomas Böhme and Annabel Breuer (both Wetzlar) as well as lots of rolling stars.

Anthony Kahlfeldt, Managing Director of WM 2018 Wheelchair Basketball gGmbH, who is responsible for the Final Four with his team, is also confident that the Champions League weekend will be a multi-faceted and exciting sporting event for all players, fans and Hamburg cititziens: „It’s amazing that we can welcome the four best teams of the continent in Wilhelmsburg. When else do Hamburg’s citizens have the opportunity to experience the stars of the scene up close? I would like to recommend to all sports enthusiasts to stop by the edel-optics.de arena the first weekend in May together with their families when the Ronaldos, Messis and Müllers of wheelchair basketball meet up in the Hanseatic city. The event is more than just a rolling starter for the World Cup main course in August. I can assure you of that.“

The programme

The world stars in their „rolling chairs“ as well as the top teams can be seen on the following days:

Friday, May 4, 2018

Semifinal 1 | 17.30 | CD Ilunion Madrid (Home) vs. Unipol Sai Briantea84 Cantú (Guest)

Semifinal 2 | 20.00 | RSB Thuringia Bulls (Home) vs. RSV Lahn-Dill (Guest)

Saturday May 5, 2018

Match for 3rd place | 17.00 | Losers semi-final 1 vs. losers semi-final 2

Final | 19.30 | Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2

 

The entrance fees

Entry on Friday is free. Tickets for the final day (05.05.2018) are available at the box office for 5 €. Reservations are not possible. Discount tickets are not available

 

The Venue

edel-optics.de Arena | Kurt-Emmerich-Platz 10-12 | 21109 Hamburg Germany

 

The Livestream

All European premier class games are streamed – at no charge and freely receivable – via the wheelchair basketball world championship YouTube channel: Matjes is Suhsi Attack

The former wheelchair basketball player and stand-up comedian Tan Caglar, well-known from radio and television, was won as co-commentator for the German semi-final pairing between RSV Lahn-Dill and RSB Thuringia Bulls.

The Final Four participants

RSV Lahn-Dill (Wetzlar, Germany)

Who? The RSV Lahn-Dill is the most successful German club in wheelchair basketball and comes to Hamburg as the current German Cup winner and vice champion.

Successes? 14 cup wins, 13 championship titles, six Champions League titles: The people of Wetzlar are record holders nationally and in Europe and a real constant. Over the past 15 years, they have always been among the top 8 in the Champions League, most recently winning the title in 2015.

Way to the final? After the quarter-final tournament in Madrid, Wetzlar’s record was: An 82:33 victory over Ilan Ramat Gan’s Israeli team, a 61:48 victory over Besiktas Istanbul and a 61:77 defeat in their last group match against CD Ilunion. This was equivalent to second place in the final standings and the entry into the final four behind the Spanish defending champion. In the Champions League preliminary round in Wetzlar, Germany, the Hessians also took second place. The German series champion only had to admit defeat to Galatasaray Istanbul, who in turn had to withdraw from the quarter-finals in Cantú.

Coach? Ralf Neumann

Players? Brian Bell (4.5), Thomas Böhme (3.0), Annabel Breuer (1.5), Nico Dreimüller (2.0), Philipp Häfeli (4.0), Jan Haller (2.0), Christopher Huber (1.0), Marian Kind (3.0), Hiroaki Kozai (3.5), Dirk Köhler (4.0), Michael Paye (3.0), Felix Schell (4.0)

Jan Haller (RSV player and captain of the German national team) says: „We have to show a completely different face in Hamburg than in the final series for the German championship. Thuringia have the big momentum on their side after the last two games and they are the clear favourite. However, we have already beaten them twice this season. And we know what we can be capable of.“

RSB Thuringia Bulls (Elxleben, Germany)

 

Who? The RSB Thuringia Bulls from Elxleben swept over the seriel winner RSV Lahn-Dill in two final matches for the German championship and therefore travel with great self-confidence to the Final Four in Hamburg.

Successes? The most successful year in the history of the Bulls was undoubtedly 2016, when the team won the national cup and the championship. This year they became German champions for the second time and – after finishing fourth in the Champions League last year – now definitely want more.

Way to the final? The team from Elxleben showed two power demonstrations in the quarter-final tournament in Cantú with a 76:49 victory over the Spaniards from Albacete and an 80:43 victory over Galatasaray. Against the Italian hosts, they lost 60-63, but this was a bearable defeat, since – as in the preliminary round – they made sure to get to the next round as group leaders.

Coach? Michael Angel

Players? Jacob Williams (2.5), Roman Wenzel (1.0), Raimunds Beginskis (2.0), Vahid Gholamazad (4.5), Jitske Visser (1.0), Matt Scott (3.5), André Bienek (3.0), Jens-Eike Albrecht (3.0), Teemu Partanen (2.0), Aliaksandr Halouski (4.5)

Lutz Leßmann (Manager RSB Thuringia Bulls) says: „We are very much looking forward to the Final Four in Hamburg. Our trip is not over after the success in the quarter finals and the qualification for Hamburg. We have an extraordinary team with great characters, who are excited about it

CD Ilunion Madrid (Spain)

 

Who? The Madrid-based Club Deportivo Ilunion have both won titles in the past two years and are also the undisputed top club in Spain.

Successes? Triple of championship, cup and Champions League 2016 and 2017, from 2012 onwards always at least the national double and a total of 16 cup victories and championships as well as three Champions League victories.

Way to the final? Spain were the only team to remain undefeated in the quarter-finals, beating Besiktas, Ilan Ramat Gan and RSV Lahn-Dill with a difference of at least 16 points. With last year’s victory, the team was directly seeded for the quarter-finals.

Coach? José Manuel Artacho

Players? Alejandro Zarzuela Beltrán (3.0), Amadu Tijane Diallo Diouf (3.0), Angel Silvela Garcia (2.5), Bill Brian Latham (4.0), Daniel Stix (1.5), Esther Ramiro Barranco (1.0), Francisco Javier Sanchez Lara (1.0), Ignacio Ortega Lafuente (4.0), Jordi Ruiz Jordan (2.5), Jose Manuel Conde Moreno (1.0), Pablo Jesús Zarzuela Beltrán (3.0), Roberto Mena Perez (4.0), Sara Revuelta Garcia (1.0), Terry Bywater (4.5), Virginia Pérez Gutiérrez (4.0)

Ilunion expert Kevin Kleiber says: „Madrid, like RSV Lahn-Dill between 2004 and 2006, wants to win the title three times in a row – and for me they are the top favourite. They had some problems during the season, but are still very strong. If they can play their game, there won’t be anyone to pass them the water. They not only have the same playful qualities as the other teams, but also the necessary experience. That will be your advantage.“

Unipol Sai Briantea 84 Cantú (Italy)

 

Who? Unipol Sai Briantea 84 Cantú missed the title last year only in the final, now the Italian top team wants to make it better. A little side note: U.S. boy Brian Bell, who went basket hunting for the RSV Lahn-Dill, wore the Italian jersey in the last four seasons.

Successes? Six national championships, five cup victories: Briantea 84 has been at the Italian top since 2016 and has already won the Italian Cup this year. The championship decision, however, is still pending. In last year’s Champions League they finished second behind the upcoming semi-final opponent: CD Ilunion Madrid.

Way to the final? After a clear 44:60 defeat against Galatasaray Istanbul at home in the quarter-final opener in Cantú, the leaders of Serie A won wafer-thinly against the Spanish from Albacete (63:61) and 63:60 against the Thuringia Bulls; successes that were enough to advance behind the German champions. Like Madrid, they were seeded as last year’s finalist to host the quarter-finals.

Coach? Marco Bergna

Players? Giulio Maria Papi (4.0), Jacopo Geninazzi (4.0), Davide Schiera (1.0), Ahmed Raourahi (1.5), Carlos Alberto Esteche (2.0), Francesco Santorelli (1.5), Ian Sagar (3.0), Adolfo Berdun (3.5), Laura Morato (2.5), Filippo Carossino (3.5)

Ex-Cantú player André Bienek (RSB Thuringia Bulls) says: „Cantú is a passionate team and deserves to be in the semi-finals because they played excellently in the quarter-finals. The Italians have talented and individually very strong players like the Argentinean Adolfo Berdun, the British Ian Sagar and Filippo Carossino in their ranks, but they also manage to act well as a team time. In Hamburg they will still have a hard time against Ilunion.

The Champions League

 

The IWBF Europe Champions League, Europe’s highest club competition, has been held since 1967. Record title holders are RSV Lahn-Dill with 6 titles, BC Verkerk (Zwijndrecht, Netherlands) and Galatasaray Istanbul with five titles each. The first title winner (1967) came from Amsterdam, the last (2017) from Madrid. The winners of the last years are:

2007 Santa Lucia Sport | Rome, Italy

2008 Galatasaray S.K.| Istanbul, Turkey

2009 Galatasaray S.K. Istanbul, Turkey

2010 RSV Lahn-Dill | Wetzlar, Germany

2011 Galatasaray S.K. Istanbul, Turkey

2012 RSV Lahn-Dill | Wetzlar, Germany

2013 Galatasary S.K. Istanbul, Turkey

2014 Galatasary S.K. Istanbul, Turkey

2015 RSV Lahn-Dill | Wetzlar, Germany

2016 CD Ilunion | Madrid, Spain

2017 CD Ilunion | Madrid, Spain

Press release: WM 2018 Rollstuhlbasketball gGmbH | Photo: Armin Diekmann

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