Bayern faces Alba Berlin in the playoff finals starting Wednesday

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It's the final matchup that everyone was expecting: The Bayern basketball team will challenge Germany's second EuroLeague team Alba Berlin, the winner of the 2020 Final 10 tournament, in the playoff finals for the 2021 German championship starting Wednesday. The Berliners advanced past Ulm 3-1 in their semifinal, just as the cup winners from Munich did against first-seed Ludwigsburg. As the second-place team in the regular season, Alba enters the best-of-five series with home-court advantage in the first two games on Wednesday and Thursday and a possible fifth game. Bayern entered the playoffs as the fourth seed.

"This is the next chapter in an exciting saga," said FCBB head coach Andrea Trinchieri ahead of the rematch of the German classic. "It remains to be seen what kind of duel it will be this time, because we do have some problems with injuries and so do they. So we have to wait and see who really plays and what else happens in the next few days." On Friday against Ludwigsburg, FCBB international Paul Zipser was missing in addition to Nick Weiler-Babb, Zan Mark Sisko and Leon Radosevic..

The 2021 Cup triumph was celebrated by Bayern but Berlin dominated the BBL matchup earlier in the season.

The 2021 finals series, however, will be played in a tighter back-to-back rhythm this season: two games at the start with no rest day in between, a travel day on Friday before it continues on Saturday with at least one home game for Bayern in the Audi Dome - and possibly a second one right away on Sunday afternoon. A deciding game would take place on Tuesday, June 15, again in the arena at Berlin's Ostbahnhof. For Wednesday, 1,450 spectators are permitted there, for Thursday 2,000. Regulation for the Audi Dome is still unclear.  

Bayern won the most recent clash between Germany's top two teams three weeks ago by triumphing in the Cup final despite trailing by 15 points early on (85-79). Alba had won the last BBL round-robin duel at the end of April in the midst of Bayern's EuroLeague playoffs against Milan by an overwhelming margin (100-62). The first matchup also went to Berlin (85-72), while the two games in the the Euroleague went to the Munich team (90-72 and 101-95 OT).

The 56th edition of the German classic is now scheduled for Wednesday. Bayern leads in the all-time matchup 34-20,  BBL (27-16), EuroLeague (3-0), EuroCup (1 win, 1 draw) and Cup (3-4). Alba Berlin has won nine championships so far, FCBB five. The Munich team is in the playoff finals for the fifth time since their BBL promotion ten years ago. Alba and Bayern have faced each other six times in playoff series, with the Munich team winning each time. The latter has played 86 must-win games so far, the Berliners 80.

The 2021 playoff finals (best-of-five):
Wednesday, June 9, 20:30.: Alba Berlin - FCBB

Thursday, June 10, 20:30.: Alba Berlin - FCBB

Saturday, June 12, 15:00.: FCBB - Alba Berin

Sunday, June 13, 15:00.: FCBB - Alba Berlin *

Tuesday, June 15, 19:00.: Alba Berlin - FCBB *

* = if necessary


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