Fifteen European clubs competed in the preliminary round of the Champions League on Friday 31st January and Saturday 1st February 2020 in a bid to progress through to the last eight of the Champions League.
As in 2018, RSB Thuringia Bulls (GER) and CD Ilunion (ESP) finished first and second, respectively, in the 2019 Champions League, automatically qualifying them for this season’s quarter-finals, so the competition was on to see who would join them.
The preliminary round was made up of three groups with five teams in each group. Only the top two teams from each group would qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the teams finishing in third and fourth qualifying for the EuroLeague finals, and the teams finishing in fifth being eliminated from further European competition for this season.
After some top-level action, the teams joining RSB Thuringia Bulls and CD Ilunion in the next round are Bidaideak Bilbao BSR (ESP), BSR Amiab Albacete (ESP), RSV Lahn-Dill (GER), Beşiktaş JK TSBT (TUR), Galatasaray SK (TUR), and BSR ACE Gran Canaria (ESP).
Champions League 2019 Preliminary Round Group A
In Group A, Spain’s BSR ACE Gran Canaria qualified for Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history topping the group after coming back to win their final three games after losing their opening game to Israel’s Ilan Ramat Gan (60-64). Turkish heavyweights Galatasaray SK claimed the second place, also finishing on three wins and one loss. Italian hosts, UnipolSai Briantea84 Cantù, edged out Ilan Ramat Gan for the third spot, courtesy of their head-to-head, defeating the Israeli’s 59-52, as they both finished 2-2. Germany’s Koln 99ers were eliminated, losing all four games.
Asael Shabo (4.0, Ilan Ramat Gan)
Arie Twigt (3.5, ADM Econy BSR ACE Gran Canaria)
Ismail Ar (1.5, Galatasaray SK)
Rose Hollermann (3.5, ADM Econy BSR ACE Gran Canaria)
Adolfo Berdun (3.5, Briantea84)
Champions League 2019 Preliminary Round Group B
Spanish hosts of Group B, BSR Amiab Albacete, went unbeaten to top the group. A three-way tie between Besiktas JK TBST (TUR), Le Cannet (FRA) and GSD Porto Torres (ITA), who all finished with two wins and two losses, meant the results between the three teams would decide the placings. Besiktas JK TBST claimed the second spot on point difference, with France’s Le Cannet finishing third to gain a consolation place in the EuroLeague 1 Finals, whilst Porto Torres finished fourth and will head to the EuroLeague 2 Finals. Russia’s BasKI TSOP lost all their games and were therefore eliminated.
Lee Manning (4.5, BSR Amiab Albacete)
Mateusz Filipski (4.0, Porto Torres)
Christophe Carlier (3.0, Le Cannet)
Harrison Brown (2.5, BSR Amiab Albacete)
Lourdes Ortega (1.0, BSR Amiab Albacete)
Photo credits: BSR Amiab Albacete
Champions League 2019 Preliminary Round Group C
Group C was also held in Spain but in the city of Bilbao. Germany’s RSV Lahn-Dill progressed to the quarter-finals with a clean sweep of the group as they look to qualify for the final four they are set to host in May. Hosts Bidaideak Bilbao BSR finished second, only losing to RSV Lahn Dill (69-88). Italy’s DECO Group Amicacci Giulianova secured third place and progressed to the EuroLeague 1 Finals with two wins and two losses. In the battle of the bottom two, Turkey’s TSK Rehab Merkezi Eng. SK. beat France’s CS Meaux by one point (65-64), to finish fourth, meaning CS Meaux are eliminated.
Brian Bell (4.5, RSV Lahn-Dill)
Mustafa Muhittinoglu (4.0, TSK Rehab Merkezi Eng.SK.)
Thomas Böhme (3.0, RSV Lahn-Dill)
Jannik Blair (1.0, Bidaideak Bilbao BSR)
Raimunds Beginskis (2.0, Amicacci Giulianova)
Photo credits: Andreas Joneck
2020 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINALS
The draw for the quarter-finals took place in Albacete, Spain following the conclusion of the preliminary round.
Heading to Elxleben, Germany to compete with RSB Thuringia Bulls (GER) are BSR Amiab Albacete (ESP), Galatasaray S.K. (TUR), and Bidaideak Bilbao BSR (ESP), whilst Beşiktaş JK TSBT (TUR), BSR ACE Gran Canaria (ESP), and RSV Lahn-Dill (GER) will head to Madrid to compete with host CD Ilunion (ESP).
2020 EUROLEAGUE FINALS 1 & 2
UnipolSai Briantea84 Cantù (ITA), Le Cannet (FRA), and DECO Group Amicacci Giulianova (ITA) will take their place in the EuroLeague 1 Finals, whilst Ilan Ramat Gan (ISR), GSD Porto Torres (ITA), and TSK Rehab Merkezi Eng.SK (TUR) will compete in the EuroLeague 2 Finals in April. The remaining teams to qualify for these Finals will be known in early March after the EuroLeague Preliminary rounds.