Niners Chemnitz impress the basketball Bundesliga and world champion Gordon Herbert

“Ass on a bucket” in Chemnitz
The little basketball sensation from Saxony

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best basketball team in the country? Bayern Munich? No. Alba Berlin? No. The Niners Chemnitz are the team of the moment in the Bundesliga – and are even inspiring a world champion. What’s going on in Saxony?

Success makes you sexy – you’re also noticing that at the Niners Chemnitz. The basketball players from Saxony have not lost 17 games in a row across all competitions and are on the verge of equaling the Telekom Baskets Bonn record from last season. Accordingly, there is great interest in the Niners ahead of the cup quarter-finals against German champions ratiopharm Ulm this Saturday (6:30 p.m.).

Niners managing director Steffen Herhold can hardly save himself from inquiries at the moment. “The euphoria is huge. It’s a beautiful snapshot,” said Herhold. But the Chemnitz success story is no longer just a snapshot, but rather the result of continuous and goal-oriented work. Since the Niners made the jump to the first division in 2020, they have continued to improve year after year. They were the first East German team to qualify for the Bundesliga playoffs in 2022; they have long since overtaken the Central German team BC as number one in the East.

“I’m impressed with how Chemnitz is playing right now”

National coach Gordon Herbert is also very impressed with the work that the Niners have been doing for years. “I’m impressed with how Chemnitz is playing right now – they’re doing extremely well both offensively and defensively. They have a very good coach in Rodrigo Pastore,” said the world champion coach in an interview with the “Freie Presse”. “It’s impressive what Rodrigo Pastore and the whole club have achieved there in recent years.”

One of the main guarantors of the sporting recovery is Pastore, who was praised by Herbert. The 51-year-old Argentine has been in office in Chemnitz since the summer of 2015 and has long since made a name for himself internationally as a meticulous worker and tactical expert. “His teams have a clear structure and his tactical adjustments during the game are imaginative and precise,” said Stefan Koch, two-time coach of the year in the Bundesliga and current TV expert, praising the Argentine coach with an Italian passport.

Big goals set before the season

“Rodrigo and Chemnitz – they fit like a glove,” said Herhold, who manages to keep the now internationally sought-after coach in Chemnitz year after year. “Rodrigo knows what he has in Chemnitz. If philosophies can be overlapped, then a lot of positive things can come from continuity, which is rather unusual in professional sports,” said the Niners boss.

But they didn’t expect things to go so well in Chemnitz. Although they started the season with very ambitious goals. “We want to be in the top four in all three competitions,” was the announcement before the season. And at the moment the Chemnitz team is on target despite many injuries. The Niners are at the top of the Bundesliga, they made it to the second round of the Fiba Europe Cup undefeated and they are in the quarter-finals of the cup.

The German champion ratiopharm Ulm is now waiting there. The team that inflicted Chemnitz’s only defeat of the season so far on the first match day. The chance for revenge serves as extra motivation, even if it’s not actually necessary. “Getting into the top four is motivation enough,” said Herhold, who wants to apply with the Niners to host the cup finals if the worst comes to the worst. “We will definitely look into it. That would be a great thing for the whole city, for the whole region,” said Herhold. And the next milestone in an impressive development.

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