The second of the three two game windows for qualification will take place on Saturday and Wednesday. Teams will be looking to grab that top spot in their group, which guarantees passage to the main tournament in the Czech Republic. After those nine teams join the hosts, six more teams will qualify as group runners up after comparing their records against the first and third place teams in the group. For several teams, these games take on added meaning as they know that they will have more basketball to play this summer. Serbia will be looking to continue to build cohesion ahead of the Olympics while other teams still need to qualify, meaning that preparations now could be critical to success later.
In Group A, the two undefeated teams will face each other on Saturday to try and gain an advantage as Slovenia welcomes Latvia to Celje. On Wednesday, Latvia makes the trip to Kedainiai as neighbors Lithuania look for their first win.
In Group B, the Netherlands looks to continue its momentum from earlier, but face a tricky trip to Tallinn against winless Estonia. The other game on Saturday sees undefeated France try to navigate their most difficult remaining game visiting Croatia in Slavonski Brod. France completes the road trip on Wednesday in Tallinn while Croatia will be looking to pull themselves back into the picture when they host the Dutch in Osijek.
In Group C, two undefeated teams headline Saturday’s slate as Montenegro visits Italy in Schio. Great Britain welcomes Albania to Manchester as both teams look for their first wins and a chance to fight their way back into the picture. On Wednesday, Italy should have an easy time at Albania in Tirana, but Montenegro will continue their toughest stretch with their trip to Manchester with the British team certainly looking to take advantage.
In Group D, Saturday will provide some answers about who may top the group when Ukraine hosts Serbia in Kiev in a battle of unbeatens. The mood will be different in Nordlingen as Germany should be able to find a way past Luxembourg as both teams search for their first wins. On Wednesday, Germany welcomes Serbia to Wasserburg and will look to bounce back from a torrid time in the corresponding game at the home of the champions. Ukraine will visit Luxembourg in Oberanven and will expect an easy win.
In Group E, Portugal hosts Iceland with both teams looking for a win in Ilhavo. The other game on Saturday will be and early indicator for the top spot in the group as Hungary brings Slovak Republic to Pecs. Hungary must make the long trip to Reykjavik on Wednesday as Iceland will be looking utilize their home court advantage. Slovak Republic finishes off their road swing with a trip to Ilhavo to face Portugal.
In Group F, the Saturday clash of unbeatens will take place in Halkida as Greece hosts Russia. Bulgaria will host Switzerland in Ruse as both teams try to extend their slim chances of qualification with their first wins. Russia will make the trip to Ruse on Wednesday while Greece visits Fribourg in Switzerland as both visitors will believe that they should pick up wins easily.
In Group G, Belgium looks for their first win on Saturday as Poland visits Namur. A win there, and Poland will be in good shape on Wednesday when they travel to Minsk to take on a Belarus side that will certainly be looking to avenge a difficult defeat in their earlier matchup.
In Group H, two undefeated teams battle in Cluj as Turkey visits Romania. Also on Saturday, Israel and Bosnia and Herzegovina each look for their first win in Tel Aviv. The group leaders both head out on the road for Wednesday as Turkey heads to Tel Aviv to face Israel while Romania visits Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Group I, Finland and Sweden will both be looking for the win on Saturday as the rivals square off in Helsinki. Spain will be in prime position on Wednesday if they beat Sweden in Logrono.