The group draws for both competitions were conducted today although it will be two weeks before the next determination on whether everything can proceed on time according to the usual format.
Group A: Dynamo Kursk (Russia), USK Praha (Czech Republic), Fenerbahce (Turkey), Nadezhda Orenburg (Russia), Avenida (Spain), Lyon (France), Arka Gdynia (Poland), winner DVTK (Hungary) vs. Izmit (Turkey)
Group B: Ekaterinburg (Russia), Sopron (Hungary), Bourges (France), Schio (Italy), Riga (Latvia), Galatasaray (Turkey), Landes (France), winner Girona (Spain) vs. Sepsi Sfantu Gheorghe (Romania)
The qualifiers were already determined when the teams were announced so only the groups were picked today. The field could be quite deep this season, but Group A already looks like there will be fun battles to watch. Dynamo Kursk is joined by fellow Russian club Nadezhda Orenburg and USK Praha and Fenerbahce bring plenty of history. Avenida makes their return and will be looking to return to the continent’s elite while Lyon represents the number of teams that have increased their ambition recently. Gdynia will carry the torch for Poland, which will not be sending as many teams to these competitions this season. The qualifier between DVTK and Izmit should add another quality team to this group.
The cancellation of last season will have been the biggest disappointment for Ekaterinburg, which figured to be the overwhelming favorite. They should roll in Group B, but will have their share of competition. Sopron has been impressive in recent seasons while Schio and Bourges figure to be in a position to reach the levels that they have in the past. Landes hopped into France’s third spot, which ended up being a direct place with a smaller field. Galatasaray also benefited from chaos elsewhere to get their chance. Riga will be looking to pull off an upset like last season while trying to advance to the next round as they did in the last full season. Girona will be trying to grab the spot that they feel they could have earned had their domestic league finished while Sepsi will face them in the qualifier feeling like they have nothing to lose.
A: Szekszard (Hungary), Gyor (Hungary), Kayseri (Turkey), Prometey (Ukraine)
B: loser DVTK (Hungary)-Izmit (Turkey), Orman (Turkey), Umea (Sweden), Elitzur Ramla (Israel)
C: Hatay (Turkey), Spartak Moscow (Russia), Cegled (Hungary), Adana (Turkey)
D: MBA Moscow (Russia), Gorzow (Poland), KP Brno (Czech Republic), Elazig (Turkey)
E: Fribourg (Switzerland), Boom (Belgium), Reyer Venezia (Italy), Landerneau (France)
F: Gernika (Spain), winner Clarinos (Spain)-Mechelen (Belgium), Carolo (France), Roche (France)
G: Villeneuve (France), winner Namur (Belgium)-Grengewald Hueschtert (Luxembourg), loser Girona (Spain)-Sepsi Sfantu Gheorghe (Romania), Sedis (Spain)
H: Valencia (Spain), winner Hainaut (France)-Winterthur (Switzerland), Braine (Belgium), Sint-Katelijne-Waver (Belgium)
The first four groups are the Eastern Conference and are complete pending the result of the EuroLeague qualifier. Prometey gives Ukraine representation and they face a group with a Hungarian flavor in A. The loser of the qualifier drops into Group B, which has the biggest travel potential with trips to Umea and Ramla possible. With so many teams from the same countries, Group C will have two Turkish teams. Group D is the only one that at this point has teams from four different countries. While Turkey has a number of teams as usual, Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic will not have the number of teams involved that they have had in recent seasons.
The four groups in the Western Conference are far less settled at this point. Group E is the only one that is set with a good mix of familiar names and upstarts. Group F is awaiting a qualifying winner, but already looks quite tough with a pair of French teams and the possibility of two Spanish clubs as well. Villeneuve and Sedis are awaiting the identity of two remaining teams in Group G. Grengewald Hueschtert has to feel that they got the most favorable possible draw to give Luxembourg a team in the regular season even though Namur will be experienced in this situation. The loser of the EuroLeague qualifier also drops into this group and either one will be considered the early favorite here. The last qualifier winner will be in Group H alongside upstarts Valencia and two Belgian teams, including a Braine team with plenty of recent EuroLeague experience.