By Jakub Wojczyński/ firstname.lastname@example.org
There can’t be many worse situations than playing your first ever Euroleague home game in a different city that the one you are based in. And that is going to happen with PGE Turów Zgorzelec. Polish champions will face Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in Lubin, not Zgorzelec.
Turów is member of Polish league since 2004 and made it to the finals five times, but its current arena looks old and it’s definitely not suitable to host big basketball events. On the other hand its 1500 seats capacity was enough for a city with about 32000 inhabitants (which is second smallest number in history of Euroleague, only Krka’s Novo Mesto has less people). The team is constantly one of the best in Poland, so the city of Zgorzelec in cooperation with the club finally began construction of a new arena. It was supposed to be finished during summer 2014 and as you may have already realized – it wasn’t. Right now they are trying to prepare the new arena for at least one or two Euroleague regular season games.
Turów could consider many different locations including Liberec, Zielona Góra and Wrocław. Liberec is a city on the Czech side of the border, where Turów played Eurocup games a couple years ago. The Tipsport Arena of Liberec is the closest high standard arena to Zgorzelec, but apparently it had some technical problems, or that’s the official version at least. In the past Turów also played Eurocup games in Zielona Góra, but it was definitely not an option this time as tension between Turów and Zielona Góra’s Stelmet grew recently during last season finals.
Lubin could be a surprising option as it’s situated 105 km from Zgorzelec and has no basketball traditions. But the arena operators are keen to host any event and they previously manage to persuade Polish federation to bring there EuroBasket 2015 qualifiers’ crucial game vs. Austria. It proved to be a great decision as fans involvement was arguably the best of all NT games this summer. Turów management members hope it will be the same when the team faces Fenerbahce although it could be definitely hard to play in a gym which you really don’t know. Not to mention that last season finals MVP Filip Dylewicz is still injured and two more players Michał Chyliński, Łukasz Wiśniewski may also miss the game. Turów was already the obvious underdog after the draw and now it’s safe to say that when it rains, it pours…