One of the very best clubs in France this century, Le Mans Sarthe Basket returns to the Eurocup after a year away. Last season was a good one for the team; it reached the French League semifinals and the Leaders Cup final, but lost both of those against Strasbourg. Le Mans also advanced to the FIBA EuroChallenge quarterfinals. Started as a women's club in 1939, Le Mans opened a men's basketball team in 1952. Le Mans qualified for the top French League in 1963 and won the French Cup in 1964. Le Mans made its debut in European competitions in the 1974-75 Saporta Cup and its first French League championship came in 1978. The team successfully defended the crown a year later, then made it to three more finals and won it all again in 1982 with players like Floyd Allen, Hevre Dubuisson, Greg and Eric Beugnot, Olivier Veyrat and Bob Purkhiser playing major roles. Le Mans played the Euroleague's first group stage in 1978-79 and 1979-80, but soon faced tough times and was even relegated to the second division. Le Mans returned to the forefront in 2003-04, when it won the French Cup and made its ULEB Cup debut, which started a run of 11 straight seasons in one of Europe’s top two competitions. The team did even better in 2005-06 by winning both the French League and Semaine des As titles with local legend Vincent Collet as head coach. That success led to the first of three consecutive Euroleague appearances in 2006-07. Le Mans did not reach the Top 16 on any of those three occasions. In the 2008-09 season, Le Mans lifted more trophies: the French Cup and the Semaine des As. Over the next five years, Le Mans made as many Eurocup appearances, but never got past the Last 16. At home, it played in the French League finals in 2010 and 2012 and lifted the Leaders Cup trophy in 2014. After another solid campaign, Le Mans now returns to the Eurocup and hopes it will return to lifting trophies, too.