ratiopharm Ulm history
ratiopharm Ulm has emerged as one of Germany's best-known clubs as it prepares for its seventh straight EuroCup campaign. Ulm is not the first elite basketball team in the city; predecessor SSV Ulm 1846 was competitive for decades and won the German Cup in 1996. SSV folded in 2001 and ratiopharm Ulm was founded shortly thereafter. Thomas Stoll and Andreas Oettel bought SSV's license to start competing in the German second division. The team, which has always been sponsored by pharmaceutical giant ratiopharm, was promoted to the German elite in 2006 after a 29-1 season. By 2008, Ulm made it to the German League playoffs. Robin Benzing became its signature player in 2009-10, but Ulm finished in the bottom half of the league. Everything changed for the better when Coach Thorsten Leibenath and center John Bryant came together and took Ulm to a second-place finish in the 2011-12 regular season. Ulm swept New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg in the playoffs to reach the finals against Brose Baskets. Alas, the fairytale run finished with Bamberg winning the title. Ulm enjoyed a great EuroCup debut season, in which it reached the quarterfinals, the German League semifinals and German Cup final. Bryant was chosen to the 2012-13 All-EuroCup First Team, too. The club returned to the elimination rounds in the 2013-14 EuroCup before losing to Hapoel Jerusalem in the eighthfinals. Ulm reached the German League semifinals in 2014-15 and advanced past the regular season in the EuroCup in each of the next two campaigns. After reaching the 2016 German League finals, Ulm's 30-2 record the following season saw it finish the German League regular season in first place for the first time before falling 3-2 to EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the playoff semifinals. After missing the German League playoffs and the EuroCup Top 16 in 2018, Ulm bounced back in the 2018-19 season. The team collected eight wins in the EuroCup and was one victory away from reaching the playoffs. Ulm returned to the German playoffs, but ALBA Berlin stood in its way in the quarterfinals. Ulm started a new era in 2019 with Jaka Lakovic replacing Thorsten Liebenath as head coach after eight seasons. It reached the German League semifinals in each of the past two seasons, but failed to advance past the regular season in the EuroCup, which is something Ulm will seek to change this time around.