Frankfurt 2013: Men’s team previews

A team-by-team breakdown of the men’s squads competing at the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball European Championships. 25 Jun 2013
Simon Munn

Great Britain's Simon Munn tries to block Germany's Sebastian Magenheim during a preliminary round game at the London 2012 Paralympics.

ⒸGetty Images
By Nate Williams | For the IPC

Great Britian are the defending European champions on the men's side, having beaten Germany for the title in 2011.

Editor’s note: The IWBF Wheelchair Basketball Championships will run from 28 June-7 July in Frankfurt, Germany. Here we feature the 12 men’s team’s competing. Stay tuned later this week for a preview of the women’s teams.

Pool A


Hosts Germany will be hoping to gain some revenge in front of their home crowd this year after they lost the 2011 final to Great Britain in Nazareth by 76-65.

They take on Great Britain in the opening game of the tournament and will be looking for top scorer Dirk Passiwan to guide them to victory.

European Championship medals: Silver (1999, 2011) Bronze (1989, 2001, 2007)

Paralympic medals: Silver (1992)

Head Coach: Nicolai Zeltinger

Key Players: Dirk Passiwan (forward), Jan Haller (guard)

Great Britain

Reigning European champions Great Britain will be hoping to bounce back from their fourth place finish at the London Paralympics and will be led by new captain Abdi Jama who takes the reigns from the retired Jon Pollock, and new head coach Haj Bhania.

European Championship medals: Gold (1971, 1974, 1995, 2011) Silver (1993, 1997, 2005, 2007) Bronze (1970, 1991, 2003, 2009)

Paralympic medals: Silver (1960, 1964, 1996) Bronze (1968, 2004, 2008)

Head coach: Haj Bhania

Key players: Terry Bywater (forward), Abdi Jama (guard)


Italy are always a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the Europeans. The three-time European champions have plenty of talent in the form of powerful centre Matteo Cavagnini and fast playmaker Galliano Marchionni.

European Championship medals: Gold (2003, 2005, 2009)

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Clifford William Fisher Jr.

Key players: Matteo Cavagnini (centre), Galliano Marchionni (guard)


The Netherlands have a long and successful history with this tournament. Now, coach Gertjan van der Linden, a Paralympic gold medallist from 1992, leads the team that have a healthy mix of youth and experience which, could see them claim a record-breaking 14th medal.

European Championship medals: Gold (1993) Silver (1974, 1977, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001, 2003) Bronze (1971, 1978, 1981, 1995, 1999)

Paralympic medals: Gold (1992) Silver (1980, 1984, 1988, 2000)

Head coach: Gertjan van der Linden

Key players: Anton De Rooij (forward), Robin Poggenswich (guard)


Switzerland are an unknown quantity as they haven’t competed in a World or Paralympic tournament since 1984. However, the team’s efforts last year saw them grasp bronze in a highly competitive European Division B tournament.

European Championship medals: None

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Stefan Donner

Key players: Matthias Suter (forward), Nicolas Hausamann (guard)


The Belgians are led by former Germany coach Frits Wiegmann who will be hoping they can improve on their eighth-place finish from 2011.

European Championship medals: Gold (1970) Bronze (1987)

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Frits Wiegmann

Key players: Sam Bader, Tanguy Six

Pool B


Spain earned a bronze medal at the last European championships with a 71-65 victory over Poland. After an impressive attacking display in London, they were just one win away from competing for a medal as they finished fifth.

European championship medals: Silver (1995) Bronze (2011)

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Oscar Trigo Diez

Key players: Diego De Paz Pazo, Ismael Garcia Moreno


Turkey are a team that are growing in size and strength every year. After winning a silver medal at the 2009 Europeans and a respectable finish at the World Championships the following year, Turkey made their Paralympic debut at London 2012.

European Championship medals: Silver (2009)

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Mehmet Onut

Key players: Ozgur Gurbalak, Cem Gezinci


Prominent Poland will be aiming for a podium position this year after the team have finished fourth at the last two tournaments.

European Championship medals: None

Paralympic medals: None

Head coach: Piotr Luszynski (also player)

Key players: Mateusz Filipski, Marcin Balcerowski


Israel were the first team to win three consecutive European gold medals between 1977 and 1981. Their coach Ariel Ottolenghi is in his first year with the team and looks to build on their seventh place finish in their native town of Nazareth two years ago.

European Championship medals: Gold (1977, 1978, 1981) Silver (1982)

Paralympic medals: Gold (1968) Silver (1972, 1976) Bronze (1960, 1964)

Head coach: Ariel Ottolenghi

Key players: Lior Dror (forward), Roei Rozenberg (forward)


Sweden have been competing in major tournaments since 1968 and their last medal was a European gold one in 2007. Coach Malik Abes guided their under-22 team to a European final last year and will be looking to achieve a similar feat in Frankfurt.

European Championship medals: Gold (2007) Bronze (1982, 2005)

Paralympic medals: Bronze (1984)

Head coach: Malik Abes

Key players: Hussein Haidari, Joakim Lindblom


France have not competed in the Paralympics since 2004. However, the seven-time European champions and 2010 World Championship silver medallists have made a strong comeback in recent years after dominating the European Division B tournament last year.

European Championship medals: Gold (1982, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001) Silver (1970, 1971, 1978, 1981) Bronze (1977, 1993)

Paralympic medals: Gold (1984) Bronze (1976, 1988, 1992)

Head coach: David Schoenacker

Key players: Nicolas Jouanserre, Sofyane Mehiauoi