"Can hardly wait"

Playoffs begin vs Braunschweig

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The players are eagerly awaiting their shot for back-to-back championships after three weeks of intensive training.  The 2019 playoffs for the FC Bayern Munich basketball team will finally begin on Saturday evening  (May 18th) with the first home game of the quarter-finals series (best-of-five) against the Lions of Braunschweig. Tip-off is at 20:30  in the AUDI Dome. "We've been training really hard over the last few weeks and will be ready," Captain Danilo Barthel said before the start, "we can hardly wait for it to finally start."

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They know for themselves that the Bavarians are the favorites. "The first game is important for the opening of the series and in the playoffs there are no weak opponents", record-breaker Nihad Djedovic warned. Barthel, on the other hand, recalls the veritable shock moments a year ago against Frankfurt (3-2), when they were suddenly behind 2-1 after their second home game: "We saw there that in the first round it can go backwards quickly."

While the Bavarians were early winners of the regular season, the Lower Saxons used their against Bayreuth (100-85) on the 34th gameday to jump up to the eighth spot and that without their outstanding big man Scott Eatherton (17.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg). The center is also out for the series against Bayern but the guests were able to compensate for his absence against Frankfurt and will hope to do the same in this series. For Braunschweig it is the first playoff participation since 2012.

"Braunschweig deserves to be in the playoffs, they have individual quality and are strong in transition," said head coach Dejan Radonjic and immediately added what he expects from the important first duel: "We have to show a much, much better defense than we did in Bonn,"

"Our goal is to win the last game of the season, but there is still a long way to go."

In this context, sports director Daniele Baiesi also recalled the second defeat in the 2018 quarter-finals against the Frankfurt Skyliners. "It was an instructive experience and it was the time to get things together," said the Italian, "I almost think we wouldn't have become champions without this loss. We only lost three games in the season, one against the Vechta and the coach of the year and two very close games. And of course the title is the vision, our ambition - but our goal is not in getting there."

The Bavarians are well prepared in terms of personnel: "I think everyone will be there for the first game except for Robin Amaize," said coach Radonjic. Leon Radosevic (foot) recently returned to training.

Number games
On offense the Lions play a modern style of basketball under outgoing coach Frank Menz and scored the most three-pointers goals in the regular season behind only Crailsheim and Vechta but shot a very low 34.4% (lowest in the league). They are strong on the boards as well while Bayern, with 31.9 rebounds per game get the fewest boards in their history. Braunschweig (36.6 rpg) is the second best team on the boards. 

Key players
Given the injury to Eatherton there will be a lot of a lot of pressure on Point Guard DeAndre Landsdowne. With 19.2 points per game, the veteran player was the third best scorer in the league and is strong on defense with 1.7 steals per game).

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