Created on 02-01-2019 at 11:20 AM by Matt Hardy
The basketball year 2019 will be opened in the EuroLeague on Thursday at 18:30 CET with FC Bayern's duel against the Turkish fourth-placed Anadolu Efes Istanbul. The hosts inflicted a severe home loss to the German champions in October 90-71 but a lot has happened since then. At the time, Final Four contender Efes was second with only one defeat but in the meantime have lost four of their last five games and are now 9-6 and just ahead of the Bavarians, who could even catch up with an upset win at the Sinan Erdem Dome.
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For the BBL leaders, however, the game is also the start of a difficult return series with only five home games and ten road matchups, including trips to Athens in January and two trips to Moscow.
Next derby against Bayreuth on Sunday
Telekom Sport and FC Bayern.tv will broadcast live from the Turkish capital on Thursday at 18:15 CET. In the German Bundesliga, the Bavarians, who are still undefeated after their strong-willed performance in Bamberg (80-75), will continue on Sunday afternoon (6.1., 15:00) with their next rivalry game against Bayreuth who are fifth in league standings.
"Efes has a great team this season, so we have a difficult game waiting for us", FCBB coach Dejan Radonjic said, looking ahead. "They played outstandingly in our first matchup. We have to present ourselves differently this time if we want to be at eye level".
Center Leon Radosevic, who had shone in Bamberg with 13 points and strong defense, also hopes for a learning effect from the first encounter: "The first game against Efes was a lesson for us but we showed afterwards that we can do better and learn from our mistakes. Our goal is exactly that: to appear much stronger and more physical than back then. Then everything is always possible."
In the first matchup, the 13-time Turkish champion consistently hit their shots and had an outstanding 60% from three. The top scorer so far has been the French former NBA Guard Rodrigue Beaubois (14.0 ppg), and the former Bayern playmaker Vasilije Micic (11.6 ppg, 5.5 apg) has also played a strong round so far.
In the domestic TBL, Efes managed a 104-76 win over Karsiyaka last Sunday, which strengthened their second place standing behind champion Fenerbahce. The top scorer was Forward Brock Motum (25); the German Center Tibor Pleiß was again not used due to the rule for foreigners (Efes has nine international players on the squad).
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