Created on 30-01-2019 at 08:00 AM by Matt Hardy
It is probably the most difficult game ever and at the same time the simplest: When the Bayern basketball players host Fenerbahce Istanbul at the Audi Dome in Munich on Thursday evening (31.1., 20:30), they have nothing to lose against the title favorite of the EuroLeague. Perhaps the best group of stars that has been in the game for years will prove a hard test for the German champions. However, the Bundesliga league leader should be encouraged by their solid EuroLeague record of ten victories, and the team of coach Dejan Radonjic was already close to a huge upset win (88-84) in the first matchup at the beginning of November.
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The second matchup, this time in the Audi Dome is already sold out with 6.500 spectators. MagentaSport and the club channel FC Bayern.tv will broadcast live starting at 20:15 CET from the hall at Westpark. In the BBL, the Bavarians will play their next home game against Jena on Saturday evening (2.2., 20:30).
The EuroLeague has published a quote from Joffrey Lauvergne on Instagram this week, the French center of Fenerbahce Istanbul: "We never have a meeting where we are told 'okay, our goal is to win the EuroLeague'. Because that's not necessary because everyone knows that's our main goal."
That tells a lot about the Turkish star ensemble around the very lively coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic, 58, who has already won the highest European club trophy nine times as a coach (and the 1990 World Cup as a national player). Four times in a row "Fener" has reached the Final Four with him; in 2017 they won the title for the first time, last year the final was close against Real Madrid (85-80). They have also won the last three championship titles in Turkey.
"You have to show your best game eve"
After two thirds of a regular season, Fenerbahce is considered the top favorite among the class teams in the league. With only two losses in 18 games, they clearly lead the standings - and with another win in Munich, they can already qualify as the first team for the playoffs.
"Fenerbahce has played an excellent season so far, very consistently in the Turkish league as well as in the EuroLeague," Radonjic said, paying tribute to the guests. "This will be a tough game for us, but it's also a great opportunity to compete with the best team. In the first matchup it was very tight, we played very well and still lost. Against them you have to play the best you are able to on both sides of the court."
Bayern-Forward Vladimir Lucic, recently in top form at the away win in Bayreuth (21 points), faces the difficult task calmly. The Serbian forward said: "We have mastered a very difficult week well with three road victories. Now we have a few days to prepare for Fenerbahce. They are one of the best, if not the best team in Europe, with a great coach who guarantees the Final Four participation to every team he coaces. Fenerbahce has been great all season. But we looked very good in the first mathcup, which gives us the confidence that we can surprise them with a good performance here as well. But there's no question that they're clearly the favorites."
The topscorer for Fenerbahces is the potential MVP Jan Vesely, the Czech center is the fifth shooter in the league with an average of 14.4 points and an additional 5.6 rebounds. The Greek Guard Kostas Sloukas (11.6 ppg, 4.7 apg) has also had an outstanding season. Luigi Datome, Nicolo Melli, Ali Muhammed or even Center Lauvergne (8.3 ppg) are also all able to dominate a game. In the first matchup, Marko Guduric (8.8 ppg), with a lead of just one point in the final minute, decided the game for the favorites with a big-time three-pointer to clinch the win
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