Created on 15-10-2018 at 11:09 AM by Matt Hardy
It is the first major highlight of the EuroLeague season: The second game of the premier class, the Greek champion and title contender Panathinaikos Athens will visit Munich. The match in the Audi Dome starts on Tuesday (16.10.) at 20:30. Including two national championship titles in 1996 and 2000, Panathinaikos has been crowned as European champs six times. They also won the national title this spring with the final victory over archrival Olympiakos Piräus.
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Munich residents will get a nice view of this top league and what should be an exciting matchup: After a clear loss against Efes Istanbul last week and a matchup vs FC Barcelona on Thursday, the Bayern squad will need to stay focused to compete in this difficult schedule. This week will end on Sunday, October 21st at 18:00 with a BBL home match against Telekom Baskets Bonn, the fourth match within eight days.
"The new EuroLeague format has drastically increased the quality of the squad", FCBB Sports Director Daniele Baiesi stated before the second round about the level of competition. "Of course, the Efes game was a wake-up call and a disappointment, but we must not forget that nine of our twelve players are playing in this competition for the first time.
Meanwhile, coach Dejan Radonjic has analysed the next opponent: "Panathinaikos has been one of the best clubs in Europe for years, they have won six times already and this year they are again a candidate for the title", he said after Bayern's convincing 87-61 victory over BBL stalwart, Braunschweig. "They have excellent players and play very physically and with a lot of experience. Like this game, the whole week will be a big challenge since we meet Barcelona and Bonn afterwards. It's the first time for Bayern that we have two EuroLeague games in one week. After this week, we will be able to analyse how we did and where we stand."
Basketball at Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos has been around since 1922, and the "Greens", with a total of 61 titles, are the most successful club in Greece, where basketball is a top priority; Panathinaikos always provides the framework for the national team. The club is run by charismatic and wealthy owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos.
Langford supports leader Calathes
The leader of the team headed by Spanish coach Xavi Pascual (previously FC Barcelona) is Nick Calathes. The 29-year-old enters his seventh season in Athens, his stay in the capital was interrupted only a few years ago by a season in Krasnodar and two stints in the NBA for the Memphis Grizzlies (138 games, 4.5 ppg). Last season, the Greek international stood out with 14.5 points and eight assists per game.
Another backcourt pro is Keith Langford. The 34-year-old American is also a seasoned veteran with 119 games in the EuroLeague (Kazan, Milan, Maccabi and Khimki) and his current average of 17.1 points is the fourth best in the history of the competition.
Opening win over Maccabi Tel Aviv
The Athens top scorer in the contested 89-84 opening victory in front of 10,150 fans over Maccabi Tel Aviv was the experienced Belgian forward Matt Lojeski (20), ahead of Langford (13), Thanis Antetokounmpo (10) and DeShaun Thomas (Tel Aviv/9). In their home league they also started successfully with two wins and on Saturday they won the prestige duel with Aris Saloniki 84-70. Top scorer this time was Thomas (15) ahead of Lojeski (11), the new Center Stephane Lasme (from Kazan/10) and the Lithuanian Lukas Lekavicius (9).
FCBB Vice-Captain Vladimir Lucic says: "We are hosting a great team that is certainly one of the best in the competition in terms of athleticism. They have a lot of experience at this level. That's why we have to be serious right from the start. It will be very difficult, but we will try everything to fight back after our first home defeat".
Nihad Djedovic, Bayern's top scorer in game one with 17 points, added: "Of course, it's a tough second task to face such an opponent after our unsuccessful start. But we want to play against the best, and Panathinaikos is one of the title favorites. We can now show what we learned from the first game. If we defend better, we'll be in the game."