Created on 23-10-2018 at 14:37 PM by Matt Hardy
For game four of the EuroLeague this Thursday evening (25 October,20:00.), the Audi Dome will once again present the very highest quality: Baskonia Vítoria-Gasteiz's team has been one of the strongest clubs in Europe for almost two decades, and the record of the Spanish runners-up is impressive. Two final appearances and four appearances in the semi-finals attest to the consistently high level of the team from the northern Spanish city of Vítoria with its 250,000 inhabitants. Only once (2011/2012) since the introduction of the EuroLeague they didn't make to to at least the top 16 and the playoffs.
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After two difficult games against Olympiakos Piraeus and defending champion Real Madrid - like Bayern - the guests have a 1-2 record. In the Spanish elite league, however, they swept the visitors from Murcia 93-49 at home in front of 8,500 fans on the weekend and with 4-1 local record they are behind only the two undefeated teams of Real and FC Barcelona.
Reunion with international Johannes Voigtmann
Baskonia coach Pedro Martinez, who surprisingly led Valencia to the national title in 2017, took over the team last season after a weak start to the season. With a winning streak in the EuroLeague, the team again reached the playoffs until Fenerbahce Istanbul (3-1) took them down. In the ACB, Vítoria and Germany's Johannes Voigtmann, after a semi-final victory over FC Barcelona (3-1), advanced to the play-off finals where Real Madrid (3-1) finally won.
"I had the chance to play for coach Martinez (2015/16 in Valencia) and I know his style," said Bayern forward Vladimir Lucic. "He bases things off a great defense and a physicality. For me, Baskonia is once again one of the strongest teams in the EuroLeague, with chances of reaching the Final Four, which this time even takes place in Vítoria. Their big men especially are among the best in the EuroLeague. In any case, it will be very difficult for us."
Coach Dejan Radonjic sees it similarly, he says: "With the Final Four in Vítoria they have an additional motivation this year. Their successful team of the last few years has stayed together, even a Shengelia was held again, which is of course important for them. To this end, they have committed two excellent players. Although some of them are still young, they still have a lot of experience in the squad - it will be a really hard game for us".
The very successful team from the last few years has been supplemented by only three new players: former NBA professional Darrun Hilliard (Detroit, San Antonio), former Frankfurter, Shavon Shields and Bosnian cenert Ajdin Penaval. The top scorer so far is the Georgian star center, Tornike Shengelia (16.5 ppg) ahead of Guard Jayson Granger (16). Johannes Voigtmann, who will see his buddy Danilo Barthel again on Thursday, will continue to be part of the fixed rotation.
Severe knee joint contusion in FCBB captain
The FCBB captain is questionable after a knee injury suffered in the top match against Bonn (102-91). Nevertheless, there is great relief in the Bavarian camp, as the doctors did not find any ligament tears or fractures. In view of a severe knee joint bruise, however, a decision must now be made from day to day about the strain on the national player," stresses coach Radonjic.
"If Danilo can't play and also can't chat with Jo Voigtmann, that would be a shame, of course," explained teammate Alex King, ''he's a very important player for us. But we have 14 professionals who can help at this level, and for Jo it's still always nice to play back home. But we want to try to make it as hard as possible for him on the floor."
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