Created on 21-02-2019 at 10:30 AM by Matt Hardy
The break for the FC Bayern basketball team is over: Today, Thursday, the Munich squad will travel to the Spanish capital, where on Friday evening (22.2.) the 23rd gameday in the EuroLeague will take place against the defending champions Real Madrid. The Spanish champions who are currently third in the standings and equal in points with the second place ZSKA Moscow (17-5 victories), is favoured and can secure an early playoff trip with a win. The seventh-placed German champions (11-11) are in a fight for a final spot in the playoffs - only two victories lie between positions seven and twelve - and are hoping for the first participation of a BBL in the playoffs of the premier class.
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The game in Madrid starts at 21:00 MagentaSport and FC Bayern.tv will be broadcast live starting at 20:45 from the "Wizink Center". Next week, the Bavarians will play again on the road, at Montenegro's series champion Podgorica (Fri, 1.3., 19:00), before returning to the Audi Dome after three weeks away for a BBL home game against Eisbären Bremerhaven (Sun, 3.3., 15:00).
"We regenerated this week and then trained hard," coach Dejan Radonjic reported before the departure and said about the opponent: "Real is Real, the champion. Especially there it's hard to stand up to them. But we have a clear expectation that we will play our best game possible." He still doesn't have Stefan Jovic (hip) and Devin Booker. The use of Nihad Djedovic (back) is also uncertain. Radonjic: "We have to see who we will ultimately have at our disposal."
"If you play hard for 40 minutes, anything is possible."
Real have had some exciting days after their memorable defeat in the Spanish Cup final of the Copa del Rey tournament in their own hall against their archrival FC Barcelona (94-93). Madrid were 58-41 ahead in the third quarter quarter before Barça started a their epic comeback and finally triumphed after extra time amid fierce debates about the referees.
Bayern Guard Petteri Koponen - who also won the trophy last year with Barcelona against Real - knows what tomorrow's game will bring: "This game is a big challenge for us. But we want to keep up and if you play hard for 40 minutes, anything is possible. We lack some players, but that's part of it. We have to defend the pick and roll better this time than we did in the first matchup when Randolph, for example, had too many free shots from the corner."
The first duel was won by Real's Allstar team in the Audi Dome 82-72. The top scorer of the 34-time Spanish champion was the aforementioned US Forward Anthony Randolph (13.4 ppg). The FCBB will also have to stop the outstanding centers Gustavo Ayon (8.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Walter Tavares (6.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg). The most influential player perhaps is the agile Argentinian Facundo Campazzo (9.5 ppg, 4.5 apg).
"This is an incredibly well staffed team that also plays very creatively and is incredibly strong in defense," summarized FCBB Guard Maodo Lo. "Away at Real is one of the most difficult tasks in the EuroLeague. At the same time, however, we want to believe in ourselves and try to win."
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