"The EuroLeague is still incredibly valuable to us"

Bayern wants the road victory in Russia at St. Petersburg

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A duel at Zenit Saint Petersburg is up next for the Bayern basketball players in the EuroLeague. The German champions will play in the port city on the Russian Baltic Sea early on Thursday evening (February 27th, 18:00) and they're determined to move up from the 18th place in the standings with an away win. After 25 games, both teams have seven wins to their name.  

The Munich team continues to have injury concerns: The MVP of last year's BBL finals, Nihad Djedovic, will definitely be absent. His ankle is still immobilized until the beginning of next week, after which the schedule for his return should be more concrete. The return of the Finnish long-distance shooter Petteri Koponen (thigh) is also not scheduled for the next few days. Center Mathias Lessort will return to the squad.

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On Sunday a top BBL game against Oldenburg with Hobbs and Amaize   
The game in St. Petersburg starts at 18:00 and MagentaSport will broadcast live as usual. On Sunday (1.3.) Bayern will have to pass an important stress test in the Bundesliga in the fight for the regular season victory.  Cup finalist Oldenburg around Braydon Hobbs and Robin Amaize will compete in the Audi Dome at 18:00. Next Wednesday (March 4th), the BBL leaders will then receive the Spanish representative Baskonia Vítoria-Gasteiz in the EuroLeague with tip-off at 20:30. 

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"Saint Petersburg has a new coach, it's their second home game with him and they will be highly motivated because of that", said FCBB coach Oliver Kostic. "The most important thing for us there and in the coming weeks is to improve our game. For example, our transition offense and that we play even more aggressively on defense with more physicality and intensity."

Zenit has just changed coaches: Joan Plaza was replaced by his Spanish compatriot Xavi Pascual, 47, one of the most successful coaches of the younger generation. He coached for a decade with FC Barcelona, including the professionals starting in 2008, whom he led to the Final Four five times in a row, and to the title in the premier class in 2010 (plus four Spanish championships). His last two years, until December 2018, he sat on the bench at Panathinaikos Athens.

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Pascual's debut a week ago failed as Alba Berlin won 83-81. Alex Renfroe, the former Bayern-Guard (6.3 ppg, 4.8 apg) was missing at that time, but could return after a knee injury on Thursday. Top scorer is former Real Madrid center Gustavo Ayon (12.7 ppg) ahead of US forward Will Thomas (10.8). TJ Bray will also meet his colleague from Vechta from last year, Austin Hollins (9.5). In the home victory (77-69), the Bayern-Guard was still missing with an injury.

"Take as many positive experiences as possible with you".
"Zenit is playing very physically, but of course we hope in this duel of the 17th against the 18th that we can finally achieve an away win outside Germany," said captain Danilo Barthel. "Our goal is to take as many positive experiences as possible from the EuroLeague with us for the final spurt in the BBL".

Maodo Lo said: "Under the new coach, Zenit plays more in the low-post through Thomas and they defend a little harder, they make more pressure with a lot of physicality. That's what we will expect and we have prepared ourselves for that. We still want to get as many victories as possible and as a team to come together even more on a new level, to find our rhythm. Even though the playoffs are now out of reach, the EuroLeague is still incredibly valuable for us. Because we want to take something from the games for the playoffs in the Bundesliga."

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