Kick-off in the premier class against Efes Istanbul
The 2018/2019 season of the EuroLeague begins as the German champion from Munich faces off at home against 13-time Turkish basketball champion and current cup winner Anadolu Efes Istanbul on this Thursday evening 20:30 CEST. After three years, the Bavarian basketball players are returning to the biggest stage that European basketball has to offer.
However, the format introduced two years ago is new for the Munich team and is considered a real challenge. For example: The EuroLeague gamedays two and three will follow, after the BBL away duel with Braunschweig on Sunday, already next Tuesday at home against the Greek heavyweight Panathinaikos Athens (16.10., 20:30 CEST) and only two days later at FC Barcelona (18.10.).
REVIEW AND OUTLOOK:
It was the 18th of December 2015, the last time the Bavarians lost at in Belgrade after holding a lead against the hosts around a certain red star coach Dejan Radonjic 76-85 and missed the entry into the Top16. Now, almost three years and a competition reform later, a new EuroLeague section begins for Bavaria: Over the next three years, the FCBB will compete with the most renowned club teams in Europe, having already been awarded a wildcard for the year after next and the following year.
The current format is a tough one: the 16 best teams on the continent play in league mode in both the first and second legs. The first eight then make the leap into the knockout phase, in which the four teams play for the coveted Final Four. So far no German team has reached the playoffs.
THE FIRST OPPONENT:
Anadolu Efes Istanbul - The Turkish cup winner has some great names in the squad: Shane Larkin, most recently with the Boston Celtics and also ex-Maverick Rodrigue Beaubois join Bryant Dunston, as some of the most famous players in the EuroLeague. In addition, there will be a reunion with Vasilije Micic. The former Bayern-Point Guard moved from Kaunas to Efes before the season, as did the German national centre Tibor Pleiß. By the way, the Munich team could also settle a score against head coach Ergin Ataman: In 2016, he eliminated them as coach of Galatasaray Istanbul in the EuroCup quarter-finals. Last season, Anadolu finished 16th in the league.
Anadolu has played two competitive games so far, each with success: in the Turkish Supercup, champions Fenerbahce beat Instanbul 65-62, top scorers were Turkish international Dogus Balbay, French FC Barcelona star Adrien Moerman (13 points each) and Croatian veteran Krunoslav Simon (11points).
On Sunday, Galatasaray Istanbul started the league with a derby, which they also won narrowly (73-70). This time Guard Larkin, who had already played for Vítoria in the EuroLeague two years ago, was top scorer with 16 points and the Australian forward Brock Motum. Pleiß hasn't even been used yet; only five international players are allowed in the Turkish league. Efes has nine of them, among which is athletic US-Forward James Anderson, who was signed from Khimki Moscow and has an average of 10.9 points in 89 EuroLeague matches so far. However, there are no regulations in the premier class - Efes will be able to muster his complete squad in the Audi Dome on Thursday.
THE EUROLEAGUE HOME GAMES:
Thursday, 11 October, 20:30: FCBB - Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Tuesday, 16 October, 20:30: FCBB - Panathinaikos Athens
Thursday, 25 October, 20:00.: FCBB - Baskonia Vítoria Gasteiz
Thursday, 8 November, 20:00.: FCBB - Darussafka Istanbul
Friday, 16 November, 20:00.: FCBB - ZSKA Moscow
Tuesday, 20 November, 20:30: FCBB - Olympiakos Piraeus
Thursday, 6 December, 20:30.: FCBB - Khimki Moscow
Friday, 14 December, 20:30: FCBB - Zalgiris Kaunas
Friday, December 21, 30:30.: FCBB - Real Madrid
Friday, 28 December, 20:30: FCBB - Buducnost Podgorica
Friday, 11 January, 20:30: FCBB - Armani Milan
Thursday, 31 January, 20:30: FCBB - Fenerbahce Istanbul
Thursday, 7 March, 20:30: FCBB - Maccabi Tel Aviv
Thursday, 21 March, 20:00: FCBB - FC Barcelona
Friday, 5 April, 20:00 FCBB - Gran Canaria