Radonjic heads to familiar territory
Wed, 27/02/19, 12:50
Difficult game in Montenegro
FC Bayern basketball players face a key game on the 24th gameday of the EuroLeague: With an away win in Montenegro over Adria League champion Buducnost Podgorica on Friday (March 1st, 19:00), the German champions would get back to .500 (11:12) and remain in the race for a play-off spot. But the task is a difficult one and the hosts have won six straight games at home in front of their frenetic fans and celebrated sensational successes: a 99-84 against Baskonia Vítoria, a 93-92 against ZSKA Moscow, 67-64 against FC Barcelona - and a clear 73-60 win against defending champions Real Madrid. The Bavarians, however, have a knowledgeable travel guide on board: coach Dejan Radonjic comes from Podgorica and achieved great success there as a player and coach.
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MagentaSport and FC.Bayern.tv will broadcast live starting at 18:45 from the Moraca Arena, which holds 5,000 spectators. After their mission in the EuroLeague, the Bavarians will also celebrate a return home: After three weeks "on the road" they will play again in the Audi Dome, on Sunday in a BBL duel vs Bremerhaven (3.3., 15:00). On Thursday, the next EuroLeague home game against the direct playoff competitor Maccabi Tel Aviv (March 7th , 20:30.) will follow in the hall at Westpark.
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"Buducnost has been playing in the EuroLeague again for a long time, which creates a great basketball atmosphere throughout the country and in the city," said Bayern coach Radonjic. "The hall is full at every game, which is why they play so excellently at home. They've also brought in a new coach and other new players - they have a good team that will undoubtedly give us a tough game."
Co-Captain Vladimir Lucic, formerly with Partizan Belgrade, also knows his next opponent well: "A tough hall, there you have to be focused and physical", said the FCBB-Forward. And continued: "We didn't win in the last games, but we knew that the second half of the EuroLeague would be even harder because of the many road games. But we have no pressure, we have sold ourselves well so far. But if you are competitive at the end and the playoffs are possible, you want to do everything you can to win the next game. And that's how we're going to do it in Podgorica now, with courage and confidence."
The hosts are now being looked after by Croatian Jasmin Repesa (previously two years with Milan). He started his service after the 93-88 loss at the end of December in Munich, where Podgorica had led at one point by 16 points. The squad has also undergone major changes, with two-time NBA champion Norris Cole (2012 and 2013 with Miami) scoring almost 20 points per game since joining the team at the end of the year, and the 19-year-old Georgian centre Goga Bitadze (13.1 ppg 6.6 rpg). The most recent acquisition is US Center Devin Williams who just came from Turkey and made his debut last week at the Kaunas defeat with ten points and eight rebounds.
Before things official tip-off, local hero Radonjic should be given a warm welcome: He has a long history with Podgorica , "but now it's the first time it's a EuroLeague game, that's special, of course," said the 49-year-old. The former Titograd is his birthplace, where he started as a youngster and made his professional debut for KK Buducnost at the age of 17. He played for the current capital club for a total of six years (1991 to 1993 and 1998 to 2002/three times Yugoslavian champion, twice cup winner, semi-final Saporta Cup 1999), the last three in the EuroLeague (23 games, 6.9 ppg). His coaching career also began at Moraca, first as assistant coach (2005/06), before he led the club six times to the double as head coach in 2006.
Dejan Radonjic (right; Podgorica) against Dejan Bodiroga (left; Panathinaikos) in the EL-Top16 game
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