Bayern begins 2020 against Red Star Belgrade
New Year, old-fashioned scheduling madness: At 9 o'clock in the morning on New Year's Day, the FC Bayern Basketball team gathered at the Audi Dome to set off for Serbia after a short New Year's Eve. On Thursday evening, the German champions will compete in the Euroleague with Adria League champions, Red Star Belgrade. For the Munich squad, the game is the start of a very intense month of January with nine games - six of them on the road. Already on Sunday afternoon, the BBL league leader will make a guest appearance in Vechta (15:00 CET).
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The game in Belgrade will start at 19:00 and MagentaSport will broadcast live like every Bayern game. The next home appearance for the Munich team will be against EuroLeague titleholders ZSKA Moscow in the Audi Dome on January 10th (20:30 CET).
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After a great win in Bamberg (82-76) - without Danilo Barthel and Leon Radosevic - the FCBB will meet a team in the 20,000 spectator Belgrade Stark Arena that has developed very positively in the past weeks after some personnel changes. With a record of 7-9, Red Star is one win ahead of Bayern. Their most recent victory was in Russia for the first time ever, 65-58 in Saint Petersburg.
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For a good five weeks now Dragan Sakota, 67, has been coaching his home club again. In 2018 he led AEK Athens to win the "Champions League" and the Greek Cup. And five victories from the last seven games have apparently raised his ambitions in the Serbian capital, as two more notable players were signed at short notice. US guard Kevin Punter, previously Olympiakos Piraeus (6.8 ppg), will make his debut for Red Star against Bayern, while the well-known Serbian center, Vladimir Stimac (2014/15) has just returned from Fenerbahce Istanbul. Koper recently replaced Jagodic Kuridza. Prior to the season, the most famous player was longtime Panathinaikos forward James Gist (7.6/4.9 rpg).
Bayern coach Dejan Radonjic, who successfully coached Red Star from 2013 to 2017, said: "First of all, I wish everyone a happy new year 2020. It will be an interesting game in front of certainly well over 10,000 fans and in a familiar intense atmosphere. Red Star have changed their squad once again and is in good shape. We know what we have to look out for there. But I hope that we will present ourselves in a good way. I expect a physical, close game."
The traditional club is led by US duo Billy Baron (13.1ppg) and Lorenzo Brown (14.1), who have increased their average in the last six game to almost 21 points.
In addition to Radonjic, DeMarcus Nelson (2013/14) and Center Mathias Lessort (2017/18) will also experience a return to their old place of work. Bavaria's Serbian co-captain Vladimir Lucic said: "Once again we will be meeting a very strong home team that's highly motivated but one that is even more quality than Bamberg. Red Star has a really good team that has developed well. It will be a tough task, but of course we want to win."
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