The big preview of the "strongest EuroLeague ever"
After the resounding 111-53 victory in front of 5,700 fans in the Audi Dome over newcomer Hamburg to start the BBL season, the new EuroLeague season for the Bayern basketball team begins only three days later. Armani Olimpia Milan will be the first opponent in the premier league on Thursday evening (3.10., 20:30 CEST). The top European league has been increased to 18 teams for the first time this year. French double winner Villeurbanne and Russia's Zenit St. Petersburg will be competing in the highest European competition for the first time, while Alba Berlin will take part in the most coveted European competition for the first time in five years thanks to the Munich title.
They are all rather outsiders in the fight for the playoffs with the best eight teams. Even the Bavarians, who had 14 victories last season and were as successful as any other German team in history - and basically only one victory away from the knockout round - are not even considered as playoff candidates by the experts.
Nihad jumps through the EuroLeague levels - Super Mario Style!
The underdog status isn't really due to the composition of the Munich team, "with this squad we would probably have made the playoffs last season," said FCBB Managing Director Marko Pesic confidently. The reason is rather the real transfer thunderstorm that hit the EuroLeague this summer: more top stars than ever before were signed by the wealthiest clubs. "The playoffs are also a very ambitious goal for many teams this year, and that also applies to us," stressed Pesic. Coach Dejan Radonjic said: "In this format it's certainly the best and strongest EuroLeague ever".
To prove it, just take a look at Barcelona, where Pesic senior is active: Svetislav Pesic really has a highlight squad together with Barça, with which the 70-year-old champion coach of Bavaria (2014) could take over the title conquered by ZSKA. He recently crowned his super team with Malcolm Delaney (formerly Atlanta Hawks and FCBB Champion Guard 2014), Brandon Davies (EuroLeague First Team 2019 for Kaunas), Cory Higgins (champion with ZSKA 2016 and '19), Alex Abrines (Oklahoma City Thunder) - and Nikola Mirotic. The forward with Spanish passport scored on average no less than 16.7 points in the NBA for New Orleans last season. Now he is considered the hiighest paid basketball player in Europe.Milan's saviour Messina signs Schola
The acquisition of this quintet, however, fits logically into a crazy transfer summer: Milan, the first FCBB opponent, who failed in the playoffs last year despite monetary efforts, has once again put their foot down, starting with the coach: Ettore Messina, 60, who won the EuroLeague four times as a club coach and was co-coach of San Antonio Spurts for the past five years, is said to be the savior.
The Italian Messina has put together a team to his liking, without last year's top EuroLeague scorer Mike James, whose valuable contract he simply cancelled - and who is now running for ZSKA. Messina brought ZSKA star Sergio Rodriguez to the team and he proved once again this week how potent the 28-time Italian champion, sponsored by fashionable Giorgio Armani, is. Milan surprisingly signed the secret star of the World Championships in China, Power Forward legend Luis Scola, 39, who averaged 19.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in Argentina's silver medal effort. The captain of the team is the Serbian Vladimir Micov, fellow countryman Nemanja Nedovic and Center Arturas Gudaitis are still missing injured.Fenerbahce signed Williams and de Colo
Naturally, the title will again go through the reigning champion ZSKA Moscow. The team around the Greek head coach Dimitris Itoudis was strengthened by the long-time NBA-Center Kosta Koufos (686 games) and the former Washington Wizards-Guard Ron Baker. In addition, the defending champion added Will Clyburn who has also seen time in the NBA.
Last year's finalist Anadolu Efes Istanbul, who managed to keep their team together added a certain Derrick Williams. ZSKA Champions and the Spanish record champion Real Madrid are of course also among the cup candidates. In addition, the always ambitious Greek heavyweights Olympiakos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Athens, Israel's elite club Maccabi Tel Aviv, who signed Casspi Omri, 31, after ten years in theNBA (and 588 games), the obviously ambitious Khimki Moscow with Devin Booker and Stefan Jovic. . .
"It won't be any easier for us in the EuroLeague," said Marko Pesic, "so many teams have strengthened themselves tremendously, there's never been such a transfer summer before." The Bavarians, on the other hand, have also come up with something, they can summon up a Greg Monroe with a well balanced team built around the long-time leaders, Vladimir Lucic and Nihad Djedovic. So the German champion is competing with ambition n spite of the fierce competition. It all starts with their first game against Milan.
The schedule of the Bavarians