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Bayern will again be missing Lucic for the game in Khimki

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The Bayern Basketball team has been on the road for almost a week, this past Sunday was finally free - but on Monday it continued for them with the next week "on the road". It finally ends this coming Sunday with the home game against the current second-place BBL team, Crailsheim. Until then, the Munich team will be doing its job in Russia, with two games in faraway Moscow scheduled by the EuroLeague: On Tuesday (Jan. 26, 18:00), there will be a reunion with Devin Booker and Stefan Jovic in the duel with Khmiki Moscow before they matchup vs the title favorite and first-place ZSKA Moscow (18:00/each MagentaSport) on Friday evening.

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FCBB head coach Andrea Trinchieri will once again have to make do with a very short squad and without five of his top players. Because in addition to the still stricken captain Nihad Djedovic (training again), Zan Mark Sisko and Robin Amaize, who have already been missing for several weeks, top scorer Vladimir Lucic (back) and youngster Matej Rudan (ankle) can again not be used after his brief comeback. As in Bayreuth (98-78), Bayern talents Sasha Grant, 18, and Jason George, 19, will be part of Munich's emergency lineup.

Trinchieri said before Monday afternoon's departure, "This is now the moment we have to focus on ourselves. We need to get back on our path, which has led us to some good results. Khimki, whoever they have with them, is definitely a very talented team. I have to make it clear to my team that we have to look at this opponent without looking at the standings. Because the ranking is just the consequence of many influences, but their talent is not the reason."

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Trinchieri is missing a quintet as Djedovic, Sisko, Amaize and Rudan had to pass up the five-day stay in Russia which has recently allowed scectators of up to 50% capacity. The FCBB have been intensively familiar with the security protocol for months, but the sporting aspects naturally take up the most space in Coach Trinchieri's preparations. After the show of strength against St. Petersburg (82-80), the overtime loss against Real Madrid and the disappointing performance in Milan (76-51), his team is desperate to refocus.

Nevertheless, a win will be a tricky task in the Moscow suburbs - it would be the 13th on the 22nd gameday and would help to consolidate a hard-earned position in the top half of the standings - for the time being.

Khimki, meanwhile, is often a mysterious unknown and is always capable of a leap in performance given the diverse class assembled in this expensive squad. Starting with top star Alexei Shved, who continues to lead the league in several categories with 18.1 points (second) and 7.8 assists (first) per game. Bayern's former championship center Booker (13.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg) also has personal bests; Real returnee Jordan Mickey (12.2 ppg) and just-departed ex-NBA pros Jonas Jerebko (11.5) and Greg Monroe (10.3) are also in the lists with double-digit totals.

This team has still somehow managed twelve losses in a row leading to coach Rimas Kurtinas being fired and the promotion of assistant Andrei Maltsev last week. Monroe has been out of the lineup for several weeks now, and the former FCBB center and Jerebko have just officially parted ways. In Athens (94-78 loss), Shved, Booker and distance shooter Janis Timma (7.7 ppg) were also absent for unknown reasons. However, the premiere in front of fans - apparently 20 percent of capacity in Khimki - is again expected to feature a very competitive and motivated lineup, similar to the contested first matchup in early December at the Audi Dome (80-77 FCBB).

"The most important thing will be to play as hard as we can with the personnel we have now," said FCBB guard Nick-Weiler Babb. "We played very well defensively in the last BBL game and now we have to carry that over to the next game in Khimki. We have to be ready on defense and stick together." FCBB center Leon Radosevic knows how difficult the task will be, "Khimki has 100 percent a lot, a lot of talent and quality in the team and in my opinion the best player in Europe in Shved. They haven't showntheir quality so far, but their standings are just not realistic. It will be a very difficult game."

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