Tough road game in the EuroLeague
Fri, 19/02/21, 06:59
Can Bayern end Villeurbanne's winning streak?
Gameday 25 in the EuroLeague: There are still ten games to go for the Bayern basketball team in Europe's top competition. After the overtime drama against Alba Berlin two weeks ago, head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team finds itself in fifth place with an all-time German record of 15-9. Opponents in the final third of the regular season are Tel Aviv (home), Belgrade (A), Panathinaikos (H), Vítoria (A), Efes (H), Valencia (A), Fenerbahce (H), Kaunas (H), Barcelona (A) - and this Friday Lyon-Villeurbanne (A). With five wins in a row, including most recently against Milan's star ensemble (78-69), the French are on a roll.
The game kicks off at the Astroballe Arena at 20:45 on Friday, with MagentaSport broadcasting live.
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"As in the first matchup, we're catching them in their best moment of the season, because Asvel is playing superbly right now and won a really big game against Milan," Trinchieri said. "Their lineup is slightly different, but their identity is very clear: their system is built around Fall, Cole, Lighty and Yabusele are in incredible form and everyone else defends very aggressively, physically and hard. They have a very big rotation, are very athletic and big overall, so it's a very tough task."
Five wins in a row thanks to Cole, Lighty, Yabusele and Fall.
After winning just two of the first ten games, Villeurbanne has made an amazing run since the start of the year. Alongside Final Four aspirant Milan, playoff candidates such as Valencia, Olympiakos and Vítoria have also fallen to the French squad, and with a 10-14 record they have moved up to the middle of the standings. Similar to Bayern, Asvel's athletic-aggressive defense has proven key to success.
Top scorers for majority owner and president Tony Parker's club are veteran guard Norris Cole, 30, who has topped 20 points five times, averages 13.5 points and is also the top on the team with 3.4 assists. Fellow countryman David Lighty (11.4 ppg) and Frenchmen Guerschon Yabusele (9.8 ppg, 4 rpg) and 7ft2 center Moustapha Fall (9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) also score reliably. The most dangerous long-range shooter is US forward William Howard (8 ppg) shooting 58 percent from three. Former Berlin guard Derrick Walton (6.3 ppg) was also re-signed in December.
"Lyon is a very physical, athletic team and they are in great form right now, like hardly any other team in the EuroLeague," summarizes co-captain Vladimir Lucic. "Moustapha Fall, with his almost 7ft2 frame, changes the game at both ends of the court and we have to adjust to that. Already last year it was very difficult here."
Last season, Bayern lost 65-75 in Villeurbanne, but they won the first matchup of the 2020/2021 season 76-62 in December. "Tactically, that was one of our best games this season," Trinchieri recalled, "I hope we can reach the same level of concentration again."
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