Trinchieri hopes for a reaction from his team in their duel with Maccabi Tel Aviv
The Bayern Basketball team has played 46 games in the three competitions since the beginning of October - and the end of the marathon is not yet in sight. For the time being, the overall record reads positively for the Munich team in EuroLeague, BBL and the Cup Top Four held at the Audi Dome in mid-April. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team has been gearing up for a tough finish to the regular season in recent days, as the rhythm now gets back into high gear: February ends with the EuroLeague home game on Thursday (Feb. 25, 20:30) against Israel's record champion Maccabi Tel Aviv followed by the BBL rivalry game on Sunday against Wurzburg (15:00/15:00 on MagentaSport). In March, there are no fewer than 13 games to be played, starting next week with the EuroLeague double-header in Belgrade (Tuesday) and against Panathinaikos (Thursday), before the team heads north to Vechta on Sunday.
The FCBB have used the somewhat breezier calendar surrounding the 87-79 "reality check" vs Lyon-Villeurbanne for regeneration and intense training sessions. Now the focus is solely on the duel with Maccabi on the 26th EuroLeague gameday. The standings in the top league are amazingly tight as there are only three games separating third place (Milan, 16-9) and tenth (Valencia, 13-12). Bayern currently sit at sixth place with a 15-10 record and can dream a little as they attempt to move up the ranks but Trinchieri's men have done well so far with their game-by-game approach. And that's how it should stay.
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"Only the next opponent Maccabi counts and not the rankings".
"I decided to look from day to day, from game to game," says Andrea Trinchieri, "because we are still very green at this level, we make mistakes. Looking at the big picture before a game won't help us, it won't help this team. Only the next opponent counts and no rankings: so Maccabi, who will surely still try to get into the playoffs."
The guest from Tel Aviv (14th, 10-13), with two fewer games played, is also only three games behind Bayern and will do everything in the Audi Dome to keep alive its ambitions to participate in the knockout round. With seven wins in the last twelve games, including a road win at league leaders Barcelona and one at home to Real Madrid, coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos' team has moved back up to the middle of the pack. Maccabi has won the top European competition five times (1977, 1981, 2004, 2005, 2014).
„"I have great respect for Maccabi, for the organization, the coach and the players, but whoever comes at this moment - we have to respond to the last game. It's about what our team does on Thursday to bounce back after a painful defeat. What is clear is that against this opponent we really have to give everything, every drop of energy. Because Maccabi is a great opponent, but what will be more important is what WE do."”
Break for Nihad Djedovic
Tel Aviv's guards will have to be controlled, not only top scorer Scottie Wilbekin (15.6 ppg), with whom Bayern has already had plenty of experience. His two athletic US colleagues Tyler Dorsey and Elijah Bryant (10.7 ppg each) can also take over a game at any time. On the boards Othello Hunter (9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and the Croatian 7ft center Ante Zicic (7.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) will go to battle with Jalen Reynolds (14.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg) & Co.
"Maccabi is a very experienced team, much more experienced than us," says Bayern veteran James Gist. "They have a little bit of everything, shooters, big guys and athleticism. But we have to play our game and play hard, because we also have all the pieces that are needed. But we don't have to show it for 15 minutes or 35, we have to show it for the complete 40 minutes. We need consistency and focus on the next game and nothing else."
Bayern will definitely miss captain Nihad Djedovic, who has been out recently with knee problems and has now been given a two-week break.
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