March Madness in Munich

Bayern faces Roter Stern Belgrad on Tuesday

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March Madness starts now: On Monday morning, the Bayern basketball players began their crazy month of 13 games with their departure to Serbia. This week already has a double week in the EuroLeague, consisting of a road game on Tuesday evening with Red Star Belgrade and a home game on Thursday against Panathinaikos Athens and finally Sunday at Rasta Vechta. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri has only one wish in view of this schedule, and that is "that my players stay healthy".

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Captain Nihad Djedovic is still out for a while due to injury and so is center Leon Radosevic, who was knocked out against Wurzburg (97-76). On Monday - the big anniversary day for the 75th anniversary of the basketball department in FC Bayern - the healthy players took their trip to Belgrade.

As always, the focus is on the next opponent, and as former coach of local rivals Partizan, Trinchieri knows about the quality and notorious fighting spirit of hosts Red Star. True, they have strung together a series of defeats (17th place, 7-19) but it is still very difficult to play in the huge "Stark Arena", even without Serbian basketball enthusiasts present. This was experienced by top playoff candidate St. Petersburg in their last home game as the Russians saved themselves at in the last seconds 76-75.

Anything is possible for this Serbian Juggernaut as can be seen in their 73-60 win against Adria League third-place Mega Leks and as documented by the unexpected victories in Milan (87-79), against Valencia (76-73) and at Real Madrid (79-77).

Top scorer and NBA champion Loyd, coach returnee Radonjic. 
"Despite all the adversity from Corona, this EuroLeague season is simply fantastic because every game is so hard-fought, incredibly difficult and also super important," says Trinchieri. 

Bayern-Coach Andrea Trinchieri
"We want to focus on ourselves again and constantly increase our level of play. We don't need to look at the complete staircase, we should just take the next step, starting with the game in Belgrade."

Bayern, still in fifth place with a record of 16-10 knows  the importance of this week. "Of course we want to win every game now, especially in the EuroLeague, where a playoff spot is possible," said FCBB guard D.J. Seeley. "But there are always two teams on the court as we saw that last time in Villeurbanne, where we never really found our offensive rhythm."

Red Star still has one of the standout guards in the Euroleague with former NBA champion Jordan Loyd averaging 16.9 points, third among the top scorers behind Mike James (20.5 ppg) and Alexey Shved (19.3). Behind him at Red Star is US colleague Corey Walden (10.9 ppg), while power forward Johnny O'Bryant (11.3) moved to Ankara in Turkey last week after winning the Cup for the first time since 2017.

Photo: Former FCBB coach Dejan Radonjic at the 2019 championship celebration | (c) Eirich

There will be a reunion with coach Dejan Radonjic (April 2018 to January 2020), who celebrated two championships with Bayern in 2018 and 2019 and took over from compatriot Sasa Obradovic again at his old workplace (2012 to 2017) last December. In the Adriatic League, his team has the clear lead with a 14-2 record, only due to some Corona-related cancellations they are currently in fifth place.   

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