EuroLeague Climax

Bayern face Fenerbahce and Kaunas within 48 hours at the Audi Dome

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After their energy-sapping five-day trip to Spain and Hamburg, the Bayern basketball players finally slept in their own beds again. This week, at least in the EuroLeague, they will play twice in their own living room, the Audi Dome. These advantages certainly suit the exhausted team of head coach Andrea Trinchieri, because there is a lot on the line. The last "Double Week" of the regular season in the top division sees the two tough home games against Fenerbahce Istanbul on Tuesday evening (21:00) and on Thursday against Zalgiris Kaunas (20:30/ both live on MagentaSport). This eagerly anticipated double week has it all, starting with the clash against Fener, the 13th and final outing for Bayern in the stressful month of March. Like Bayern, the Final Four contender from the Bosporus stands at 19-12 after 31 of the 34 game days.

"Fener has found itself as a team, changing the lineup a bit," said Andrea Trinchieri, "they have been playing their very, very high quality for weeks, led by De Colo and Vesely. After the many games recently, our goal will be to bring our maximum energy to the court, while still being focused and keeping an overview of the complete 40 minutes. We face a very big challenge, as we have so many times this season."

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Guduric and O'Quinn, two re-signings from the NBA. 
Fenerbahce against Bayern has recently delivered nothing but epic dramas over the past seasons. Just over two years ago, the Munich squad were lucky to win for the first time (90-86) after two overtimes against the Turkish powerhouse, which had reached the last five Final Four tournaments and triumphed in 2017. On the fourth gameday of this season in mid-October, Trinchieri's men capped a memorable week after their first win at Maccabi Tel Aviv when they won for the first time ever in Istanbul just two days later - after trailing by 21 points (75-71). Back then, Trinchieri's team revealed a mentality that has seen them emerge as the surprise of the current season.

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Now the cards have been reshuffled: Fenerbahce has lost only two games since gameday 16 and has pushed itself into the playoff fight with a 14-2 record in that span. Since last week, they have been level in points with fifth-placed Bayern (as has Milan). As mentioned above, Bayern still has to play against Kaunas (15-16), who have already distanced themselves somewhat from them, and finally against league leader FC Barcelona, who are still the only team to qualify for the playoffs. Fener also plays the Catalans and Real Madrid (18-13).

Fener's upswing is closely linked to two re-signings from the NBA: Serbian guard Marko Guduric (11 ppg) arrived at the end of the year after a stint previously with the Memphis Grizzlies. He was followed in January by US center Kyle O'Quinn (474 NBA games, most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers). The offensive tandem par excellence, however, continues to be the experienced French guard Nando De Colo (15.1 ppg, 4.3 apg) and center Jan Vaesely. The Czech EuroLeague MVP of the Month for January averages 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. In turn, two-time EuroLeague champion De Colo, 33, is averaging just under 20 points since Game Day 19, and he's nearly perfect at the free-throw line, shooting a good 94 percent.

Top duo De Colo/Vesely, returnee Barthel averaging seven points
Providing relief on offense are U.S. playmaker Lorenzo Brown (9.9 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Canadian Dyshawn Pierre (9.4). Danilo Barthel, who left Bayern in the summer after four successful years, is averaging 21 minutes of action, seven points and 3.3 rebounds under Zeljko Obradovic's successor Igor Kokoskov. A reunion with his successor as captain, Nihad Djedovic, will take place off the court at best, as the FCBB record player is still suffering from a knee injury.  

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