Facing the best guards of the EuroLeague

Tough sledding for Bayern at Efes and at home against ZSKA

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Zan Mark Sisko, 23, and Wade Baldwin, 24, are the youngest point guard duo in the EuroLeague, which has not prevented the young Slovenian and his US colleague (as well as guard Nick Weiler-Babb, also only 24) from being an early-season sensation with the FCBB. However, the tests that the schedule for this week has devised couldn't be any harder, especially for the young guards of the Munich team. The double-header week in the EuroLeague will present them with a road game on Tuesday evening (18:30) with title candidate Efes Istanbul, where Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic form the most outstanding guard combo of the European top class. And after their return home the next co-favorite for the EuroLeague crown, CSKA Moscow, will visit the Audi Dome on Thursday (20:30) with MVP candidate, Guard Mike James.

TO THE LIVETICKER 

Head coach Andrea Trinchieri and his staff are of course already preparing for this week's three games which also includes the BBL top game on Sunday (18:00) against the Top10 finalist from Ludwigsburg. But the focus is first of all on the huge matchup in the Turkish capital. The Italian coach says: "Efes is again one of the best teams this year, after a fantastic run last season only being stopped by the Covid virus. They are a power in the EuroLeague and talented in every position - especially in the backcourt, which is really one of the most incredible I have ever seen".

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Vasilije Micic is in top form and Shane Larkin is back
Trinchieri speaks of course of Larkin and Micic, who already transformed their team into a dominant form in the competition last year. From the 28 games before competition was abandoned, Efes lost only four games and clearly led in the standings. Their two playmakers are back in top form, especially former Munich guard, Micic, who scored an incredible 33 points last week in a victory in Athens (80-77). Larkin made his comeback two weeks ago in the Panathinaikos victory after an injury and added 15 points. It was his only appearance in the EuroLeague so far in 2020. Dirk Nowitzki's former Maverick teammate, Frenchman Rodrigue Beaubois, is also averageing 11.7 points. He is even surpassed by the equally experienced Croatian guard Krunoslav Simon (14.3 ppg) and Micic (15.1/5.9 ppg).

"In terms of quality, they clearly have the deepest squad in the EuroLeague, every player in their squad is dangerous, so our defense has to be top quality," says Wade Baldwin.    

Efes coach Ergin Ataman was able to keep his team together in the Corona summer, no other club was able to do that. German center Tibor Pleiss (10.6 ppg, 5 rpg) also continues to play a leading role. Only at the beginning of the season was Efes vulnerable and with a  4-3 record are behind Bayern in the standings (6-2). There were two home losses at the start against St. Petersburg and in the rivalry game against Fenerbahce, when the surprise team celebrated a home victory against the top favorite. But Efes has gotten going and won the last three games. In the domestic Süper Lig they are the undefeated leaders (8-0).

ZSKA is also showing great form with a record of 5-3 fter three wins in a row. The Russians will play in Kaunas on Tuesday evening and the long injured MVP of the 2019 champion, Will Clyburn, with 17.3 points per game, will once again power them forward. Mike James, the 2018/2019 top scorer is scoring 16.4 points per game. The hard work for Sisko, Baldwin, Weiler-Ball & Co. is only beginning against Efes.

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