The FCBB will fight for a big win at Panathinaikos

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The FC Bayern basketball team left Munich Airport on Wednesday afternoon on schedule, with Athens as their destination. This is good news since the air traffic controllers in Greece went on strike in the morning. A general strike has also been announced for Thursday, which is why the squad around head coach Andrea Trinchieri left for the Greek capital one day earlier than originally planned, where the national champion and four-time EuroLeague champion.

The game in the OAKA hall, which holds 18,500 spectators, will start on Friday at 20:00 and MagentaSport will go on air a quarter of an hour earlier as usual. On the weekend Bayern will have a game-free period before the home game against Khimki Moscow (20:30 Audi Dome) on December 4th. They will then play eleven games before the day before New Year's Eve.


Center Papagiannis measures at 7ft1 and does  lot of work on the boards. Bayern coach Trinchieri brought 13 players to Athens, with captain Nihad Djedovic staying in Munich despite improving adductor problems. They will be hosted by a team that is only too eager to correct the impressions they have made so far: Greece's top team - which won both duels with FCBB last season (total: 4-2 for Athens) - is  playing well below its own expectations with a 2-6 record and has lost four games in a row. Last week they lost 93-72 in Vítoria. Before that, the team won against Berlin - and in Barcelona, the only defeat for the Spanish standings leader so far (97-89).


The guests from Germany also come in off a loss after a 89-81 defeat against top favorite ZSKA Moscow, but still have a surprising record (7-3). The FCBB have not yet been able to win in Athens (0-3), but this season they have already won their first games in Tel Aviv and twice in Istanbul (Fenerbahce and Efes).

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"Panathinaikos lost significantly in their last game, that's certainly not an advantage for us", says Andrea Trinchieri. "Because they have their pride, they have won the EuroLeague several times and know exactly what it takes to reach this level. It will be a difficult game because they have a lot of size, even on positions one and three, plus Papagiannis, who is very, very tall and anything but slow. Besides their size there are players like Papapetrou, Sant-Roos, Nedovic - then you know that you will have your hands full on defense. They are also a very tactical team, they play pressing or zone, so we have to be very disciplined on offense. We had injuries this week and we had to find other variations in training, but at the same time we had to stay fresh to keep our rhythm. So it's a tough phase, but we're taking it on."

The coach of "Pana" is Georgios Vovoras, who already rose from assistant to head coach during the preseason and was responsible for the road victory in the Audi Dome (87-75) a year ago. The most recent addition to the squad is former NBA guard Shelvin Mack (456 NBA games, 6.6 ppg), and was in the 2019/2020 starting line-up for Milan (and later Jerusalem); his average after three games is 11.7 ppg. The formidable top scorer is the Serbian guard Nemanja Nedovic (14.0 ppg), who also came over from Milan, followed by Ioannis Papapetrou (13.0), the American Marcus Foster (9.5), Georgios Papagiannis (8.4) and Howard Sant-Roos (8.1), another US guard.

Paul Zipser: "We have a lot of self-confidence"
A lot of work is coming for Bayern in the rebounding department. Papagiannis (6.3 rpg), who is only 23 years old and measures a whopping 7ft1 and his fellow countrymen Konstantinos Mitoglou (5.8 rpg, 7.1 ppg) and Papapetrou (5.1 rpg) are good for around 18 rebounds per game. Controlling this Hellenic trio in the zones will be one of the main tasks of Jalen Reynolds (6.7 rpg) and Vladimir Lucic (4.9 rpg, 14.3 ppg) & Co. "There is a lot of greatness in Pana, but we know how to defend ourselves," says national player Paul Zipser combatively.


"We feel good and have a lot of self-confidence. We want to bring a lot of energy to the court and win the game".

Paul Zipser
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