Star ensemble around Nikola Mirotic
Tue, 29/12/20, 15:52
Bayern hosts FC Barcelona to finish off 2020
It is the 28th game since the start of the season at the beginning of October, the eleventh in the month of December alone - and the highlight at the end of the EuroLeague first round and the very special year, 2020. FC Barcelona comes to the Audi Dome on Wednesday evening as the star ensemble around the new coach Sarunas Jasikevicius and former NBA standout, Nikola Mirotic is currently second in the standings with a 11-5 record behind ZSKA Moscow (11-3). The Catalans come in following an 87-82 triumph at Real Madrid. The archrival's first defeat in the Spanish ACB on gameday 15.
Tip-off is at 19:30 on Wednesday and MagentaSport will broadcast from the Audi Dome starting at 19:15. The duel of the currently fourth-placed Bayern (10-6) against the Spanish royalty on Wednesday is also part of the free-access basketball conference with parallel games from the EuroLeague and the BBL. The broadcast will start at 19:00., as well on Tuesday evening (Dec. 29), which will also be available free of charge via magentasport.de.
After the departure of Svetislav Pesic, Jasikevicius was the logical successor on the bench in Barcelona. The Lithuanian folk hero and former Barça professional (EuroLeague winner in 2003 under Pesic) was an assistant and then a successful head coach of the national top club Zalgiris Kaunas (2016 - 2020). The finger prints of the 44-year-old on the team is already visible: With an average of 72.6 points allowed, the title favorite, which is equipped with renowned offensive players, currently has the best defense in the EuroLeague.
Top star Mirotic with 26 points in 26 minutes in Clásico triumph in Madrid.
"Barcelona has great players, a great coach, they are simply a powerhouse, a great club and without a doubt have the best team in all of Europe right now along with ZSKA Moscow. And that's not just my opinion, those are facts," Bayern head coach Andrea Trinchieri said, elaborating, "They have size, a lot of talent, a system - they simply have everything. You won't find any weakness with them. But we can counter it with our motivation and we have to enjoy this huge challenge. We must have respect, but not too much of it either, because that only leads to frustration. We want to play against the best and they are. But there are no teams in basketball without defeat and of course we want to try to beat them."
In Sunday night's ACB highlight game, forward Mirotic excelled, scoring as many points in 26 minutes (plus ten rebounds). Barcelona secured the prestigious victory in the final quarter (23-17). In addition to the Spaniard of Montenegrin origin, who proved himself in 319 NBA games (12.3 ppg), sharpshooter Kyle Kuric (14), Cory Higgins (12), Adam Hanga and Pierre Oriola (10 each) also scored in double figures. Top scorers for the 18-time Spanish champions in the top flight are Mirotic (16.8 ppg), Brandon Davies (11.5), who is likely to return from injury, and Higgins (11.4). The best assist provider is, of course, Greek guard Nick Calathes (7.1 apg), one of the spectacular summer transfers (from Panathinaikos).
"Barcelona has super-crazy players and, like us, a coach who has shown what he can do tactically and keep a team together," FCBB international Paul Zipser summed up. "They are big, athletic and can actually all shoot. So there's a lot going for them. But nonetheless, we've played other star ensembles like ZSKA or Madrid and know exactly what we want to do against them. That applies especially to the defense, so maybe we can get the win at home after all."
It's uncertain if Vladimir Lucic (back) and Zan Mark Sisko (muscular problems) will be able to take the court for Bayern.