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Bayern returns to the court in Athens

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It will be a journey into the unknown with a dozen game dates in the next four weeks, not counting possible make-up dates: On Monday morning, the Bayern Basketballers were able to set off for Athens after various negative tests, where they will return to the court on Tuesday evening in the EuroLeague road game at the huge Oaka Arena at Panathinaikos (March 22, 20:00). Head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team has been forced to take a two-week break without training, and the collective quarantine situation has resulted in four game cancellations.

 

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FCBB-Topscorer Darrun Hilliard (15,5 PpS) im Duell mit Nemanja Nedovic (c) Pahnke

While EuroLeague and BBL schedulers are racking their brains with stakeholders over how to manage a unique scheduling jam, Trinchieri must manage the reintegration of returnees and, for now, the resumption of group training. "We have been constantly in a kind of emergency situation all season, and the current phase is no exception," said the 53-year-old Italian. "We have to deal with this reality and accept the unfortunate circumstances. We'll just get back on the court now, and we'll do it where we've always struggled in the past. I can't remember a good game at Oaka Hall and Panathinaikos has real quality to offer with players like Nedovic and Macon. Those are two top guards, plus there are the big men Papagiannis and White. But I'm sure my team will leave everything possible on the court now."

 

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Panathinaikos out to continue their streak

So far, in four attempts, the Munich side have never won at Panathinaikos and have never really been able to unleash their game in the atmosphere of the 18,000-seater arena. However, the season is not going satisfactorily from the point of view of a six-time EuroLeague champions. In the rankings, which is currently still led by a Russian team, "Pana" stands at 7-20 (FCBB 12-13), and the targeted playoffs are a long way off.

 

In the domestic league, however, they are top of the standings ahead of arch-rivals Olympiakos, and on Sunday they maintained their position with a commanding road win at Rhodes (88-64). The top scorers were guards Nemanja Nedovic (27 points) and Daryl Macon (16), who were mentioned by Trinchieri, as well as forward Okaro White (15) and 7ft center Georgios Papagiannis (11). In the EuroLeague, where Panathinakos is looking for redemption after the 101-73 rout at Olympiakos of all places, the immensely experienced national player Ioannis Papapetrou (10.9) was the most reliable scorer alongside the unstoppable Nedovic (13.5 ppg) and Macon (13.3).

"This is a very important game for us because as everyone knows we had big covid problems and couldn't train at all. So a lot of guys are out of shape or not really resilient, but now is not the time for excuses," says co-captain Vladimir Lucic, "Pana is a good team and after the derby loss they want to show a reaction, that's clear. It's always difficult in the Oaka, but we will try everything to maybe still get an important win in the playoff race."

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