Outclassed by Barça but without fear
According to coach Andrea Trinchieri, the Bayern basketball team left Ludwigsburg late Saturday night with "a lot of self-confidence" after a dazzling second half in the BBL top game to win 77-58. The team made a nice impression and can now prepare for the eagerly awaited playoff series against the title favorite, FC Barcelona. As things stand at the moment, the longed-for comeback of playmaker Corey Walden, who is still suffering from back problems after overcoming Covid, is still open.
The favored Catalans, on Tuesday (21:00) and Thursday (20:00) in the Palau Blaugrana host the first two games of the best-of-five series. They recently ost at the in the Spanish ACB, whereby they could afford a defeat in Zaragoza with some space at the top of the standings. While Bayern could well have used the win in Ludwigsburg in the tight battle for the best starting position for the BBL playoffs, Barça is still two games ahead of archrival Madrid (19-9, as of 16.4.) five gamedays before the end of the regular season (with the identical record as Bayern in the Bundesliga of 22-7).
Higgins takes a break
However, Saturday's 76-71 loss to relegation candidates Zaragoza was the second loss in a row after Thursday's 73-63 home defeat against Malaga. In Zaragoza, where from the established personnel Cory Higgins and veteran Pierre Oriola were missing, national player Alex Abrines was the outstanding player in the team of coach Sarunas Jasikevicius with 26 points. Superstar Niokola Mirotic also scored in double figures (12). For the winner, guard Frankie Ferrari, once with Bamberg during the season, was the top scorer with 16 points in front of 5,700 spectators.
It was Higgins who turned around a long contested game with his 16 points in the direction of the favorites in October to win it 80-72 for Barcelona in the Audi Dome. In the return game at the beginning of February (71-66), the Munich team led by a narrow margin with four minutes to go when ex-NBA pro Dante Exum, Kyle Kuric and center Brandon Davies pushed the Spaniards over the edge for the win.
"We wanted to give a better look before the series with Bayern," Jasikevicius told the press on Saturday night, lamenting a bit of lack of effort and discipline. Overall, however, the situation is promising for his team after fininishish in first place in the Euroleague regular season and first place in the ACB, after they also secured the direct comparison two weeks ago with the 108-97 after overtime victory in the Clásico against Real.
Bayern's game one in Barcelona will be broadcast by MagentaSport on Tuesday free of charge for everyone on its platforms.
The series will switch to the Audi Dome on Wednesday, April 27th, at 20:30. A detailed podcast preview of the playoffs will be available in OPEN COURT starting Monday morning, this time with Jan Jagla and Michael Körner.