Reunion with Zalgiris in of a full house

Bayern take next run for first win in Kaunas

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The Bayern basketball team is making its next attempt on Thursday evening to be the figurehead of the basketball nation Lithuania - double winner Zalgiris Kaunas. Away from home on the fifth gameday of the EuroLeague. Both teams are hoping for their first win of the season and have only played once on their own floor so far. In the national LKL, Zalgiris is undefeated after six games.

 

Augustine Rubit about his ex-club
"I'm looking forward to seeing all the people from the organization again and of course the great fans there. Last season we didn't have the opportunity to play in front of a full house there, so that's going to be exciting. But both teams really need a win, so it's going to be a great fight for sure. We want to win it."  

The German Cup winners around head coach Andrea Trinchieri can once again expect the infamous atmosphere of the Zalgirio Arena with up to 15,500 fans. At the home game against St. Petersburg at the beginning of the month (70-64 loss) there were 10,100 spectators. The game tips off at 19:00. on Thursday, and as always MagentaSport will broadcast live on its platforms with a quarter-hour lead-in.

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Trinchieri: "Must focus on ourselves".

"We will experience a great atmosphere in Kaunas in a full arena," Trinchieri said before Wednesday's departure. "We have to play our best possible game there to be able to compete. It will be a difficult game and again one on the road, which is not ideal in our personnel situation. It would already be difficult if Kaunas were at 4-0 - now with 0-4 like us, the task is rather more complicated. But we want to play hard and smart and improve. We need to focus on ourselves."  

 

Trinchieri's Bavarians have good memories of Zalgiris in that they were able to celebrate their first playoff appearance by a German team against this upcoming opponent on April 1 with a historic 71:70 home victory. "But that feels like 55 years ago," says the Italian coach. That's because a good six months later, his reshaped team is sorting itself out anew after a full month with considerable personnel worries. In the BBL against Giessen (71-64) Gavin Schilling, Nihad Djedovic and Andreas Obst were also removed from the list of absentees. Thus, Vladimir Lucic and Leon Radosevic (Trinchieri: "They should actually be our backbone that helps the new team") are still the only players missing besides Paul Zipser (build-up). Whether Obst will also make his EuroLeague debut despite the lack of practice will depend on his coach's decisions on the day of departure.

The hosts recently reported a monetarily significantly improved working basis, but the new demands now already caused a change of coach to Jurij Zdovc after the second gameday.

The Slovenian coached his hometown club Union Olimpia in the top flight a decade ago and Paris EuroCup representatives Boulogne Metropolitans last season.

Duel for the first victory

Best known players for the Lithuanian squad in Germany are former Berlin captain Niels Giffey (currently 6 ppg) and Trinchieri's former guard in Bamberg, Janis Strelnieks. The Latvian, who transferred from ZSKA Moscow, is the top scorer after four games with 13.7 points and ratios is shooting 71.4 (twos) and 61.5 percent (threes) - but he is in danger of being out on Wednesday due to a calf injury.

The US guard Emmanuel Mudiay (8.8 ppg), who was signed with many hopes and transferred from overseas after five years in the NBA (Denver, New York, Utah), was also injured in the most recent league game. French big man Joffrey Lauvergne (8.5 ppg, 4 rpg) will definitely be out even longer due to a shoulder injury. Instead, veteran Paulius Jankunas is expected to return to the team on Thursday.

Second-best scorer behind Strelnieks so far is U.S. center Josh Nebo, a EuroLeague rookie; he averages 9.5 points with 5.5 rebounds. Fellow frontcourt member is former BBL power forward Tyler Cavanaugh (Berlin/5 ppg); the American moved to the 2018 Final Four contender after a season in Spain's ABC for Tenerife.

"I'm looking forward to seeing all the people from the organization again and of course the great fans there," said FCBB power forward Augustine Rubit (8.3 ppg), who suited up for Kaunas last season. "Last season we didn't have the opportunity to play in front of a full house there, so that will be exciting. But both teams really need a win, so it will be a great fight for sure. We want to win it."  

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