FCBB wants to show a different face in St. Petersburg
The flight over the 1,500 kilometers northwest of Kazan to the next venue of the Bayern basketball team in Russia took two hours on Wednesday afternoon: In St. Petersburg, the team of head coach Andrea Trinchieri will meet host Zenit on Thursday evening less than 48 hours after the unfortunate 73-70 loss in the EuroLeague at Unics Kazan. The game kicks off at 19:00 with MagentaSport broadcasting live as usual.
The analysis of the game in Kazan, which was controlled for one half, was just as much part of the preparation on the day of the trip as an intensive look at the opponent. "We can't perform like that again, that can't be our face," coach Trinchieri said. "We have a lot of things to improve against a team with a lot of quality, especially in basic attitude, defense and rebounding, which was a key in Kazan."
Control the rebounds better
While Bayern missed their chances for the first win of the season in the top division in at least two close games, Zenit is their target for their first win. The team led by coach Xavi Pascual has played three away games so far, winning two: The opener in Kazan (70-69), in Kaunas (70-64), before ZSKA Moscow (77-67) was a bit too strong on Tuesday.
From the successful team of the previous season, which like Bayern made it deep into the playoffs (2-3 against FC Barcelona), is missing playmaker Kevin Pangos, who moved to the NBA to Cleveland. However, the team's structure has remained intact and has been strengthened. The new leading figure so far is guard Jordan Lloyd, a member of the 2019 NBA champion Toronto team and Corey Walden's teammate at Red Star Belgrade last season (17.3 ppg).
Walden reunited with top-scorer ll
US scorer Lloyd (16 ppg) was joined by compatriot Connor Frankamp (7.7 ppg) from Murcia in Zenit's deep squad, as well as experienced Lithuanian Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Billy Baron remains (11 PpS) and versatile Russian international Andrei Zubkov (5.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg). Shabazz Napier, who was signed after six years in the NBA (7.1 ppg) is still missing with an ankle injury.
The rebounding behavior mentioned by Trinchieri is certainly considered an important parameter from Munich's point of view in view of otherwise comparable statistics. On offense, both teams are tied with scoring averages of 69 and 70 points, respectively, but it is in defensive rebounds (25 to 18.7) that St. Petersburg has outperformed Munich in the first three games.
"Zenit is also a very well-coached team," said FCBB guard Darrun Hilliard, who transferred from Moscow. "Zenit has some great players, even if Napier is still injured. But it's about us now: this was not the start to the EuroLeague we wanted. We have to fight now and come back."