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Conclusion of EuroLeague first round against Baskonia at the Audi Dome

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Gameday number 17 and the conclusion of the first half of theEuroLeague: TheBayern Basketball team will host the four-time Spanish champions Baskonia Vítoria-Gasteiz with their top scorer of the previous year, Wade Baldwin, on Thursday evening (19:00/MagentaSport). After seven wins so far and an unsuccessful Double Week last time out, head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team is looking to improve its starting position once again for the second leg of the series, which begins the day before New Year's Eve in Villeurbanne. Even if the fans will be missing again, one trend gives cause for confidence: The Munich team has won its last four home games at theAudi Dome.

LIVETICKER

The FCBB will also be in action twice more in the BBL over the festive period: on Boxing Day (December 26), the league leaders will host Crailsheim, and on January 2, Bamberg (both at 20:00.).

SCHHEDULE

"We definitely want to get revenge after the two road losses and this game is a good chance to do that."

Vladimir Lucic before the game against Baskonia

Playmaker Sisko is back in training

"At the end of the first half of the season, we're facing a team with a lot of talent and a lot of three-point shooters, so we have to be very attentive and focused on defense," said Andrea Trinchieri, adding, "Of course, it's very nice to see Wade again. But we have to play with great concentration."

Back in team training and thus possibly an option is playmaker Zan Mark Sisko, Bayern's best passer in the top division (2.6 apg) was sorely missed last week in Piraeus and Belgrade. But a key of the duel could be the rebounding, where the Basques have a clear advantage in the statistics (35.5 to 30.7 rpg). The main burden for the Munich team will be borne by veteran Othello Hunter (5.6 rpg), who was spared on Sunday against Ludwigsburg, and top scorer Vladimir Lucic (4.6/13.4 ppg). The Serb leads the way as usual, averaging 16.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in the last four games.

Against Baskonia, however, a complete team performance is needed again, because the guest (5-9) also urgently needs a success to keep connection to the top half of the standings. In mid-November, coach Dusko Ivanovic was replaced by Neven Spahija, his second tenure in the Basque Country after 2007/2008; with him, two of the seven games have been won.

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Last year still in FCBB-Dress: Wade Baldwin // Foto: Eirich

Lucic: "We want to take revenge".

The Croatian coach will probably bring well-motivated acquaintances with him to Munich: Not only the young family man Baldwin, who despite 10.6 points per game is still looking for stability in the new environment but also the former Berliner, Simone Fontecchio (11.8 ppg), Rokas Giedraitis (10.8), Jayson Granger (8.2 ppg, 4.3 apg) and Landry Nnoko (5.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg) all who have already played some duels in the Audi Dome. Giedraitis, however, is apparently ill. A big influence on Baskonia's game so far has been U.S. center Steven Enoch (10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg), who transferred from league rival Obradoiro in the summer; the 7ft Euroleague rookie, who is only 24 years old, has averaged nearly 15 points in the past eight games.

"For me, they are a very strong, very talented team that plays extremely physical," said Lucic, who knows Spain. "They've certainly had some problems so far and they've already changed coaches; it probably takes time to adjust to the new system. Their strength is definitely their very long bench and that will definitely be a tough game. But we definitely want to get revenge after the two road losses and this game is a good chance to do that."

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