Bayern's "Triple Week" begins at third-placed Olympiakos
Bayern has already had a few tough weeks and have come up against many a team in good form, including title favorites, such as just last week in the home duel with Efes Istanbul (83-71 win). But this week for the FCBB squad things are even crazier than normal. The team around head coach Andrea Trinchieri heads on Tuesday for five days on the road and immediately after the return "receives" still another BBL top game at the Audi Dome. However, before they face their pre-season semi-final opponents from Ludwigsburg on Sunday at 18:00 two big names in European basketball stand in their way: on Wednesday, FCBB host third-placed Olympiakos Piraeus (20:30), and on Friday (20:45) they host Adriatic champions Red Star Belgrade in the infamous Nikolic Hall.
As always MagentaSport will stream the game live.
„"Olympiakos is again one of the best teams in the EuroLeague this year. They are very well coached, always well prepared, have a very deep squad with great players. They are playing super consistent basketball this season and on both sides of the court."”
It made sense that Belgrade and Piraeus met on the most recent gameday, and the much-improved, traditional Serbian club (6-8) somewhat surprisingly ended the Greeks' winning streak (81-76) with the help of its passionate fans. That doesn't change the fact that Olympiakos (9-5) has made an impressive return this season after three rather disappointing seasons to the circle of the first Final Four contenders behind the Spanish top duo Real (11-3) and Barça (12-2). What's more, Olympiakos is still undefeated in front of its home crowd after seven home games and has allowed the visitors an average of just 67.4 points.
In-form Vezenkov, top scorer Dorsey
"Olympiakos is again one of the best teams in the EuroLeague this year," Trinchieri also judged, citing reasons: "They are very well coached, always well prepared, have a very deep squad with great players. They are playing super consistent basketball this season and on both sides of the court. We have to understand that this will be a tremendous challenge. In order to pass it, we have to continue to raise our level on offense and defense." In recent weeks, his team has succeeded in doing just that, with Trinchieri's squad (7-7) climbing into mid-standings in the top flight after winning seven of its past ten games.
Meanwhile, for the team of Piraeus coach Georgios Bartzokas, who was responsible for the last of three EuroLeague triumphs in 2013, it's the first year without departed legend Vassilis Spanoulis (4,455 EL points, ranked No. 1). The core of the team around returnee Kostas Sloukas (10.8 ppg, 3.9 apg), Sasha Vezenkov (12.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Hassan Martin (4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg), internationals Kostas Papanikolaou (6 ppg) and Giannoulis Larentzakis (6.1), as well as the second Olympiakos legend still active Georgios Printezis (3529 EL points) have stayed together. The Bulgarian-Greek forward Vezenkov, 26, has delivered the best season of his career and has already been twice gameday MVP.
Friday in Belgrad
Other pieces of the puzzle are a giant French center Moustapha Fall (8.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), compatriot Livio Jean-Charles (5.0/3.2 rpg), playmaker Thomas Walkup (6.0/3.3 apg) and, most importantly, new top scorer Tyler Dorsey (12.9 ppg, 44.3% threes, from Tel Aviv), all of whom fit perfectly into a very wide-ranging squad. In Greece, Olympiakos leads the standings with an 8-1 record, ahead of archrival Panathinaikos (7-1).
"It's going to be tough as hell, Olympiakos is playing with great form this season," said Valdimir Lucic, Munich's leading scorer with 13.2 points per game in the absence of injured colleague Darrun Hilliard (15.8). "They are very experienced, have been playing together for years and have recognizably found a very good team chemistry. They will also have a great support of their fans behind them again. Over all, it will be a very tough week in two of the toughest away halls with Olympiakos and then later at Red Star in Belgrade."