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Bayern hosts Efes Istanbul

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Back-to-back EuroLeague defending champions and the first meeting with Bayreuth are up next as Munich plays in the German Cup shortly after facing the Efes. Bayern Basketball plays host twice this week in the Audi Dome, on Thursday, 20:30 the Munich team will make an attempt to claim its first win in the top league against championEfes Istanbul. The southern rivalry game against Bayreuth closes the sixth Bundesliga gameday on Sunday at 18:00.

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Alternating between EuroLeague and BBL, Bayern has so far paid the price for their personnel problems at the start of the season on the international stage with a losing streak. While Othello Hunter and Zan Mark Sisko have to remain out, Andrea Trinchieri was able to reintegrate two welcome options in Isaac Bonga and Elias Harris against Crailsheim (88-77).

Isaac Bonga was especially convincing in his FCBB debut in the BBL against Crailsheim at the weekend. (c) Stickel
Isaac Bonga was especially convincing in his FCBB debut in the BBL against Crailsheim at the weekend. (c) Stickel

2021 and 2022 champs

"Isaac can fill the complete stat line and help us a lot, he just needs some time," was the head coach's first comment on Bonga after his debut, "and the same goes for Elias." The Italian continued: "Every game is an opportunity to get the first win in the EuroLeague. A 0-5 start is tough, of course, but we also have to be objective and see that we have already played Final Four teams and in two of the most difficult halls in Europe. The schedule was tough and I had the same squad for the Friday and Sunday game last weekend for the first time since I've been in Munich. We will be competitive, we just need some luck and more confidence."

However, Efes is the next star ensemble to come to the Audi Dome. The exceptional Turkish team has started the season slowly by its standards (2-3), as it did in both years when they won the title. But coach Ergin Ataman has declared the European threepeat as a clear goal and has just underlined their ambitions with the signing of former NBA guard Isaiah Taylor (Houston, Atlanta, most recently Murcia in Spain) until the end of the season.

Former MVPs Micic and Clyburn united

Taylor should compensate for the absence of Shane Larkins (thumb surgery), who will miss a few more weeks; Rodrigue Beaubois (8.8 ppg) also had to miss the recent game against Fenerbahce (88-79 loss). The acquisitions to the further core around MVP Vasilije Micic, who is again in outstanding form (19.4, ppg, 7.4 apg), Cologne's Tibor Pleiss (6.8 ppg) and Bryant Dunston succeeded again this summer. U.S. forward Will Clyburn (17.8 ppg), one of Micic's predecessors as Finals MVP, was released from his contract at ZSKA Moscow; center Ante Zizic, where he scored 12.2 points per game last season, came pver from Maccabi; Italian international Achille Polonara from Fener - and Elijah Bryant also returned to Efes in October after his NBA stint (Milwaukee).

In addition to Zan Mark Sisko, Othello Hunter will continue to miss the game against Tibor Pleiss and Co. due to injury. (c) Adanali
In addition to Zan Mark Sisko, Othello Hunter will continue to miss the game against Tibor Pleiss and Co. due to injury. (c) Adanali

"Need tons of energy"

Trinchieri knows how high this hurdle is again, saying, "The EuroLeague champions of the last two years are in the house, which is great motivation for us. So we should raise the bar and go beyond our limits. We need tons of energy and a high sense of urgency to do that."

Captain Vladimir Lucic added: "They are the back-to-back champions and had great signings in the summer, in my opinion they even improved the squad compared to last year. As always, they didn't start perfectly, but that's normal with them, they need some start-up time. But also for them this is now a chance to bounce back after the defeat in the last round, and we are still waiting for the first win in the EuroLeague - so it will be another tough task."

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