Will the EuroLeague run continue against Berlin?
The German classic sees the Berliners in a much better starting position this time than Bayern: they have started the season extremely strong in terms of play and form, are still undefeated in the BBL (5-0/FCBB: 5-1) and were also able to win the first three encounters in the premier league. Meanwhile, Alba's record stands at 3-3 and Bayern celebrated their first win last week against defending champions Efes Istanbul (81-78). Berlin narrowly missed a fourth win at Efes (78-74), as they did in Kaunas (88-81).
Trinchieri: "In this game they are the favorite".
"Berlin started the season very strongly, winning in Milan, destroying Partizan and also beating Efes away from home," Bayern head coach Andrea Trinchieri quoted from the hosts' record, adding, "For me, they are one of the best European teams at the moment. They are in their third year together, they know each other and they play with impressive pace. It's the first of what I'm sure will be many more games against them this season. Of course, they are the favorite in this game, also since our team is still emerging. We are slowly getting better, but Berlin is currently uncontrollable in some moments, such as in the second quarter in Kaunas, when they dominated away from home. We will see where we stand."
Alba Berlin visibly benefited from minor changes in the squad at the start of the season, in young Italian Gabriele Procida (9 ppg, came over frmo Fortitudo Bologna), 20, and New Zealand power forward Yanni Wetzel (6.4/Baskonia), coach Israel Gonzalez only had to add two additions to his rotation. Currently the best assists team (24.8 apg) and best also in rebounding (39.3 rpg), Alba has been able to play to its strengths so far. A deep squad of double winners starts with point guard Tamir Blatt (12, 8 ppg, 51% threes, 5.8 apg), Louis Olinde (9.3 ppg, 75% threes), captain Luke Sikma with almost seven assists per game and center Christ Koumadje (9.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg).
The FCBB record against Alba in the top division: 5-0
"We lost a few games in the EuroLeague by a narrow margin and thus there could be another record with us now," says Bayern national player Andreas Obst ahead of the first reunion after the successful European Championship with DBB colleagues on the other side, Johannes Thiemann and Maodo Lo. "We have still fought on, developed further and were rewarded with the first win against Efes. The mood in the team is great, despite the difficult phase, we all get along pretty well. I'm really looking forward to the Alba game now, because we still have something to make up for there from last season."
Waiting for Hunter and Giffey
In the last meeting in mid-June, Berlin managed to clinch the championship with a 3-1 win over Bayern. In the last three final games the FCBB had to make do without captain Lucic. In addition to Sisko, the Munich team has been missing veteran Hunter, who has a hamstring injury, and newcomer Giffey has only been in training since Monday. Both will travel to Berlin, but their use is open and a short-term decision.
In the EuroLeague, Bayern has won all their duels with their national rivals (twice in overtime). A year ago, they won 82-69 away from home. In total, they have faced each other 68 times in the German rivalry and 39 wins went to the FCBB, 27 times to Berlin. BBL 30-23, EuroLeague 5-0, EuroCup one win and one draw, and Cup 3-4.