FCBB hosts Partizan in a sell-out
It may still be freezing cold outside but the Audi Dome is sure to be the hot place to be on Thursday evening: For the eighth time this season, the Audi Dome will be completely sold out with 6,500 fans as the Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade with legendary coach Zeljko Obradovic come to visit. Partizan is one of the hottest teams in the EuroLeague with eight wins in their last ten games.
The game tips off at 20:30 (MagentaSport) and the FCBB recommends arriving in good time due to the large crowd. Bayern's next home game in the BBL is the Top 4 dress rehearsal against Hamburg on Tuesday, February 14th (19:00.).
High expectations in Belgrade
"Partizan has had an excellent season and they have the quality to make it to the playoffs," said head coach Andrea Trinchieri. "We want to fight our way back and continue our developmental process again despite various adversities. To do that, this time we have to do what is required from the start of the game. It will be a tough, physical game."
On Thursday, the backdrop alone guarantees a basketball party, especially since 1,500 fans have registered from Partizan's vocal following, which underpins the popularity of the EuroLeague returnee at home games in Belgrade with an unrivaled crowd average of around 16,500 fans. In the tight first matchup at the end of December (83-78 Belgrade) 17,500 gave their former coach Trinchieri and Vladimir Lucic and Ognjen Jaramaz, who grew up at Partizan, an extremely friendly reception.
"I really enjoyed that moment and the game, even though we lost by a narrow margin," said FCBB guard Jaramaz, whose team is fighting for its tenth win of the season. "I really appreciated being welcomed so kindly. Partizan is one of the biggest clubs in Europe, not only in Serbia. I was part of this club for two and a half years as a professional and six years as a youth player and have always been a fan. That's why it's a special game for me to play against them, hopefully again in a positive atmosphere."
Can the FCBB win the rebounding duel?
Not only a basketball party awaits but also a hungry playoff contender who recently beat Monaco (100-80) and Fenerbahce (73-72) both top teams in the league. The euphoria surrounding legendary coach, Obradovic (nine EuroLeague wins) is understandable, as his team's record now stands at 12-11 and the 84.3 points on average are the third best in the Euroleague; the 17.2 points from the free throw line is not matched by any other club.
In terms of rebounds, the Munich team (9-14) might have an advantage as the Black and Whites grab an average of 30.3 boards the worst of all 18 clubs - the hosts average 34.3. Whether big man Othello Hunter, who has been missing lately (along with Lucic, Elias Harris and Andreas Obst), will be able to rejoin the squad after his back problems will be a game-time decision.
Breakthrough for Lessort under Obradovic
Partizan has a dangerous duo under the basket, however, with Frenchman Mathias Lessort, who played in Munich in 2019/2020, is averaging 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds, hitting an outstanding 69 percent from two. Fellow guard Zach LeDay is posting 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.
NBA-experienced wing player Dante Exum, who arrived from Barcelona in the summer, is extremely efficient, scoring 13.4 points with a rate of 60.2 percent from within the arc and and 40.7 percent from beyond. Top scorer is guard Kevin Punter (14.9 points, 41.1% 3pt).
Serbia's national player Jaramaz is not the only one expecting an intense duel: "We are coming off a tough week with three losses. We have to prepare as well as we can to win this time."