FCBB faces Bonn on Sunday evening

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Ognjen Jaramaz was inconsolable after the thriller in Spane. The Serbian guard led the strong finish for the Bayern basketball team, which was weakened by injuries but missed the last three-pointer for the upset at FC Barcelona (72-70). But it was also the 27-year-old who, very quickly in the depths of the old Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona, was looking ahead to Sunday evening. The Telekom Baskets of Bonn who are second place in the BBL, will visit the Audi Dome for a top showdown.

Tickets vs Bonn

"This one we want to win"

"This is a very important game that we want to win," said Jaramaz, "and it would also be very important for us as a team, for confidence and for the standings."

The game tips off at 20:30 on Sunday, and Bayern expects at least 6,000 fans to attend despite the unusually late start.

It's no secret that the BBL is the FCBB's priority this season, despite the lure of the big stage of the EuroLeague. The energy-sapping balancing act has been working well in recent weeks, especially considering the ongoing personnel problems. With nine wins after 22 game days, the team is in solid company in the top Euroleague after an 0-5 start, while its record in the Bundesliga after the first half of the season is 13-4.

Injuries remain an issue

Two weeks before the first highlight of the season with the TOP4 in Oldenburg (semifinal against Berlin on February 18, 19:30/MagentaSport), Bayern wants to try on Sunday to get closer to the top duo of Berlin (15-1) and Bonn (15-2) - even though it is the fourth game of the week for third-place Munich. The Rhinelanders won the first matchup 78-68 a month ago, when Vladimir Lucic and Augustine Rubit were out with injury and they had played 40 hours earlier in Vítoria, This time, Munich has at least one more day to prepare after returning late on Friday afternoon.

Compared to the December clash, captain Lucic will be joined by Andreas Obst and Elias Harris on the injury report, while Othello Hunter, who left Spain early due to back problems, is also doubtful, as is the return of head coach Andrea Trinchieri due to family commitments following a bereavement.

Shorts is the leader for offensively strong Bonn

Bonn is has been extremely solid overall and offensively strong this season. Last year's semi-final opponent (3-2) is playing brilliantly this season despite losing recently to Berlin  (81-76). They followed that loss with a big win vs TOP4 host Oldenburg (108-79) and, most recently over last-place Bayreuth (94-71). Bonn played on Wednesday in the third-highest European competition (FIBA BCL) and also dominated the current 17th-place team in the Spanish ACB in Manresa (87-69).

TJ Shorts (left) is the go-to guy in Bonner basketball for coach Tuomas Iisalo
TJ Shorts (left) is the go-to guy in Bonner basketball for coach Tuomas Iisalo. (c) Wolter

For the Telekom Baskets, everything revolves around their go-to guard TJ Shorts who is currently the second-best BBL scorer with 19.4 points (plus 7.1 apg, and 42.5% from three). With the exception of shooting guard Jeremy Morgan (neck injury), the guests can draw from a full roster and play with a fast-paced offense (91 ppg, 37 rpg). Forwards Tyson Ward (11.4 ppg), Finn Delany (10.2) and Collin Malcolm (9.5), guard Sebastian Herrera (9.2) and on the board Leon Kratzer (9.4/6.2 rpg, 71% from two) round out a solid squad.

Before the Cup semifinals, Bayern will play in the EuroLeague against Partizan Belgrade (Thu., Feb 9, 20:30./sold out), next Sunday in Chemnitz (Feb. 12, 18:00) and the following Tuesday (Feb14, 19:00) in the Audi Dome against Hamburg.