Campazzo debuts for Red Star in showdown against Bayern
The 2023 German Cup winners return to the Audi Dome for the first time after their big win: After a weekend off and three days of training, the Bayern Basketball players host Serbian playoff candidates Red Star Belgrade on the 26th EuroLeague gameday in the Audi Dome, which is sold out with 6,500 fans. The Serbs also recently won the national cup and will be accompanied by numerous fans as usual.
The game will start on Thursday evening at 19:00 (live on Magenta Sport). Due to the announced public transport strike and the expected high traffic volume, an early arrival is recommended. In addition to the parking garage on Siegenburger Strasse, the parking lot on Hansastrasse is also available, as always.
In the BBL, Bayern's next game is on Saturday evening (20:30, Magenta Sport) on the road at last year's final opponent and current league leader, Berlin.
Strong back court with Vildoza and Nedovic
The Audi Dome is sure to be a party and only partly because of the approximate 1,500 Belgrade fans that will bring their typical fire to the game. The focus of attention for the Serbs, who are extremely ambitious this season, is likely to be the long-awaited premiere of Argentinian playmaker Facundo Campazzo, who, together with compatriot Luca Vildoza and Nemanja Nedovic, who were signed in the summer, now form what is probably the best group of guards in the league.
"Red Star's backcourt is unique with those three players and I don't know how many teams can put that much quality together," said head coach Andrea Trinchieri with great respect for the visiting team. "But we are not in discount mode and we will play as hard as we can." And further, with a final review to the Top4: "My players have had so many challenges against them this season, Rubit's season ending injury in the semifinals being the most recent. That's when you sometimes lose confidence, too. That's why the team needed the cup win. It's over now, but that's a positive push."
New Red Star guard, Campazzo, well known in Europe from his successful time with Real Madrid and most recently his time in the NBA for Dallas and Denver, joined Crvena Zvezda back in December but had only been able to show his skills in the Adriatic League ABA (13.4 ppg, 6.9 apg) due to a EuroLeague club penalty. The 31-year-old was still on the court in his home country at the beginning of the week, but was unable to prevent Argentina from unexpectedly losing 79-75 to the Dominican Republic in the decisive game of the World Cup qualifiers meaning that the team will miss out on a World Cup for the first time in more than 40 years.
"Cup victory has given us self-confidence".
Campazzo's stunning signing was the culmination of Red Star's enormous efforts in the transfer market. The Serbs currently sit in 13th place (11-14), two wins ahead of Bayern, and will be looking to stay in playoff contention with a win. Most recently, however, the team of head coach Dusko Ivanovic, who successfully took over in November, suffered an 87-72 home loss against Berlin.
A key player besides Vildoza (13.8 ppg, 3.8 apg) is homegrown Nemanja Nedovic (14.5 ppg), traded from Panathinaikos. Vildoza, like Campazzo now, came over from the NBA, from the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Red Star has a strong team and now with Campazzo probably the best talent at the guard position in the EuroLeague. He is a real competitor and has a tremendous amount of quality offensively," said FCBB captain Vladimir Lucic. "For them, the game is very important, because they have ambitions to get into the playoffs; after the defeat in Belgrade, every game is a do-or-die game for them. Like Partizan, they will have similar support from their fans and thus not really an away game. We are looking forward to this atmosphere and hopefully we can get the victory. Because that's our goal, to win as many games as possible."
Belgrade's center Filip Petrusev (10.8 ppg), winger Ognjen Dobric (9.0) and forward Luka Mitrovic (7.5) should also enter the next game with a push. The trio, along with Bayern guard Ognjen Jaramaz provided the Serbian national team with a 101-83 World Cup qualifier at home over Great Britain on Monday night. Lucic, captain of both the Bayern and the Serbian team, meanwhile remained out with an injury (thigh) at the Isar.
His play will be decided at short notice after his break in Tel Aviv on Thursday, while Elias Harris and Augustine Rubit are known to be out. "As long as it is mathematically possible, we also still have the playoffs somewhat in mind, although that is very unlikely," said FCBB forward Niklas Wimberg. "But anyway, we also want to win as many games as possible in the EuroLeague - and the Cup win has given us new confidence."