Bayern end their losing streak in the EuroLeague
In game week 22, FC Bayern's basketball players managed a surprising 80-68 win over Israel's record champions Maccabi Tel Aviv. This was Bayern's seventh win of the season, after a few difficult weeks in the EuroLeague. This was also the first win under head coach Oliver Kostic. In front of 4,789 spectators in the Audi Dome, the German champions gave a strong defensive performance against an in-form side, sat in third in the table. Bayern won 40 rebounds to the Israelis' 20 and were convincing over the first 40 minutes, shooting 47% from the three-point line. After getting out to an early lead (27-14), Munich brought the favorites to their knees in the final quarter. Nihad Djedovic was the best shooter in the game with 19 points, ahead of Paul Zipser (17).
Bayern are back in action on Sunday against the Telekom Baskets Bonn (18:00 CET), it's a chance for revenge for October's cup defeat. After the EuroLeague away match in Milan (January 31st, 21:15 CET), it's time for the derby against Würzburg in the Audi Dome (February 2nd, 15:00 CET).
FC Bayern Munich v Maccabi Tel Aviv 80-68 (35-33)
Nihad Djedovic (19 points/3 three-pointers), Paul Zipser (17/9 rebounds), Petteri Koponen (9), Maodo Lo (9), Greg Monroe (9/10 rebounds), Danilo Barthel (6), Thomas Bray (5), Leon Radosevic (4), Jos-hua Huestis (2) Diego Flaccadori, Mathias Lessort and Alex King (dnp).
Elijah Bryant (14)
Miguel Angel Perez (ESP), Damir Javor (CRO), Mykola Ambrosov (UKR)
Vladimir Lucic became a father for the second time after the birth of his daughter.
Post-game presser quotes:Oliver Kostic, Bayern coach: "It was a great team performance today, and I'm really proud of the team. We're celebrating two successes today: the win and the birth of Vladimir Lucic's second daughter. Both mother and child are in Belgrade and doing well. It's a great thing. In recent weeks, we've failed to take that final step, but we did so today. The team has given it their all in the past two weeks. It wasn't easy because, because we were playing more than we were training. This time, we won the rebounds against Maccabi, that's remarkable. But we also need to work on the number of turnovers. We're celebrating tonight, but tomorrow we shift our focus to the game against Bonn." Ioannis Sfairopoulos, Tel Aviv coach: "Bayern played better and deserved to win. We played badly and were too late to the ball on defense. We also lost a lot of 50/50s." Nihad Djedovic: "For 40 minutes, we put in our best performance of the new year. It's been hard recently, we lost every game. The pressure was piling on, but this dominant win will help us to get out of this hole. We've got some great guys, are playing good ball and just have to believe in ourselves."
Kostic chose Maodo Lo, Nihad Djedovic, Paul Zipser, Danilo Barthel and Greg Monroe as his starters. Bayern scored their first points after 90 seconds; Zipser brought it level at 3-3 with a three-pointer. The international gave Bayern their first lead too, again with a three-pointer (8-5). The Munich native had a great game, hardly gave the ball away, won offensive rebounds and scored brilliantly. After five minutes, FCBB were 14-7 up – Maccabi timeout. Petteri Koponen slotted in instantly and provided the fifth three-pointer from six attempts (19-9, 7'). Bayern were great on defense too, and deservedly lead 23-12 after the first quarter.
Djedovic scored again, from a left-side lay-up (25-12, 12'). Koponen extended the lead to 27-14 (14') from the free-throw line. After a three-pointer from Maccabi's Aaron Jackson, FCBB head coach Kostic called a timeout (27-19, 16'). But the huddle didn't help, the rhythm was gone. Maccabi closed the gap (29-23, 17'). Bayern were now giving away a lot of turnovers, the guests then brought it back to 29-29 (18'). But, Djedovic was the ace in the hole. He scored eight of Bayern's ten points in the second quarter (33-31, 19'). At half time, FCBB were up 35-33.
Scottie Wilbekin, Tel Aviv's three-point machine, scored his first points of the game (37-36, 22'). A short while later, he shot the guests into the lead (39-41, 24'). Bayern were now having issues on defence, but a textbook three-pointer from TJ Bray turned the tables (50-47, 27'). The game was an exciting one, and Bayern fought and hit their stride (54-49, 29'). They just made life a bit difficult for themselves with their turnovers, and Maccabi didn't take long to use this to their advantage (54-53, 29'). Ten seconds before the buzzer, Koponen sank one of his lethal three-pointers. The score was 57-53 after 30 minutes.
Tel Aviv's coach called a timeout after 76 seconds and reacted to two successive baskets from Zipser and Bray (62-52, 32'). The Final-Four candidate countered with five unanswered points (62-58, 34'). But Bayern were on top; Maodo Lo answered with three points of his own (66-58, 35'). The guests tried to force the comeback, but FCBB stood firm; Monroe helped with a three-pointer (71-66, 37'). Then, Djedovic set the Audi Dome alight with a three-pointer to make it 74-66. He won a crucial turnover to set up Zipser for an important three points (77-68, 39'). Bayern's will was enormous; they defended with tenacity and were desperate for the win. And they got it, after six defeats in a row.
Foto-Credit: Stickel, Eirich, Rauchensteiner & Panke