84-80 Triumph over Alba Berlin in a sold-out Audi Dome
The basketball players of FC Bayern Munich, who are severely weakened by injuries, defeated their eternal rival Alba Berlin in the 50th edition of the classic by a final score of 84-80. They are now the only undefeated team and stand alone atop the BBL standings. In the Audi Dome, which sold out with 6,500 fans, the German champions showed up big-time only 42 hours after the difficult EuroLeague game in Istanbul. They were especially strong in the second half, and defeated the runner-up (without playmaker Siva) in an exciting final quarter. The outstanding player was veteran Alex King with 19 points, while DeMarcus Nelson (12) and Diego Flaccadori also provided valuable relief for Bayern, who were without four key players.
The Bavarians will play in the EuroLeague in Valencia next Friday (November 15th, 21:00 CET / MagentaSport), before a BBL matchup against Bayreuth in the Audi Dome on Sunday (November 17th, 15:00).
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Points per quarter Bayern - Berlin: 16-22, 25-16, 21-15, 22-27.
Facts & Figures - Two-point shooting: 50% (FCBB) / 63% (Berlin); Three-point shooting: 43% / 39%; Rebounds: 32 / 30. - Injuries: TJ Bray (post-foot surgery), Josh Huestis (post-foot surgery), Mathias Lessort (post ligament rupture), Nihad Djedovic (knee irritation).
FCBB stats: Alex King (19 points), Greg Monroe (13/9 rebounds), Vladimir Lucic (13), DeMarcus Nelson (12), Paul Zipser (9), Petteri Koponen (6/4 assists), Maodo Lo (4), Diego Flaccadori (4), Danilo Barthel (4/6 rebounds), Leon Radosevic and Sasha Grant (dnp).
FCBB head coach, Dejan Radonjic: "We played very well today, except for the first minutes. Although we had a hard EuroLeague game at Fenerbahce not even 48 hours ago, my players played with a lot of energy and focus. In addition to the tight schedule, we have four injured players, which shouldn't be understated. Now we have a few days to recover, that's also important because very difficult games are coming up in a very short time. Thanks to our fans for their support today".
Berlin head coach, Aito: "Congratulations to Bayern, they deserved to win the game. We tried for a long time today to keep up, but we made too many mistakes and turnovers in the decisive phase. In the end, we didn't have enough energy."
Alex King: "Alba is a very good team, it was head to head and we knew it would be a difficult game. It was about first place - what was important for us was that we could keep up and win the game. We put on a good show for the fans and are now happy to have a day off to rest."
Marko Pesic, Managing Director of FCBB: "We had a hard time in the first quarter, you could see the effects of the long journey to Istanbul and back yesterday. That was an outstanding achievement for this short preparation. That's why the team and the coaches should be complimented because we also have four injured players. But today Alex in particular, but also DeMercus and Diego and Leon. Everyone else helped very well."
FCBB coach Dejan Radonjic ordered Maodo Lo, Petteri Koponen, Vladimir Lucic, Danilo Barthel and Greg Monroe as starters in the top game against the capital city team. Vladimir Lucic served up a nice pass to Greg Monroe well for the first basket of the game but the Albatrosses found their rhythm quickly and took the lead thanks to their run-and-gun game and took a 9-5 lead. Maodo Lo stopped the Berlin 8-0 run with a floating jump shot but Berlin's Rokas Giedraitis caused considerable problems for the Bayern defensive as he sank his third three-pointer in the quarter to take a 16-9 lead. Alex King delivered - as so often - fresh energy from the bench and his five points in a row brought Bayern a bit closer again. After one quarter the score was 22-16 in favor of Berlin.
The Munich fans had great difficulties even after the break and the fans had to wait two minutes before Alex King scored the first points with a three. The shot heralded a fantastic 21-4 run for Bayern and the defending champions were right back in it. A little later Barthel tied things up at 28-28 before Monroe brought the Munich team after what felt like an eternity, into the lead at 29-28. Neither team was able to pull away but Maodo Lo gave the team a boost of momentum when he stole the ball and sank the basket at the buzzer to take a 41-38 lead at the half.
The Bavarians started well in the second half with a patient three from Lucic but then both teams took the claws out defensivley and each bucket was a battle. Petteri Koponen was fouled beyond the arc and hit all three free-throws to take a 49-42 lead. FCBB then made two or three frivolous mistakes, which were immediately exploited by the guests to get to within two points. The Bayern defense, however, held strong and helped to extend the lead to six. The Munich squad had the momentum and of course the audience on their side when Alex King hit a three for a 62-53 to put a bow on the third quarter.
The Bavarians had one day less to rest compared to their opponents due to the last EuroLeague game, but now seemed to have shaken the tiredness out of their bones. Nelson took the first double-digit Bayern lead and a three from Paul Zipser seemed to bring the FCBB on the path to winning but suddenly turnovers again helped Berlin to stay in the game and with seven minutes to play the score was 68-61 in favor of the home team. A proof for the aggressiveness in the defense was the fact that both opponents had already reached the team foul limit after three minutes into the quarter. King added to his good performance with another three to again take a ten-point lead. After a Lucic three, the 34-year-old hit another shot and the crowd went wild. The Berliners tried to get the Bavarians off their game with a press defense but the home club solved this challenge by letting King do his thing with a three from the corner. The fact that one should never think oneself safe against Berlin is taught by all the experiences of the past and suddenly 28 seconds before the end they managed to get to within four points (81-77). Nelson was fouled with 19 seconds on the clock and he managed to hit both free throws to seal the deal for Bayern.
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Photo-Credit: Stickel, Smokers, Eirich