EuroLeague favorite Barcelona is too strong for Bayern basketball in a sold-out Audi Dome
The basketball players of FC Bayern Munich played well in a tough EuroLeague matchup but still lost 77-67 against title favorite, FC Barcelona. The star ensemble of coach Svetislav Pesic impressed especially with their defensive performance. In the sold-out Audi Dome, 6,500 spectators witnessed a thrilling game at a high level from the start before the Spaniards were able to make a preliminary breakthrough in the second quarter with an 11-0 run to take a 37-22 lead. Bayern was unable to get more than nine points due to the strong defense of the guests. Paul Zipser was the top scorer for Bayern with 19 points (4/4 from three).
The third game within five days is now the German champion's road game in the BBL on Sunday in Giessen (15:00 CET). The last home game of the calendar year will then be against Zalgiris Kaunas on the Friday after Christmas (December 27th, 20:30). The fans will also be able to enjoy "Music meets Basketball", with Max Herre among others.
Points per quarter Bayern - Barcelona: 16-20, 9-19, 20-17, 22-21.
Facts & Figures - Two-point shooting: 45% (FCBB) // 68% (Barcelona); Three-point shooting: 36% // 15%; Rebounds: 27 // 33; Assists: 19 // 17; Turnovers: 19 // 16 - Injured: TJ Bray (build-up training).
FCBB stats: Paul Zipser (19 points/4 three), Vladimir Lucic (11), Leon Radosevic (10), Danilo Barthel (9), Joshua Huestis (5), Petteri Koponen (3), Nihad Djedovic (3), Mathias Lessort (3), Greg Monroe (2), DeMarcus Nelson (2), Maodo Lo and Diego Flaccadori.
FCBB head coach, Dejan Radonjic: "Congratulations to Barcelona. They played a very good game. Especially in the first 20 minutes they were very good on defense, we had big problems on offense and with turnovers. They were able to make ten of their 39 points after turnovers. It's hard to beat a team when you lose the ball 19 times. The second half was better offensively, but not good enough for a close game."
Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach Barcelona: "My statement today is simple: It was a simple game and by that I don't mean the opponent, but the way the game went. It was characterised throughout by the defense. We tried to keep our concentration high and for the most part we succeeded. If we had problems today, it was with the turnovers. 11 steals were good, but 16 turnovers is too much. If we had found a better mix of our defense and offense, we would have had a better shooting percentage.
I believe that Bayern can still achieve a lot. We were always in the lead, but it was never a clear game. But in the end we kept the focus on defense and I think we deserved to win.
Paul Zipser: "Barcelona's defense was very aggressive and caused us extreme problems, but we managed to do better in the second half. We knew how they were playing, but they made us tired and made some easy baskets. We need to start better, then we can keep up."
The starting line-up for FCBB coach Dejan Radonjic consisted of Maodo Lo, Nihad Djedovic, Vladimir Lucic, Josh Huestis and Greg Monroe. Lucic scored the first goal of the evening with a jump shot, but then the Catalans soon showed their quality and took advantage of FCBB's sloppy play with a 10-5 lead after three minutes. But the Munich team worked their way back to neck and neck as"Mr. Reliable" Vladimir Lucic drilled a three. The teams persisted with a high level of play as the Bavarians didn't really get closer, but Barça didn't really extend their lead either. A three-pointer from Koponen brought the fans from their seats and as the Bavarians gave their all, coach Svetislav Pesic was forced to take a time-out. At the end of the ten opening minutes the Munich team was behind, 20-16.
Barcelona felt the breath of the German champion on their neck but turnovers prevented a possible equalizer. However, the quality of the visitors' defense improved once again and the EuroLeague royalty team increased the pressure on the Germans considerably and for the first time they lost some ground, 30-22. Barça's superstar Nikola Mirotic gave his team a double-digit lead and Munich team was unable to put the ball in the basket. Barca impressed with a 15-2 run, which was only stopped by a Barthel three with two minutes to play in the half. At the break Munich was confronted with a considerable deficit - 39-25.
Paul Zipser drew attention to himself - first with a three, then with a spectacular block but still, the Catalans' defense resembled a bulwark, which made it as difficult as possible for the Bavarians to get through for points. The Germans, on the other hand, had difficulties on defense due primarily to the stars of the Spanish team. The FCBB, however, never gave up, braced themselves against it and stabilized - Zipser shortened their lead with five points in a row to bring the score to 52-42. A three from captain Danilo Barthel shrank the gap into single-digits but the guests scored again before the break, 56-45.
Bayern's first basket in the final quarter was two minutes in coming but the game remained within reach at 58-47. Munich showed character two days after their exhausting game in Berlin and braced themselves with all their might against an imminent defeat. Leon Radosevic reduced the Barca lead to 62-52 with five minutes to play. Paul Zipser robbed Mirotic and scored a lay-up to again get to 10 points behind. The Munich team had some good opportunities but the ball too often missed the target. Zipser kept hope alive with a three but Barcelona was too strong, always had an answer ready and thus prevented the game from becoming tight again.
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Photo credit: Stickel, Rauchensteiner, Eirich