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Champions Cup awaits without key players

101 days after winning the German Championship for the first time in 59 years Bayern return to the scene of the historic triumph. On Saturday September 27, Svetislav Pesic’s team face Play-Off finalists and Cup winners ALBA Berlin in the Champions Cup in the o2 World Arena (20:30 CEST).

With the season opener only five days away (vs. Mitteldeutscher BC in the Audi Dome on Thursday October 2, 20:30 CEST), Bayern have a number of injury doubts. Captain Bryce Taylor has a hip problem and will sit the game in Berlin out, as will Paul Zipser and new signing Anton Gavel: Gavel injured his shoulder in the “Kameha Cup” final against Bonn and has been told to rest by team doctor Jochen Hahne. Zipser is recovering well after damaging ligaments in his knee towards the end of last season and is getting closer to returning to action.

Despite the injury situation at the club, Bayern’s head coach is insisting upon intense preparation for this weekend’s dress rehearsal for the new Bundesliga season: “We are still in the preparation stages for the season – we’ve trained a lot but we’re still lacking a bit of match practice” said Svetislav Pesic before the team departed for the capital on Friday. “We’re going to be taking the Champions Cup very seriously because we want to know what our levels are like in comparison with another team at our level.” Germany international Robin Benzing has similar attitudes towards the game: “The league starts soon, but this is our first true competitive fixture. We want to get off on the right foot and give a good account of ourselves in Berlin.” Bayern’s longest-serving player added this: “It will be our biggest test so far – only now will we be able to see where we stand.”

After seven weeks of preparations, the team are hotly anticipating the start of the season on October 2. The results from pre-season were outstanding with seven victories and only one defeat on the cards. Svetislav Pesic sees these figures, however, as having “little significance” in measuring the development of the team. The experienced coach also wants to further integrate new players, such as runner-up World Champion Vladimir Stimac, into the team and the match system.

Meanwhile, the ambitions of the capital city’s team haven’t changed. This is shown in the squad: new additions to Reggie Redding’s team are Jamel McLean (from Bonn), the long-term injured Belgian Jonathan Tabu (Zaragossa), Niels Giffey from the North American College-League (UConn Huskies) in addition to injured Martin Seiferth (Eastern Washington), the youngest signing Alex Renfroe (Vitoria, previously Bamberg) and Marko Banic (Estudiantes Madrid). The Berliners have lost David Logan (to Sassari, Italy), Levon Kendall (Gran Canaria), Sven Schultze (Bremerhaven) and FCBB-returnee Jan Jagla.  

For those of you aren’t making the journey to Berlin for the game, you can see it live on www.telekombasketball.de from 20:15 CEST for free.

Upcoming fixtures:

Champions Cup: 
Saturday 27th September, 20:30 CEST
ALBA Berlin – FC Bayern Basketball

Matchday 1: 
Thursday 2nd October, 20:30 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball – Mitteldeutscher BC

Matchday 2: 
Sunday 5th October, 17:00 CEST 
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg – FC Bayern Basketball

Matchday 3: 
Wednesday 8th October, 20:30 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball – FRAPORT Skyliners Frankfurt