Created on 2015-08-17 at 14:00 PM
He’s been the focal point of the FC Bayern Basketball team for two years. Nihad Djedovic is irreplaceable – not just because he’s the team’s top scorer, but also because he’s the kind of player who takes responsibility in the important moments. The 25-year-old is busy preparing for his third year as a Bayern player, and we sat down with him to talk about his goals, what he finds special about Munich and his plans for the future.
FCBB: Nihad, hand on heart – as a sportsman, are you really happy when the summer break is over and you have to get started with pre-season training again?
Nihad Djedovic: To be honest, it’s a mixed feeling! No, but really – on the one hand I’m really happy that we’re getting back underway, but on the other hand it’s also a shame that the break is over because it’s really nice to relax after a long and intensive season. But of course the anticipation is greater than that disappointment, and now it’s time to get back started doing what we love the most.
FCBB: Pre-season will begin, as usual, with a training camp. Not the nicest time for you, is it?
Djedovic: No, that’s not true. Obviously pre-season is always hard work, but want to prepare ourselves in the best possible way for the season ahead. Therefore I’ve already started doing some work on my own, so that I can hit the ground running in pre-season and feel good.
FCBB: The core of the side has stayed together, and you’ve strengthened the squad in the form of Alex Renfoe, Maxi Kleber, Deon Thompson and Andi Seiferth. How are you feeling ahead of the new season?
Djedovic: I’ve got a very good feeling. I’m really happy about all of the signings we made, because they’re all top players. Now we have to help the new guys settle in – those of us who have been here for longer have to do that. If we manage to integrate them in well, I’ll have a very good feeling about the upcoming campaign.
FCBB: The team’s goals seem to be quite clear, but what about you personally? Have you set yourself any targets? Is there anything you especially want to improve?
Djedovic: The team’s goals are obviously clear. We want to retain the title and to go far in the domestic cup and European competitions. As for me, every player wants to improve their game – I just want to help the team as much as I can. To do that I need to expand my repertoire and to work on improving my weaknesses – that way I’ll become a better player, too.
FCBB: You’ve got another tough group in the Euroleague.
Djedovic: With two teams that made it to the Final Four last year, it’s obviously a very tough group. Real Madrid is a defending champion, and Khimki Moskau is European champion. But that doesn’t really matter, since every side you face in the Euroleague is a top side.
FCBB: What's the key to reaching the last 16?
Djedovic: Definitely the home games. They are key in this kind of group. We have to learn from the mistakes we made last season - we only won one game at home. We won't get any further if we don't improve in that respect. We must be aware that every game is vital, and we need to use the fantastic atmosphere in the Audi Dome to our advantage.
FCBB: You’re starting your third season in Munich, and have been a German citizen since May. Did you feel at home in Munich after coming back from your summer vacation?
Djedovic: Oh yes, straight away. I love every corner of the city, every corner of the Audi Dome. My wife and I both feel very comfortable here – Munich and FC Bayern is our home. It feels amazing to be back here again.
FCBB: There’s a chance then that you may then stay in Munich after your third year at Bayern?
Djedovic: Certainly. In my opinion there’s no reason why not (laughs). Seriously, FC Bayern is such a big club. Thanks to our football colleagues, Bayern is a household name all over the world. It’s also great that Basketball has become so popular – the development has been sensational, and I am so proud to be a part of it.
Yassin Idbihi and Lucca Staiger have left FC Bayern Basketball as their contracts have expired. “We are very thankful for what Lucca and Yassin have done for us in the past couple of years,” said Bayern CEO Marko Pesic after the final discussions. “They were both apart of our championship team from 2014 and played a big part in our triumph. They will always have a special place here at the club.”
31-year-old and former Germany national team center Yassin Idbihi arrived in Munich in 2013. In the championship season he averaged 16 minutes per game while dropping 5.8 points and grabbing 4.2 boards. In the 23 Euroleague games he averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds. During last season, the German-Moroccan suffered from injury problems and only made 20 appearances in the BEKO BBL. He averaged 10 minutes per game, while only scoring 3.4 points per game.
“I am very thankful that I had the chance to play for FC Bayern and I am very happy and proud that I won the championship back in 2014. It is my biggest success to date. Now I am searching for a new challenge and I wish Bayern all the best for the future,” said Idbihi before departing.
27-year-old Lucca Staiger also took a look back at his two years in a Bayern jersey. The three-ball specialist came from Ludwigsburg in 2013 and during the championship season hit 45 three pointers, giving him a 40.2 percentage from beyond the arc. This past season the shooting guard averaged 13.3 minutes per game, while scoring 4.6 points. In the fifth and final playoff game against Bamberg, he hit four out of five three pointers.
“My time in Munich was a very special, useful and important for me, not only because we won the title one year ago,” said Lucca Staiger.” “I have met many nice people and had the honor to work with special people. The cohesion there was great, everyone was so helpful. I have never experienced something like this in my career and I would like to say thank you to everyone at the club.”
FC Bayern Basketball would like to wish Yassin Idbihi and Lucca Staiger all the best for their futures.