Brose Bamberg host Barcelona on Thursday as the EuroLeague season resumes after its short break as the New Year looks to start with a bang.
It is also a chance for both teams to continue with their good run of form with Bamberg winning their last two encounters and the Catalan side also claiming as many victories in a row.
“We are playing against one of the biggest teams in the history of European basketball,” admits Bamberg coach Andrea Trincheri.
“It will be for sure a very tough game. Their goal is the Final Four. Keep being humble. We need to play a very energetic game. We need to play extremely, extremely intense and see if this will be enough against a great team like Barcelona.”
History sees Barcelona holding a dominant 6-1 record over their German counterparts but Bamberg have shown some flashes of brilliance on their home floor this season. They lead the EuroLeague in three-point shooting at 43 percent and, in general, shoots better than Barca on all fronts.
∞∞∞ MACCABI LOOKING TO MAKE AMENDS AGAINST DARUSSAFAKA ∞∞∞
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv will be vying to avenge the narrow 86-84 loss that Darussafaka Dogus inflicted on them last month when the two teams meet again in Israel on Thursday.
For the visitors, head coach David Blatt will make an emotional return to his former club for whom he guided to a EuroLeague title back in 2014. It also will be Ainars Bagatskis’ first home game in charge of Maccabi.
The game will mark another reunion as Bagatskis joined Maccabi from Darussafaka, where he was Blatt’s assistant until mid-December.
“I know 100 percent we can play better,” Bagatskis says. “We controlled some games, but lost because of stupid reasons. Right now we need to talk about self-respect, teammate-respect, club-respect, spectator-respect and play for all 40 minutes.
“I’m focusing on our own job; each player needs to grab the rebound. My wish is that the aggressiveness we showed today in practice will be transferred to the game.”
∞∞∞ OTHER GAMES ∞∞∞
There will be an Istanbul derby on Thursday as Anadolu Efes play Galatasaray at the Abdi Ipecki Arena. They have met three times before in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague play, with Efes ahead 2-1. Galatasaray will look to move away from the bottom of the table and a win will go down well.
Fresh off a league victory over their rivals Real Madrid, Baskonia return to EuroLeague action as they face Unics Kazan in Vitoria.
In their first-ever EuroLeague confrontation last month, the game went down to the very end before Baskonia took the road win by a single point, 92-91, on Tornike Shengelia’s two free throws with mere seconds to go.