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Olimpia is going to Munich, Coach Messina: “Rebounds and ball movement the keys against their aggressiveness”


Playing against Bayern in Munich is part of a recent history of many battles, including the five-game epic duel that last season allowed Olimpia to reach the Final Four for the first time in 29 years. But traditionally these games are always very close, no matter what, and decided in the last few possessions. Compared to last season, however, the two teams have changed a lot, in a very deep way Bayern, in a less pronounced way Olimpia even if the absence of Malcolm Delaney accentuates this trait. He was perhaps the hottest player on the team, he had four games in a row in double figures, and he was the best overall during the playoff series that Olimpia won last season. Both teams have won the last round in the closing possessions, Olimpia against ASVEL coming back from a 16-point deficit, Bayern in Kaunas coming back from 16 points down, during the first half, too, and ending up prevailing by two points. In their domestic league, they have both won on the road, Olimpia in Bologna, Bayern in Frankfurt in a no-contest. Olimpia enters this game with a 5-0 record, built at home and with its defensive efficiency (70.6 points allowed on average). The road game in Munich opens the season’s second week with two consecutive games. On Thursday 27, Olimpia will receive the Red Star Belgrade at home.

NOTES – The game will be played on Tuesday, 26 October, in Audi Dome, tip-off at 20:45.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We face a very well prepared team, as always, based on a strong defense and a sharp offensive plays execution. Malcolm Delaney’s absence will force us to change our rotations a little bit, so we understand that the game will be a complicated one for us. The key factors will be rebounds and a good ball movement on offense against their much anticipated defensive aggressiveness.”

GIAMPAOLO RICCI – “We are fully aware to face a very tough and strong opponent, a team who is improving game by game, on a very difficult court. Our goal, entering this game, is to keep moving along a path built on incremental improvements, throughout fourty minutes full of energy and attention to detail.”

THE REFEREES – Sreten Radovic (Croatia), Juan Carlos Garcia (Spain), Saulius Racys (Sweden).

BAYERN – They have lost four of their first five games, but Bayern has won its last road game in Kaunas. And it was the first time Vladimir Lucic was available (he scored 17 points immediately). In addition, Bayern lost once by a point, once by three and again at home with Barcelona in the last few minutes. This is only its second home game, so the schedule was not favorable and explains the record. Compared to the team that made the playoffs with Olimpia, Lucic, Zan Sisko (5.4 points, 2.0 assists per game), Nihad Dedovic and Nick Weiler-Babb (2.8 points, 4.2 rebounds per game) are back. To these must be added Leon Radosevic and Paul Zipser who, however, have not been used yet for physical reasons. As a result, there are many newcomers: Corey Walden, a point guard from the Red Star, is averaging 13.2 points per game and shooting 52.4 percent from three; EuroLeague veteran Darrun Hilliard is averaging 15.6 points per game; power forward Deshaun Thomas is averaging 11.4 points and grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game; center Othello Hunter is a long time EuroLeague veteran (6.8 points, 4.0 rebounds per game); the other big man, Augustine Rubit has played for Olympiacos and Zalgiris during the past two seasons; the list is completed by Ognjen Jaramaz, German international Andreas Obst, a great shooter, and finally by power forward Gavin Schilling.

HISTORY – Seven of the 12 game played between these two teams date back to last season in which they met in the playoffs in five-game series. Overall, the record is 8-5 in favor of Olimpia, who is 6-1 at home and 2-4 in Munich. Olimpia won the two games of the 2014/15 season and lost the two of the 2018/19 season. In 2019/20, Olimpia won the Milan game 79-78, coming back from 13 points behind in the last quarter and 20 down in the second half, with 16 points scored by Vlado Micov. In that game Sergio Rodriguez scored nine points and had 10 assists. The decisive field goal was a dunk made by Kaleb Tarczewski on a Sergio Rodriguez’s alley-oop pass. During the last year, Olimpia won after an overtime 81-78 in Munich, the decisive field goal was a three with nine seconds left made by Shavon Shields. Malcolm Delaney had 18 points and eight assists, 16 points with 5-for-5 from the field came from Kyle Hines. In the second leg Olimpia won 75-51. In the playoffs, Olimpia won Game 1, 79-78 in Milan, coming back from 19 down, with a buzzer-beating field goal scored by Zach LeDay (the alley-oop pass was executed by Malcolm Delaney). Olimpia then won Game 2 at home 80-69, lost Game 3 in Munich 85-79 and Game 4 85-82. Finally, in Game 5 after a dominating game, Olimpia struggled against a furious comeback and protected the win only when Kyle Hines blocked Wade Baldwin shot, forcing him into a jump ball that he controlled. Shavon Shields’ 34 points in that game represented his career-high.

THE BAYERN CONNECTION – Leon Radosevic played in Milan for two seasons, in 2011/12 and in 2012/13 when he returned to Milan after a short break at Alba Berlin. Malcolm Delaney played for Bayern Munich during the 2013/14 season when he made his EuroLeague debut averaging 13.9 points and 5.1 assists per game. He also won the German title with Bayern. However, both of them may miss the game, in Delaney’s case it is a certainty. Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri is from Milan and has coached at Olimpia both at a youth level and as an assistant for the first team. Besides, he has coached Kyle Hines in Veroli and Nicolò Melli in Bamberg during his career. Gigi Datome and Nihad Dedovic were teammates in Rome. Kyle Hines played along Darrun Hilliard and Othello Hunter in Moscow; Shavon Shields was a teammate of Hilliard in Vitoria and Sergio Rodriguez played with Hunter in Moscow. Dinos Mitoglou and DeShaun Thomas played together in Panathinaikos.

GAME NOTES – Kaleb Tarczewski has scored 280 two-point baskets in his career. The all-time leader in the EuroLeague for Olimpia is Vlado Micov with 281. Nicolò Melli is four rebounds from 1,000 in his career: he would be the 20th player in history to cross that line. Kyle Hines is six rebounds shy of 1,500 in his career: he would be the fifth to reach this milestone. Malcolm Delaney surpassed 1,500 career points against Efes. Now he has 421 scored for Olimpia. Delaney has a streak of four consecutive double-digit games going on, but he will not be available in Munich. Devon Hall is a rookie in the EuroLeague, but he has scored in double digit in all of his first four games and scored the winning three-pointer to win the fifth. Shavon Shields is third in the EuroLeague for defensive rebounds with a 5.0 average. First overall is Panathinaikos center Georgios Papagiannis, but behind him are Barcelona point-guard Nick Calathes and Shields and Unics Kazan wing Mario Hezonja.

THE COMEBACK – By winning against Asvel coming from 16 points behind, Olimpia have executed the sixth biggest comeback in its EuroLeague history. The record for the biggest comeback dates back to the 2016/17 season when Milan came from a 25-point deficit by beating Darussafaka. Twice Olimpia has erased twenty points, in 2008/09 against CSKA Moscow and in 2019/20 against Bayern; last year Olimpia won coming from 19 points down against Bayern in Game 1 of the playoffs and in 2017/18 in Valencia, it won coming back from a 17-point deficit.