In the last weeks, going to the Octoberfest in Munich is about as normal for Bavarian citizens as it is for Bostonians to visit the Harborfest during the fourth of July week, New York folk going for a walk down the street and seeing some kind of Hollywood film being made or for Chicago natives to eat a yummy Vienna beef dog which is their own special version of the Hog Dog. It is also not uncommon in Munich to observe players of FC Bayern Munich soccer team like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Frank Ribery or Thomas Mueller to spend some time there and mingle and enjoy the massive Bavarian tradition or even players from the FC Bayern Munich basketball department like John Bryant, Steffen Hamann or Chevon Troutman experiencing some extra out of the ordinary German culture. People may criticize this for the sake of too much partying, but why shouldn´t these two teams enjoy themselves when both clubs are sitting at the top of their respective standings with FC Bayern Munich soccer with a 6-0 record and the basketball department with a 4-0 record? Especially the basketball department is slowly starting to prove their doubters wrong that something very special is brewing in Munich this season and I am not talking about the oldest brewery in Munich the Augustiner. Since the arrival of FC Bayern Munich basketball back to the top German league in 2011, the club has been seen positively and negatively in that they are good for the overall league, but on the other hand have certain little advantages to the other clubs in things like budget or TV revenue and from the start have been condemned to always win games. It isn´t easy having to live in the shadow of the so famous FC Bayern Munich soccer department with 59 titles and 23 German league titles and especially in a time like now after they won three titles including the Champions League which makes them the best team in the world. Having to win each season heightens the pressure of FC Bayern Munich basketball each season a bit more. The sense of urgency needing to win is especially giant this season as the club has put together seemingly the best roster ever in the league as the only word the club understands and would have plastered to each player on their forehead invisibly if that was possible is WIN. “I think that it is important for them an dthe Beko BBL that they are successful in the Euroleague to help bring the club and league forward. The club is the most important motor for the league on account of their brand. Of course winning the German title would help them play Euroleague next season”, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Andrej Mangold. This season the club has started off with a 4-0 Beko BBL start and just tore apart medi Bayreuth last weekend 103-71. Even when an opponent plays very well, it isn´t enough, because it seems like you could use a few Kevin Durnants to fill the void. Medi Bayreuth guard Simon Schmitz saw first hand how destructive FC Bayern Munich is and has already his prediction for the club and tip to future opponents how to play them. “I never felt that they had any pressure on the court to win. They will at least reach the final and probably play Bamberg. Their defense and fast break is their biggest strength. Future opponents have to find a way to stand alert against their constant pressure for 40 minutes”, warned medi Bayreuth guard Simon Schmitz.
Last season, the team already had high expectations as the urge for a title is something that the big bosses want to see. The club had one of the biggest budgets in the league and anything but winning titles was already a major disappointment then as one saw more and more that Uli Hoennes was slowly getting a basketball mentality to match his already huge soccer mentality that will never be surpassed by basketball. The team wanted to keep some of the team chemistry by keeping eight players. Five Germans were kept with captain Steffen Hamann who wasn´t getting younger, but as a back up is a player that any team would die for, Demond Greene who could still give a mean defensive presence, Robin Benzing who strived under new coach Svetislav Pesic, Jan Jagla who also strived more under father in law Sveitislav Pesic and young big man Bogdan Radosavljevic who will prosper from daily practices with the experienced players, but didn´t get playing time due to the deep roster. The club also kept the inside duo of Jared Homan who was one ofthe fiercest player in the league and Chevon Troutman who continued to dazzle with his athletic ability. The team added 4 high class players starting with top Israel player Yotam Halperin who had such a versatile game and brought 140 Euroleague games to the table. Lawrence Roberts was an all around solid big man that played 88 games in the NBA. The team also hauled in top point guard Tyrese Rice who could decide a game at anytime and role player Brandon Thomas that could be a top scorer for almost any other team. Before any of these players had even played a minute in the new season, FC Bayern Munich showed their FC Hollywood face releasing a press release that might of even had an eskimo reading it in Alaska as they dismissed Dirk Bauermann. What exactly happened will never be known, but the timing couldn´t have been more unusual or untimely. The team stuck with assistant coach Yannis Christopolous who didn´t fare well shaping a team of stars. The team then got their wish candidate with Svetislav Pesic that won 7 titles with Alba Berlin including the Korac Cup in 1995, the 1993 European championships with Germany and 2001 European championships with Yugoslavia and 2003 Euroleague with FC Barcelona. Despite all this strength at the end of the season, no title was brought back to the Isar in Munich. FC Bayern Munich finished the season in fourth place with a recor21-13 and gave 8 time Beko BBL club Alba Berlin a scare sweeping them 3-0 routing them in game one and then having the better nerves in crunch time winning two close games. They gave then five time champion Brose Baskets Bamberg a run for their money, by taking them through a hard fought five game series where at halftime in game five the game was dead locked at 40-40. However the home court and vast Bamberg experience prevailed in the end as they outscored FC Bayern Munich 45-26 thus ending the second season for FC Bayern Munich since returning to the league.
The father son duo of Svetislav Pesic and Marko Pesic did a good job creating a more than a competitive team for this season. They held four players from last season with three Germans and one American. The club retained ex German national players Steffen Hamann and Demond Greene who wont be fighting for any massive playing time or getting it, but their presence will be so valuable on and off the court and know how to win titles having done it in Bamberg and Berlin. It is evident that 32 year old 195cm guard Hamann is nearing the end of his career as he is averaging 5,8 minutes per game and 1,3ppg. His penetration to the hoop is still dangerous as he burnt Frankfurt on occasion last season. The team also held Robin Benzing a 24 year old 208cm forward who really profited from the arrival of Pesic as his playing time and production increased over his first season last year. His role is to hit his shots, improve defense and possibly be more versatile and get more buckets inside. The ex TV Langen player is currently averaging 11,3ppg, 2,3rpg and 1,0apg and is shooting 41,7% from outside. The team also kept Chevon Troutmann (9,3ppg, 4,3rpg) who has been a valuable player and one of the most consistent over the last two seasons. After playing in France and Italy, the 31 year old 202cm forward has adapted well to the Beko BBL. The club will rely on his percentage shooting again and rebound work. The club added 10 new players including four Germans, four Americans and two Serbs. They also served themselves a smorgasboard of ex Alba Berlin players grabbing four players. The club signed 29 year old 181cm German national player Heiko Schaffartzik(7,3ppg, 1,3rpg, 1,3apg) who is captain of the German national player, but will be one of many spectacular players in Munich. He has played in nine places in Germany and only one title to show for with a 2013 cup win with Alba Berlin. Who could forget his break out season at the 2009 European championships where he shot 54% from the parking lot. He is known for wild three pointers that hit the mark, but he wont only be relied on scoring, but will be able to keep developing other parts of his game.
Yassin Idbihi(8,0ppg, 3,0rpg) is a 30 year old 208cm center that also comes from Alba Berlin where he was able to win a cup with Schaffartzik and now will battle daily with big John Bryant. He played at Buffalo(NCAA) and in France, Cologne and Braunschweig previously.He will help Munich with his sold inside game and good shooting. 25 year old 195cm shooting guard Lucca Staiger who is a sharp shooter comes from Ludwigsburg where he was able to develop responsibility and heighten his role and will try to be more than just a shooter under Pesic. He played at Iowa State and Alba Berlin. He once scored 106 points in a youth game. He will be able to improve his defense under Pesic. The club also signed big German talent Paul Zipser from Heidelberg. If he will be able to crack the lineup this season is unlikely, but daily experience in practice will be beneficial. The club brought in 26 year old 208cm two time Beko BBL center MVP John Bryant(9,0ppg, 7,0rpg) who has developed nicely with ratiopharm Ulm and is looking to make the next step and win his first title. He carried on the Jeff Gibbs tradition at Ulm winning rebound titles the last three years as did the Ohio native under Mike Taylor. Bryant has all the tools a center needs and which 208cm center can say he is a beast and can hit the three? The team got 24 year old 191cm guard American Malcolm Delaney(8,8ppg, 2,5rpg, 6,6apg) to run the point. He is a top player in Europe that has shown his scoring talent in France and in the Ukraine. He is a dangerous combo guard that can score and get assists at a high rate and is good and getting in the passing lanes. The team hauled in 25 year old 203cm forward Deon Thompson from Alba Berlin who belonged to the top four players last season in the Beko BBL, but will have to share playing time in Munich and get less minutes. The >American is a physical player that is good at getting offensive boards and is a great free throw shooter. He is injured at the moment and the team brought in 26 year old 203 cm forward Boris Savovic(10,5ppg, 5,0rpg) to help fill the void at the power forward position. He played for top Serbian team KK Hemofarm Stada Vrsac most of his career and just brings vast experience and consistency. He is a high energy player, van rebound and help out at the five position. The club brought in veteran 27 year old 193 cm guard Bryce Taylor(8,5ppg, 2,3rpg, 2,3apg) who has been playing in Germany since 2009 for teams like Bonn, Berlin and Artland and is a high energy player that can score, play defense and hit game winning shots as FC Bayern Munich remembers well. He can electrify the crowd with his crushing dunks. The club round out their roster with top Bosnian player Nihad Djedovic(15,0ppg, 1,8rpg, 1,3apg) who belongs to the top of the class from 1990 and will be a force on offense and bring his smartness to the deep roster. He already played Euroleague as a 17 year old for FC Barcelona. His quick foot work will be aplus on defense, but often ha sthe tendency to have wild spurts on the floor.
Pesic is a winner that preaches defense like ex head coach Dirk Bauermann and likes a structured offense. He will bring chemistry to this team. The strength of the team is the even deeper rotation and the older German players that stayed on. They are more athletic this season and a big advantage to last season is that this season FC Bayern Munich can use their deepness in situations that they couldn´t last season as this season they have a 12 man roster where each player could start on any other Beko BBL team. Last season often when they needed that sudden spark form the bench, they were a bit limited at certain position to keep that energy flow going on the court. Due to their vast athletic talent, the team will hurt opponents with their transition game. Their biggest enemy will be themselves. The question will be how well the club deals with pressure and with the many stars and their less playing time that they will have due to the deep roster. The team has averaged giving up only 71 points in the last three games and that is quite impressive so early in the season. With more time and their chemistry maturing, they should be able to improve their defense even more. The vigorous Euroleague schedule wont hamper them too much because of their deep roster which will give Pesic the chance to limit the minutes of his players. “The team is very deep and ready for the Euroleague season. It is nice to see that German players have gotten nice roles. The team is on a good role, but on the way to the title, they have to first beat defending champion Bamberg in a series”, stressed basketball agent Jan Rohdewald. “Munich is developing very well early and if the players can put team play before individual play, then they will be hard to beat”, warned Bonn guard Andrej Mangold.
In the 2011-2012 season the two teams split the season series. FC Bayern Munich won in Munich 58-57 a game that the Fraport Skyliners had as good as won, but let Je Kel Foster get hot in crunch time securing the win. In the return date in Frankfurt, The Fraport Skyliners humiliated FC Bayern Munich 68-49 as they limited them to nine points in the first quarter and 22 points in the second half. Frankfurt showed a strong defensive performance for 40 minutes and was led by Jimmy Mckinney with 18 points and Jermareo Davidson chipped in with 12 points. Last season FC Bayern Munich won in Frankfurt 73-59 Robin Benzing led all scorers with 21 points while Dawan Robinson added 15 points for the losers. “It wasn´t a finesse game, but a physical game. We got tired and just didn´t bring the intensity that we should have on the rebound”, added Ted Scott. There was one positive aspect to the loss for the Fraport Skyliners. “We fought and never gave up. We really showed a lot of desire to win”, stressed Dawan Robinson. In the return game in Munich, Bayern Munich won 79-72 as it was Robin Benzing again that hit big shots. Chevon Troutman led all scorers with 26 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Zach Peacock with 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners enter the game Sunday with a two game winning streak and a lot of self confidence. It is no secret that FC Bayern Munich is the high favorite, but how often have the Fraport Skyliners been the huge under dog in the last two games and come away as the winner surprising everyone? The absence of Quantez Robertson hurts very much for the Frankfurt defense. Frankfurt need to find more production form their German players and role players like a Kevin Bright or Aziz N’Diaye, because they can´t rely on Andrew Rautins, Dawan Robinson and Jacob Burtschi to score 90 points between them. Frankfurt didn´t rebound particularly well against Wurzburg and will have to do so against FC Bayern Munich or they will get clobbered. Andrew Rautins may only be in Germany a few weeks, but for a guy who has been in big games in his career at Syracuse or as a professional no game is over until the fat lady sings and his self confidence after two wins is immense, but does he really know what awaits him in Munich? “We have to prepare very well this week in practice. Every guy has to be focused and prepare well. The environment wont be easy there, but I am confident that if we play together, then we can win in Munich”, warned Andrew Rautins. “I don´t see any real weaknesses with FC Bayern Munich. The best thing is too run as much transition after defensive stops not to let them get into their set plays. Frankfurt can´t allow them to get into a run, because they are so comfortable at home that they won´t let you come back. They have to limit their turnovers and run their set plays well and create good shots”, warned Bonn guard Andrej Mangold.