Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv returns to Menorah Mivtachim Arena as they'll host Bayern Munich in the first game of the EuroLeague's double-round week (Wednesday, 19:30, live on Sport5 - channel 55). Both teams hold a 1:1 record as the game will fixture an entertaining battle between two well experienced EuroLeague coaches, Giannis Sfairopoulos and Andrea Trinchieri.
Yovel Zoosman, John DiBartolomeo, and Omri Casspi won't be available for the greek coach. Still, after the latest gameday against CSKA Moscow, it appears that the two big men, Ante Zizic and Dragan Bender, have found comfort in Maccabi's system an,d the connection between Chris Jones to his new teammates is emerging. However, Wednesday's showdown looks to be more challenging than history presents.
In the first two fixtures of the early season, Bayern scored more than any other team in the top European competition, falling dramatically 79:81 to Milano in overtime and beating Alba Berlin in the German Derby, 90:72.
"We have another important game on our home court playing against a team that changed their coach, and after watching their first two games, they played really well", Analyzed Giannis Sfairopoulos, their upcoming opponent. "We need to focus on our plan because Bayern is a very dangerous team with experienced players and very athletic players. We will need to read their weak points and attack them smartly to come back with a positive result".
"Jalen is in better shape than last year, he's playing excellent basketball this season", Added the greek coach about ex Maccabi Jalen Reynolds. "We know him, and he knows us, so we will need to be concentrated against him".
"#ITANU (With us) is a huge matter for Maccabi and us players and coaching staff. We want our fans to be all the time unitedly with us", Emphasized Sfairopoulos. "You know how close is the relationship between us and our fans, everywhere we play, there are Maccabi fans, especially at home in Menorah Arena/Yad Eliyahu".
"#ITANU is to have the fans as close as possible to us, we represent the symbol of Maccabi on our jersey with fight and sweat, and now, we want our fans names on it to help us even more. Not only mentally but also financially paying a small amount to overcome this period of the pandemic. Together we will run, together we will perform".
"It's great being out here competing, I feel excellent even though I haven't played an official game since March", Said Dragan Bender, who came off the bench against CSKA Moscow, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. "Obviously, I've been practicing individually, but it's definitely great being back on the court playing the game".
Oz Blayzer, which got into early foul trouble last game, explained what went wrong: "I was trying to be an energizer off the bench and shifting the momentum, but I might have been over motivated. I'll need to play smarter while staying aggressive to help the team. I learned from it".
"There are no easy EuroLeague games, whoever comes against us, we need to play our game and be mentally ready because we can win or lose in every game", Continued the Israeli forward. "As we did last season, we need to keep our home court. Play to our strengths, and come back to our winning ways towards this double EuroLeague week".