Bayern Munich have already rewritten the history books of the EuroLeague by being the first German side to feature in the playoffs. On Tuesday, Andrea Trinchieri’s men can be the first German side to make it past the first round. Bayern and Pablo Lasso’s Real Madrid will also have the chance to set a new precedent as the first teams to come back from 2-0 to progress in the next round.
Bayern have moved past Olimpia Milano’s Kyle Hines, Sergio Rodirguez and Malcolm Delany to tie the series at 2-2 last week and coach Trinchieri believes the best way to go is by continuing what they have been doing all season.
“Of course it’s a big game, but it’s also important that we maintain our composure, enjoy the moment, play hard and with focus, and again, just enjoy it,” Trinchieri said.
The Munich side will be banking on stars like Wade Baldwin, Vladimir Lucic and Paul Zipser. Slovenian Lucic insists that despite Milan’s experience, both himself and his teammate trust the path they are on.
“We’re all ready for Game 5,” Lucic remarked, “It’s another do-or-die game, just like the last two in Munich. They have more experience than us, with a lot of them having already played in the Final Four and won too. However, we will give it our best to secure this huge win and be part of the Final Four.
“We know how significant this game is for us, for the club and for German basketball, but we’re maintaining our focus on the game. We were determined to make it back to Milan, and now we’re here. We trust the path we’re on, one we began our journey along in August. I think that the team that plays with more physicality and energy will make it Cologne.”
On the other hand, Milan have to forget the past two games with pressure on them being the more experienced side in the tie. Coach Ettore Messina believes it is just like all decisive games.
“It’s a Game Five, and like all decisive games, there is not much to say – we just have to go out and play it with the utmost commitment and determination,” Messina said.
Similar to Bayern will be ten-time champions Real Madrid who have comeback from a tough 2-0 against Anadolu Efes. However, momentum is with Lasso’s side despite being away from home. Efes coach Ergin Ataman holds faith in his side to close the encounter on Tuesday, with Efes forward Chris Singleton insisting that both teams know each other well by now.
“We are playing a great series. Sometimes we enjoyed it very much, sometimes we collapsed in the last moments, but we deserve to complete this story with the basketball we have played for three seasons,” Ataman said.
“No great success is easy to achieve, we respect the Real Madrid team and Pablo Lasso very much, but we also trust ourselves. We will win and our walk towards the cup will continue. “
‘Already a victory’
Underdogs Zenit St Petersburg were the surprise of the playoffs so far, the eighth seed holding top seed Barcelona to a 2-2 tie. Speaking to the club’s website, Zenit coach Xavi Pascual referred to the club’s football team which won the Russian League over the weekend, congratulating them and using this success to fuel his side’s motivation for Tuesday’s Game Five.
“I want to congratulate the Zenit football team on this great success, yesterday they took the trophy. Congratulations to all players, staff, coaches and fans. And I also want to thank the fans for the support they provided us in previous matches,” Pascual said on Monday.
“We’ve come to the fifth game. We know that it will be incredibly difficult to play, Barcelona finished the regular season first, so they started at home and will now play at home. We will try to overcome the entire streak, be competitive and be in the game. We know that it is almost impossible to win three playoffs against Barcelona, but we will try.
“We are going there with a game plan, intend to have a good match and try to be in the game until the end. And, if we have the opportunity to win, then win. Whatever happens, we should be proud of the players for what they have done so far. And now, whatever happens, for us it is already like a victory, because it’s amazing how we compete with the best team in Europe.”