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Arndt’s Analysis: FC Bayern Basketball - Somewhere Between Tiredness and Titles 

Bayern are still marching on all three fronts, but success doesn't look to be as broad. At least, this season. Photo: DPA

Bayern Munich’s basketball team face a decisive few weeks ahead. They’re still playing in all three competitions and their ambitions for silverware burn brightly across the board. Carsten Arndt dissects Bayern’s present situation and dares to make a prediction.

  • Beko BBL Bundesliga

Bayern are still on top of the Beko BBL Bundesliga with 44 points (a four-point lead on Brose Baskets). But recent games have shown how they are struggling to keep up with the pace of multiple competitions. They have lost the ease that accompanied their play at the start to the season, recently losing their first home game (against the Artland Dragons). Coach Svetislav Pesic’s team are still top of the league, but defending champions Brose Baskets Bamberg have two games in hand and could draw level with Bayern. On April 13th, Bayern will travel to Bamberg in a match that could decide who finishes the regular season in the number one seat.

Prediction: Even if Bayern have appeared tired in recent weeks, the championship is still the main target. Their opponents will have no chance in the first play-off-series, because Pesic’s team will play at home in the crucial games, virtually booking their ticket to the finals. There, they will most likely face Bamberg. The reigning champions did have some problems earlier in the season, but they fought back and strengthened their team with the signing of playmaker Jared Jordan from Telekom Baskets Bonn. A possible advantage for Bayern could be their possible elimination from the Euroleague at the end of the playoffs, taking the stress off their domestic title challenge.

  • BBL-Cup

Beside the German championship, Bayern are looking to collect another domestic title. Having beaten the Artland Dragons in the quarter final of the BBL-Cup, they have qualified for the Final Four, where they will meet ratiopharm Ulm in the semi-final. Current cup holders ALBA Berlin will face Brose Baskets Bamberg in the other half of the draw.

Bryce Taylor (right) is a new signing this season, having impressed at Artland Dragons. Photo: DPA

Bryce Taylor (right) is a new signing this season, having impressed at Artland Dragons. Photo: DPA

Prediction: It won’t be easy. Only two days before the semi-final against Ulm they will come up against European powerhouse CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague Top 16 (the round of the best 16 teams in Europe). Despite the fact that Bayern should make it to the finals because of their individual quality, their third match in five days could be too much for a squad of even their size, especially as they will face a top-team like ALBA or Bamberg in the final.

  • Euroleague

Bayern were far from favourites at the beginning of the Euroleague season, and were looking to gain experience from playing at the highest level in European basketball. But Bayern, who got their spot thanks to a wildcard, defeated, among others, Italian champions Montepaschi Siena and the reputable Galatasaray Istanbul, which proved enough to qualify for the Top 16. Bayern have looked more than respectable in the second stage of the tournament, but progression to the quarter-finals is far from expected. After a rough defeat to Partizan Belgrad on Thursday, they are level on points with Kuban Krasnodar in fifth place. Only the top four teams will advance to the quarter-finals.

Prediction: It’s a real pity to have to say this, but the Top 16 is the final stop for Bayern Munich in this season’s Euroleague. In their five remaining games, four of which are on the road, Bayern’s basketballers have to face Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow, two of the big favourites for the title. Simply put, to make it to the quarter-finals they have to at least beat one of the top teams. They’re not quite there this year, but they have every reason to be pleased with their performances and should look ahead to next season’s campaign with a great deal of excitement.

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