Hello again! At this time, we are 6-6 in the EuroLeague. We are right there, fighting for a playoffs spot, one of our goals this season. Of course, there are a lot of good teams in the EuroLeague, and it is not going to be easy. I think we surprised many teams and right now we believe in our chances. We may not have the biggest budget in the competition but are fighting against everybody. We can be a really dangerous team.
The only bad thing is that we lost three games at home and only won once on the road. It is also true that we played much more in Munich than on the road. It was tough to lose to Efes the way we did at home at the beginning of the season. It was also very important for us to get that first road win against Gran Canaria. We know we will play a lot more on the road in 2019 and need to keep improving as a team to be as competitive as we can. If we keep playing like this, we will get more wins.
"If we keep playing like this, we will get more wins."
We just beat Zalgiris and Derrick Williams had an amazing game. We played a solid game for 40 minutes. It is never easy to beat a team like Zalgiris. They are very well coached and always know what they want to do on offense and defense. Derrick played an unbelievable game. He is a great player and a great person. He is giving us a lot, as a great athlete and a great player. He is a really, really great guy who is always talking to everybody. He is not the type of guy who is thinking that he is some sort of superstar who came here to play basketball. Derrick is a great teammate, who wants to communicate with everybody.
So, after three years with FC Barcelona, I am now playing for FC Bayern Munich. They are both big clubs. Both of them are known everywhere because of football. Barcelona has more basketball tradition and has been one of the best teams in Europe for many years. Bayern Munich wants to get there, that is the goal! The club keeps improving every year and the goal is to get there, to become one of the best teams in European basketball.
This is one of the reasons that got me really excited when we were talking during the summer about me joining the team. They showed me their plans and goals, and they really want to be one of the best one day. They are moving towards that. The football players come to watch our games often, even if both teams are busy all season long with games and practices. We have our own gym where we practice all the time and play our games. We do some things together, pretty much as we did in Barcelona. There are always common things.
As for Munich, I love how it is so well connected. Of course, the city is right in the center of Europe, really close to every big city on the continent. There are always some difficult trips, but it is very easy most of the time. There are good connections everywhere and this is very important in a job like this, in which traveling can be very hard. Barcelona had charter flights but here in Munich, you don't always need that. I heard that we will take some charter flights to places where there is not such a good connection. Most of the time, we take commercial flights because of the easy connections. We are in the middle of Europe; it is easy to get anywhere!
Here comes another double week! We will play against Milan on the road and then host Madrid – two high-scoring teams! Again, it is going to be a big challenge for us because both teams are playing really well this season. Milan has a great leader in Mike James, who is doing incredible things. They've got [Nemanja] Nedovic back from the injury and are playing really well. They are a dangerous team, just as Real Madrid, the EuroLeague champions. They beat Barcelona in El Clásico – badly. They are very good right now. These two games are going to be tough. I hope we can play well and surprise one of these teams – maybe both!
Still, first things first. We have to try to beat Milan on the road. They also have good centers and play a lot of pick-and-roll. James and Nedovic have the ball in their hands a lot. Like I said, James is doing everything for Milan, scoring, passing, creating. He is playing great and leading his team. Still, we are one of those teams that it is better not to underestimate. We are now missing Devin Booker, but we will fight and try to surprise them.
"The goal is to get there, to become one of the best teams in European basketball."
As for Madrid...After three years in Barcelona, I know that EL Clásico is always something special, but I am sure the atmosphere in Audi Dome will also be very good when we host Madrid at the end of the week. At the same time, once you have worn Barcelona's jersey, playing against Madrid is always special. You cannot compare with the rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona, but there is a big sports rivalry between Madrid and Bayern. I hope there will be a big rivalry in basketball, too. That will mean we reached their level!
Finally, I want to wish all EuroLeague fans happy holidays and a good start to 2019. And I want to thank all Bayern fans for their support! I hope they will keep coming to the gym to support us and help us take more wins. It will be a tough year ahead of us, but hopefully, we can lift some trophies in Germany and reach the EuroLeague playoffs. We need our fans to come to the gym and help us out if we want to reach those goals!