FC Bayern Munich has started to get ready for the new season sooner than anyone else. After a first practice and the first session of interviews at Audi Dome, the team traveled to Riva del Garda, Italy, to resume its pre-season camp. One player arrived weeks in advance, none other than 24-year-old newcomer Robin Amaize, who is really excited about the possibility of playing for Bayern in the EuroLeague.
Amaize comes off a career-best season with medi Bayreuth, averaging 6.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 35 German League games. He had a season-best 21 points in a road loss against Bayern and now returned to Audi Dome for his team's first official practice.
"We had one practice in Audi Dome, but I was in Munich before that, looking for an apartment, so I was there for 2-3 weeks before the season started, so I had time to go to the gym. I like it a lot," Amaize told us. "We are in Riva del Garda, where our football team also practices before the season. We didn't see them, though, they were gone before we came because they start earlier than us."
At age 24, Amaize finally gets the opportunity to play in a European powerhouse, after six seasons with Giessen 46ers, Braunschweig and Bayreuth. Being the youngest newcomer in the team, there are differences between Bayern and his former team.
"It is tougher than in years before. Maybe it is because I had the same coach for 4-5 years, so I always knew what was coming up. Everything is different this year, and Bayern's system is different. Not extremely different, but you need a different mindset. Playing at this level is more demanding and you can tell in practice. That is the main thing I realized about," Amaize told us. "There a lot of things to learn - of course, I will play in way more games than in years before, but I am ready for it. I am happy to be here."
Amaize, who has also been a member of the German national team, has found valuable help from the nine players who return to Bayern last season, as well as from head coach Dejan Radonjic.
"I got a lot of help, especially from the guys that already were here last season. Like I said before, I have to learn the systems and they already knew them, so what they say helps me a lot - they are correcting me and telling me what to do. We talk a lot on the court, which is good," Amaize told us. "We are having two practices per day, so we didn't have much time to do stuff together off the court. Of course, after the evening practice and dinner, we try to be together and play table tennis, table football and all that."
Our conversation with Amaize was recorded a day before his new team's first game - in Riva del Garda against Dolomiti Energia Trento. Of course, he was very excited about the opportunity of wearing Bayern's jersey for the first time. He made the most out of it and proved his value right away, leading his team to a 91-57 win with a team-best 17 points.
"I am very excited about our first game. I will be even more excited when we play our first home game, though, in front of our fans. I have played many times in Audi Dome as a visitor and the atmosphere was always great," Amaize recalls. "It is always hard to play the first game and it will be tough, but I hope we can get better as a team and no-one gets hurt. I am excited, of course, it will be my first game with FC Bayern Munich!"
In six weeks, Amaize and his teammates will play their first EuroLeague game of the season - at home against Anadolu Efes Istanbul. He cannot wait to test his skills against some of the best guards in Europe and play against the best teams in European basketball.
"I am looking forward to the EuroLeague season, it was always a dream for me to play the competition. I know it will be tough and sometimes we will have to play three games per week, but I am excited about it, for sure!" Amaize admitted.