Last season, FC Bayern Munich missed the EuroLeague Playoffs by one win. If the German champs are able to do better this season, Thursday night's victory over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv may go down as the turning point. The 80-68 win not only ended a six-game losing streak, but also gave Bayern its first-ever EuroLeague win over Maccabi and its first victory under Coach Oliver Kostic.
What's more, it did so without the services of one of its best players, Vladimir Lucic. However, Bayern can count on getting Lucic back quickly; he did not miss the game due to injury but rather to the birth of his second daughter. With T.J. Bray and Josh Huestis, who both missed the start of the season due to injuries, both now entrenched firmly in the rotation, Bayern is starting to look like the team it planned to be over the summer.
A key to being that team is also team captain Nihad Dedovic, who is having his worst EuroLeague campaign. That may have also changed after scoring a season-high 19 against Maccabi.
"This was the first game that I played without any pain, that I could play the whole game without any problems," Dedovic said afterward. "The season so far for me has been really difficult with bigger or smaller injuries and with our schedule, it's very difficult to recover. Thank God I'm back today without any problems."
Hearing Dedovic talk about being pain-free is uplifting for any Bayern fan. Seeing his performance against Maccabi is even more uplifting. And realizing how strong a healthy Dedovic can be alongside Lucic puts into perspective that we haven't seen the best Bayern yet.
"We have a group of great guys, we play great basketball and we've shown it the last couple of games, but unfortunately for 20 or 30 minutes," Dedovic explained. But in this game, that number rose to "40 minutes and I hope this win will help us in the future."
Can anyone argue with Dedovic? If he is healthy, his teammates are healthy and they are playing well together for 40 minutes per game, Bayern could become a very dangerous team down the stretch.