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09/09/2016
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Gameday 4 Preview: Saturday 10 September

15 Timofey Mozgov (RUS), Russia v Bosnia and Herzegovina
Timofey Mozgov winning the opening tip in the previous clash between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 31 August

MUNICH (FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Qualifiers) – For several of the 27 teams involved in the qualification race Saturday could be the day they take a decisive step closer to FIBA EuroBasket 2017, while others – any team that slides to a fourth consecutive loss – shall abandon any hope of earning a ticket to the showcase event.

Two teams have had to make roster changes since Wednesday, as Germany have brought in power forward Johannes Thiemann to replace center Tibor Pleiss who departed for USA on Friday to take part in NBA try-outs. Slovenia meanwhile have travelled with 13 players to Kosovo and either Ziga Dimec or Gezim Morina will take the place of Zoran Dragic on the Saturday roster.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (1-1) vs. Russia (2-0) – Group C, 20:15 CEST

In case Russia win this game they will secure the first of the 11 tickets on offer to FIBA EuroBasket 2017, so they are exactly where they want to be, in a figurative sense. Bosnia and Herzegovina however are in the place they want to be in the literal sense – the Mejdan arena in Tuzla. The gym will be packed and in addition to the support of their fans, they also count on star forward Mirza Teletovic, who had not played in the reverse fixture in Russia.

In that game, Russia trailed by one point at half-time but switched gears after the break to race to an 83-54 win, as they held the Balkan side to 28% shooting from the field and forced them to commit 19 turnovers. If Saturday's clash plays out the way Bosnia and Herzegovina envision it, the only similarity with the previous encounter will be the intriguing match-up between NBA centers Jusuf Nurkic, who was born in Tuzla, and Timofey Mozgov.

Bosnia and Herzegovina head coach Damir Mulaomerovic does not want his players to think about the 29-point difference on Saturday. "A victory, even by at least one point, would be a major step towards qualifying," he said.

"The euphoria of the people in Tuzla has somewhat affected the players, but it is positive. I will ask from them to give all they can, to play bravely, with a burning heart and a cool head. We'll see if this will prove enough to overcome Russia. They are a great team and they have a lot of top players who play for big clubs, but they do not have anybody like Mirza Teletovic and he will be a great asset for us on the offensive end."

Great Britain (2-1) vs. Hungary (3-0) – Group G, 19:30 CEST

Hungary will secure a berth at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 on Saturday night if they defeat Great Britain in London and in the other game of the group MKD lose to Luxembourg. So the Hungarians do not depend entirely on themselves but in any case if they leave London with a fourth victory in as many games, one more win in either one of their last two encounters would be sufficient to see them clinch first place in the group.

Great Britain of course hope to ruin all this for Hungary, but on the evidence of what we saw in the reverse fixture the British perimeter defence would have to improve enormously if they are to achieve their aim.

In the Gameday 1 clash in Hungary, the hosts’ two starting wingers Adam Hanga and David Vojvoda combined for 56 points with the former shooting 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, to lead the Hungarian side to a 96-77 victory. Hungary did not enjoy such a high-scoring night in either of their following two games. Great Britain on the other hand got 22 points that night from each one of Dan Clark and Andrew Lawrence, both delivering their best scoring display so far in the Qualifiers.

"It will be a big game obviously," said Great Britain head coach Joe Prunty. "Hungary beat us the last time we played there and we'll have to be prepared as they are a very good team, just like everybody else in this pool. They will come in here ready to compete."

Saturday's remaining games:
Group A: Cyprus vs. Belgium at 16:00 CEST; Switzerland vs. Estonia at 17:30 CEST
Group B: Denmark vs. Germany at 19:00 CEST; Austria vs. Netherlands at 20:20 CEST
Group D: Belarus vs. Estonia at 17:30 CEST; Portugal vs. Poland at 19:30 CEST
Group E: Bulgaria vs. Ukraine at 17:00 CEST; Kosovo vs. Slovenia at 20:00 CEST
Group F: Slovak Republic vs. Montenegro at 18:00 CEST; Albania vs. Georgia at 19:00 CEST
Group G: Luxembourg vs. MKD at 19:30 CEST

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