26 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
13 Yorman Bartolo (Telekom Baskets) (Photo: Jörn Wolter)
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Telekom Baskets and Redwell-Gunners go down memory lane in Oberwart

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – There will be only three games on Tuesday evening in the FIBA Europe Cup, with tournament favourites Pau-Lacq-Orthez, Telekom Baskets and Elan Chalon packing their suitcases for the road after victorious starts of the Second Round on home soil.

The Eric Bartecheky-coached Elan Bearnais have a trip to Romania lined up, Telekom Baskets play Redwell-Gunners Oberwart in the neighbouring Austria, while Elan Chalon will make the journey to Sweden to face Sodertalje Kings.

All three contests, like all other FIBA Europe Cup games, will be available LIVE and FREE on YouTube.com/FIBA.

Redwell-Gunners (0-1) v Telekom Baskets (1-0), 19:00 CET

There is admittedly little connecting the present Redwell-Gunners and Telekom Baskets teams, but the history between the two Group M clubs goes way back to 1998, when the sides met for the first time in the Korac Cup.

However, more seasoned fans will remember the pair splitting the games in Oberwart and Bonn, with away teams coming out victorious on both occasions. Neither of them got past the preliminary stage.

Fast forward 18 years and Telekom Baskets have established themselves as a marquee name in European basketball and are among potential title contenders in the FIBA Europe Cup after a strong start of the season.

After winning Group C in the Regular Season with a 3-1 record, the Bonn club started the Second Round with a 96-58 home victory against APOEL behind a well-rounded team effort.

Meanwhile, the Oberwart squad is the youngest in the entire competition and getting past the Regular Season as the second-placed team from Group E has already been a solid accomplishment for Chris Chougaz's side.

Playing with a thin rotation, Redwell-Gunners are very much outsiders in terms of qualification prospects, but it does not mean they are not capable of pulling a couple of upsets along the way.

Having started the Second Round with a 91-72 loss in Lithuania against Vytautas Prienai-Birstonas, the Austrian side will look to do better on their home court against the visiting Telekom Baskets.

While Redwell-Gunners primarily rely on the quartet of Andell Cumberbatch, Derek Jackson, Cedric Kuakumensah and Christopher McNealy, Bonn play-caller Predrag Krunic can count on a 10-deep rotation that already paid dividends against APOEL last week.

Sodertalje Kings (0-1) v Elan Chalon (1-0), 19:00 CET

Sodertalje Kings man-in-charge Vedran Bosnic does not want the Swedish team giving opponents any more double-digit head starts. For the second game in a row in te FIBA Europe Cup, the northerners yo-yoed their way back into the game after falling behind by more than 20 points.

However, unlike in the last Regular Season game against the visiting Telekom Baskets, the Kings could not complete the comeback last week in Turkey against Gaziantep.

"We have to learn from this game and continue to improve every day. We will try to beat Elan Chalon, our next opponent in the FIBA Europe Cup," Kings coach Bosnic stressed in the press conference after starting the Second Round with a loss.

However, the Elan Chalon will not be an easy opponent for Sodertalje, as they demonstrated by demolishing BC Mures 101-65 at Le Colisee, the venue of the last year's FIBA Europe Cup Final Four.

Although the French side had a couple of missteps in the Regular Season, recent form in the French LNB Pro A and the last win in the FIBA Europe Cup seems to suggest that they are already a thing of the past.

Cameron Clark, John Roberson and Lance Harris have the green light form coach Jean-Denys Choulet and should be the number one priority for Kings on defence.

Slightly surprisingly, Axel Bouteille exploded for 30 points against Mures and joined his Cameron Clark among last week's Top Performers.

Meanwhile, no matter how you slice it, Sodertalje's game revolves around the league's leading scorer Toni Bizaca, who leads all players in the competition with a stellar 24.4 points per game.