Two teams in need of wins will face off in Round 13 when FC Bayern Munich (4-8) hosts Zenit St Petersburg (3-9) on Friday. After a solid start, Bayern lost six of its last seven games, including the last one at Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv by 77-55. The team will need to bounce back after two straight big losses. On the other hand, Zenit managed to grab its first EuroLeague home win ever last week against ASVEL, 75-70, snapping a six-game losing streak. The Russian team will look to continue on the winning path.
Since this is Zenit's first time playing the EuroLeague, this will be the first time ever that these two teams meet at the top European stage. They have played four times in the last three seasons in the 7DAYS EuroCup, however. Zenit swept their 2016-17 regular season matchups, then Bayern returned the favor a season later in the Top 16.
Big men Greg Monroe and Gustavo Ayon are leading their respective teams from the paint. Monroe is Bayern's top scorer with 12.7 points per game, to which he adds 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals as a starter. Ayon is the top contributor for Zenit with 13.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals coming mainly off the bench. The fate of the game will rely heavily on the duel between these two giants under the glass.
Keys to victory: Bayern
Bayern needs to kickstart its momentum again, and a win at home against Zenit looks like a viable option. Both teams score and receive practically the same amount of points, but Zenit has an edge in rebounds, so the hosts will have to pay attention to that key factor if they want a solid chance to win. Zenit has the league's second-worst success at the foul line, 70.8%, so Bayern might clear a path to victory by not allowing easy baskets and making the visitors earn them with free throws.
Keys to victory: Zenit
Zenit at last managed to smile, and did so at home, too, so now the Russian team will look to stay on that path for as long as possible to try to recover the pulse of the competition. Bayern averages just 15.8 assists per game while Zenit's 19.0 is the second-best number in the league, so the guests will have to try to capitalize on their smooth defense to try to run and overwhelm Bayern in Munich.