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Basketball at FC Bayern Munich: Interview with Daniele Baiesi

Mr. Baiesi, as sports director you have been putting together the FC Bayern basketball team season after season since the summer of 2017. What is your most important rule?

The most important rule is that you have to understand what your club wants. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for 20 years. When I know what my club wants, the steps I take afterwards are more natural. In Munich we want players who have something to prove. This is our identity.

This Thursday (8.30 p.m. at Magentasport) your newest team will enter the Euroleague in Munich against Fenerbahce Istanbul. How do you beat clubs that tend to spend more money on their teams week after week in this competition?

We stick to our principles – and to our identity. I can tell you a story: on Saturday we won our first game in the Bundesliga. After that, the agent of Freddie Gillespie, our new center, wrote to me that he was pleased with his player’s progress. I replied that he should also prepare for regression. Maybe he’ll turn out the way we all want. Maybe not. We have to be patient. And we won’t do anything that goes against our principles either way.

So when you hire a player you have to take more risks than other clubs in the Euroleague?

I would say: a calculated risk. It’s very rare that the top clubs sign players with no experience in Europe like we are doing now. We want young, fresh players like Gillespie or Cassius Winston, our new playmaker, because we see the potential. Sure, sometimes you can be as well informed as you can be – and still be wrong. However, we believe that the risk is worth it.

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