No, said Andrea Trinchieri.

He didn't want to answer that question.

It was late on Thursday evening when the FC Bayern Munich basketball coach was once again asked about Vladimir Lučić, his Serbian player, at the press conference.

He should say in his picturesque words how important Lučić is for his team.

But Trinchieri replied: No!

And if you remembered the three-point throw that decided the Euroleague game against Panathinaikos Athens 29 seconds before the end, Trinchieri didn't really have to say anything about Lučić: Everyone had seen it.

Christopher Meltzer

Sports correspondent in Munich.

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There were small and big decisions in this duel that showed why Vladimir Lučić, 32 years old, is not only the most important player in Munich at the moment, but one of the most important in Europe. In the first quarter, Trinchieri let him continue playing, although he had already fouled twice. Which is unusual because the fifth foul is excluded from the game and two early fouls make a player more vulnerable, especially in defense. But the coach trusted Lučić.

In the fourth quarter, Trinchieri let him take over the most important throw, although he had only sunk one of six attempts before that.

But the coach trusted Lučić.

That went well with the fouls.

About the litter too.

And then he even prevented a good throw in the defense against the faster Daryl Macon Jr.

In the end, Lučić only collected six points, a rebound and an assist - and was still the man who was mainly responsible for the 81:78 win against Athens.

"He should enjoy this moment"

If you want to measure the importance of Vladimir Lučić, you shouldn't just rely on statistics anyway. One is very telling: Bayern’s victories and defeats in the Euroleague, the most demanding basketball competition in Europe. Without Lučić, who was absent in the first few weeks of the season due to a Covid 19 infection, they never won and lost four times. With Lučić they have won five times and lost twice. Suddenly a play-off spot among the top eight is within reach again. That is the Lučić effect. He just won't let his team lose.

Andrea Trinchieri didn't want to say that so clearly. Aleksandar Djordjević does. On Tuesday evening, when the Serbian coach of Fenerbahce Istanbul analyzed the 63:71 defeat in Munich, he didn't talk about his players, but almost only about Lučić, who had dominated the duel with 22 points and seven rebounds. "Lučić is Lučić," said Djordjević, who previously coached him for both FC Bayern and the national team. “He's in great shape. He should enjoy this moment in his basketball career. He deserves it. "

Djordjević's statements could also be understood as an appeal: Look at this Vladimir Lučić!

One can only agree with that.

From the point of view of German basketball fans there is - besides the virus of course - one problem.

Because Andrea Trinchieri only entrusts many minutes to seven players internationally, he has to spare them nationally.

That's the price of the Euroleague: You won't see Lučić very often in the Bundesliga in the next few weeks.