In the break, Hamburg stayed without key players Americans Kendale McCullum (15.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists moved to Rytas) and James Woodard (12.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists injured), but despite of that, they played two solid games, where they beat Paris in the last match in Eurocup, while they lost at home from Bamberg and Ludwigsburg. Coach Benka Barloschky has some problems because newcomers Jordan Davis (scored 20 points in his debut against Bamberg) and Ryan Taylor (top scorer with 17 points against Ludwigsburg) are not eligible to play in the Eurocup.
Airport strike in Hamburg makes arrival to Tel Aviv significantly more difficult. The defeat against Ludwigsburg (77:83) had only just been worked up when the next negative news arrived on Sunday afternoon. The announced 24-hour strike at Hamburg Airport abruptly canceled the planned trip to Tel Aviv and caused those responsible in Hamburg to spend a mostly sleepless night. Even on Monday morning it was still not clear whether the match would take place. They found an alternative route via Amsterdam, while the arrival in the Israeli metropolis is not expected until around 5 a.m on Tuesday morning – provided all connections and the transfer to the team hotel are on time.
Already in the first leg, which Hamburg won after extra time (98:91) at the beginning of December, the fans of the club from Tel Aviv demonstrated their strength as the sixth man – even if they overshot the target with smoke bombs and pyrotechnics. The Israeli team only have two defeats in the league, and in the EuroCup the „Red Devils“ have only lost one home game – only the group leaders Gran Canaria take the win. The squad is full with quality Americans like Jordan McRae, Munford, Onuaku, Tokoto and together with their frenetic fans will be too much for the German team.