Following the qualification of Zenit Saint Petersburg to the postseason, the 2021 EuroLeague playoffs are set.
The postseason will tip off with the opening games in the four best-of-five quarterfinals series on Tuesday, April 20 and Wednesday, April 21.
The action gets underway in Istanbul on Tuesday when Anadolu Efes hosts Real Madrid for the start of their series. This will be the second time these two teams meet in the playoffs, the first time was in 2014-15 when the “Whites” triumphed 3-1 and went on to win the EuroLeague title in Madrid.
Later Tuesday, Armani Milano faces FC Bayern Munich in the fashion capital for their series opener. While Milano has lifted the trophy on three previous occasions, most recently in 1988, Bayern is competing in the EuroLeague Playoffs for the first time. This series will see Milan star Malcolm Delaney square off against the team for which he made his EuroLeague debut in 2013.
Wednesday’s first game will be in Russia, where the still defending champs, CSKA Moscow, host Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. These teams share a history of big games together, including EuroLeague Final Four duels in 2015 and 2016.
However, this will be the first time that they face each other in the playoffs since 2005, a series that CSKA swept 2-0 when the Turkish team was still under the Ulker name.
Finally, regular-season champion FC Barcelona will take on Zenit, which arrives in the postseason in its first full EuroLeague campaign. These teams have faced each other just four times in the EuroLeague before this: twice last season and twice more this season.
Of course, the fact drawing the most attention in the series is the fact that Zenit is coached by long-time Barcelona boss Xavi Pascual, who led the Catalan team to the 2010 EuroLeague crown, and led on the court by Kevin Pangos, who was a Barca player the previous two seasons before joining Zenit.