EuroLeague preview: Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Galatasaray battle for first win of the season

Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Galatasaray will clash in Israel on Wednesday night as both sides look to claim a victory at the third time of asking in the EuroLeague.

Both sides are currently 0-2 with Maccabi parting ways with coach Erez Edelstein over the weekend. Galatasaray have likewise had a losing start in the new look EuroLeague season with a big loss to CSKA Moscow and then a narrow defeat to Crvena Zvezda. Both of those games were at home, so maybe a road trip could be what is needed.

Historically though, Maccabi are heavy favourites, playing in front of a loyal home crowd, and with the current leading scorer in Andrew Goudelock (21.5 points, average ) they boast a 4-0 record over their Turkish counterparts since the EuroLeague began in 2000 and will be keen to keep their momentum going in Tel Aviv.

∞∞∞ SARAS RETURNS TO FORMER CLUB AS ZALGIRIS COACH ∞∞∞

Fenerbahce will see a familiar face on Wednesday night when they host Zalgiris, aiming to maintain their unbeaten start to the EuroLeague season.

Zalgiris coach Sarunas Jasikevicius played for Fenerbahce during the 2010-11 season and helped the team win the Turkish League and Cup double. The Lithuanian great will also come face-to-face with his old coach Zeljko Obradovic.

“Fenerbahce is a team that will probably make it to the Final Four, so it is quite hard to prepare for a game like this,”  Jasikevicius said. “They had tough games against good teams like Brose and Barcelona, but they managed to stay on top and win those matches even if they didn’t score a lot of points.

“We will have to control the tempo, because when they set their offense their big guys are bigger than ours and it can create problems. I will meet my good friend Zeljko Obradovic in Istanbul.”

No doubt, Fenerbahce have been more of a defensive minded team this season as the playing style under Obradovic has been different as opposed to the last two seasons. Despite a shaky start in the Turkish League, their way of playing has got them to a 2-0 record but it still hasn’t been all that convincing.

“We have to be ready from the beginning,” Fenerbahce’s Ekpe Odoh said. “Somehow we have to start generating more points, because our offence is not that good this year. That will be key for us, because we probably play the best defence, but we have to score the ball, so that will be a big emphasis for us.”

∞∞∞ XAVI PASCUAL DEBUTS ON THE ROAD ∞∞∞

Since their first meeting back in 2007, Brose Baskets have an impressive 5-1 record over EuroLeague giants Panathinaikos. The two meet on Wednesday in Bamberg.

Panathinaikos though eased past the German champions 82-60 when the two last faced off during the 2012-13 season. This will also be Xavi Pascual’s first official game in charge of Panathinaikos, since officially joining the club on Saturday.

“We know exactly the situation, but I think we are ready to do a good job tomorrow at Brose Arena,” Pascual said.

“I believe that the team will be ready. We respect a lot Brose Bamberg as a team but we know what we want from this game and we hope to win.”

Pascual’s first game in charge has obviously dominated most of the attention for this game, but Bamberg’s solid record against the Greek giants could be a factor on their home floor.

“We need to focus on the things we can control,” Bamberg coach Andrea Trinchieri said. “We can control our attitude, our approach. Our concentration that is something, so far, that is flashing in the last games.

“I hope that the name and the history of the team coming to town will help us to be more consistent. Also it will be a very specific situation. They have a new coach, that didn’t coach the team yet. So we will not be super prepared, as usual. So, one more time, we need to be focused on ourselves, what we can do good.”

∞∞∞ BARCA LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK ∞∞∞

Barcelona were edged out by Fenerbahce in round two but will quickly look to hit back when they take on Crvena Zvezda at the Kombank Arena.

With a full house expected in Belgrade, it won’t be easy for the Catalan side but they hold a 2-0 advantage over Red Star in the EuroLeague. However, Barca will be without Juan Carlos Navarro and Petteri Koponen for this game.

“Day by day we are getting better,” admitted Barca coach Georgios Bartzokas.

“We were consistent against Fenerbahce, and one detail decided the game. But we have grown a lot during the two months we have been practicing together. We are missing our injured players, it’s true, but we will be complete soon.”