Real Madrid host Panathinaikos and Olympiacos play Barcelona in two mouthwatering encounters that shows the true strength of the new EuroLeague format.
The Liga Endesa champions and Panathinaikos both own 4-2 records and this game will see Panathinaikos players KC Rivers and Ioannis Bourousis go up against their former employers. They both won the EuroLeague title with Real in 2015.
“Each game is dangerous in the EuroLeague,” says Rivers. “Real Madrid is a strong team that likes to run and has enthusiasm in the game. We should be prepared and focused on our plan.”
Real Madrid’s rivals Barcelona will travel to Piraeus to face Olympiacos with the Greek side looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
There will be key matchups in the backcourts, with Vassilis Spanoulis (14.7 ppg, 7.7 apg) and Vangelis Mantzaris of Olympiacos pitting their strengths against those of Barcelona’s Tyrese Rice (15.3 ppg, 5.3 apg) and Petteri Koponen (10.7 ppg).
Former Barcelona forward Kostas Papanikolaou could play a big role for the hosts, as could his counterpart, Stratos Perperoglou, who won the 2013 EuroLeague with the Reds.
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The EuroLeague’s only undefeated side CSKA Moscow will travel to Istanbul for the third time already this season as they face Darussafaka Dogus, keen to end the reigning champions unbeaten run.
CSKA won the only two previous meetings between the clubs last season, but had to work hard to hold off a late Darussafaka comeback when they met in Istanbul.
And Zalgiris host Galatasaray in Kaunas at the bottom of the EuroLeague table with both teams aiming to make strides up the rankings.
“Galatasaray is a very talented team,” said Zalgiris coach Sarunas Jasikevicius. “Their current result doesn’t show their form. They had a few close games in this EuroLeague and could come out with more wins. Just as we could.
“They have very strong individual players, they are scoring more than us on average and are shooting really good from beyond the arc. Our defence and aggressiveness have to be the key on Wednesday.”