Eager to get revenge for last season’s 3-0 defeat in the EuroLeague playoffs, Real Madrid travel to Istanbul to face Fenerbahce in a colossal top of the table battle, highlighting round ten play.
Despite being swept in the playoffs last season, Real Madrid holds a solid 11-5 record over Fenerbahce since the EuroLeague began in 2000 but despite the history books writing a positive line for the Liga Endesa champions, coach Pablo Laso knows that it will not matter going into Thursday’s clash.
“Fenerbahce is the EuroLeague runner-up and they have grown a lot in the past years,” Laso said. “They have great players: an athletic frontcourt, good shooters, pick and roll players. They are one of the best teams in Europe and even more so at home. They have great support from the fans there thanks to the great atmosphere.
“They will make us play a great game if we want to win. To win we will have to be solid in rebounds because Fener has many players that pull many boards combined, so that makes them a solid team. It’s always a tough fight against a team like them.”
Recently awarded MVP for November, Sergio Llull believes that to beat Fenerbahce, you have to play solidly for 40 minutes at both ends.
“We will have to be consistent during 40 minutes to have our chances,” he said. “When you play in this sport you cannot survive on revenges because you play too many games against good teams. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, like it happened in the playoffs last season. That’s all. We have an important game and we have a clear goal which is taking the win.”
∞∞∞ CSKA LOOK TO OVERCOME BAMBERG BLUES ∞∞∞
On paper, the odds are stacked against Brose Baskets, when they play host to champions and current EuroLeague table toppers CSKA Moscow, but that was also said the last time that the two sides met in Bamberg.
And last season, the German champions came away with a deserved 91-83 victory over a shellshocked CSKA side. However, the hosts come into Thursday’s game lacking confidence. Bamberg have a 2-7 record, though four of those losses have come by a single shot.
“It’s pretty simple. They are the reigning champions,” says Bamberg coach Andrea Trincheri. “They are one of the best teams in Europe for quality, for talent, for the way they play. It’s a huge challenge for us. We juat have to think that it is a game where we want to compete knowing that the result is a consequence of many things and not all of them we can control. But for sure, after the bad game in Kaunas we need to bounce back. We play in our arena, we play in front of our fans: we have to go all in from energy and intensity.”
CSKA on the other hand boast an 11-1 mark and putting aside their only blemish so far this season on the road at Darussafaka Dogus, have been the best team in the EuroLeague. They need to maintain that mindset if they are to come away with a win on Thursday.
“Still everything, as usual, depends on us, our attitude,” CSKA forward Andrey Vorontsevich said. “We have to play our best game and hopefully avoid bad start as we did in several recent games.”
∞∞∞ INTRIGUING BATTLE IN TEL AVIV ∞∞∞
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv are now over .500 in the EuroLeague but have still had a rocky start to the campaign. They host 4-5 Anadolu Efes on Thursday.
The guests boast the third best offense of the competition (87.5 ppg.) against the sixth best for Maccabi (83.2 ppg.), who come into this encounter from three straight wins. Coincidentally, Efes’s defence is also the third weakest in the league, allowing 89.0 points, while Maccabi’s gets better numbers with just 82.1.
∞∞∞ UNICS HOSTS MILANO ∞∞∞
Unics Kazan will try to end a three-game losing streak when they host EA7 Milano on Thursday at Basket Hall.
The hosts have a 2-7 record, but have plenty of reasons for optimism. League-leading scorer Keith Langford (23.0 ppg.), who won the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy when he played for Milan, plus they have competed in more or less all games they have played in this season.
They face a Milano side that started 3-0, but have since dropped to 4-5.