EuroLeague preview: Xavi Pascual returns to Barcelona with Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos coach Xavi Pascual will return to the Catalan heartland on Friday night as his side face Barcelona at the Palau Blaugrana.

Pascual captured the EuroLeague title in 2010 with Barcelona and was at the helm for eight years before taking a break culminating in a move to Athens this season.

Panathinaikos are currently 5-4 and face a Barcelona side that have been plagued with injuries all season long which highlights their 4-5 mark. However, they welcomed back Justin Doellman and Victor Claver last week and are gradually getting back to full fitness ahead of Friday’s contest.

This will mark the 11th season in a row in which these teams will duel in the EuroLeague, including clashes in the 2011 and 2013 playoffs and at the 2012 Final Four. Barcelona owns an impressive 17-9 record against Panathinaikos over that period including wins in nine of their last ten clashes.

∞∞∞ ANOTHER FIRST TIME CLASH IN ISTANBUL ∞∞∞

After suffering back-to-back losses on the road, Darussafaka Dogus returns home to face Olympiacos in a first time battle between these two clubs.

Both sides own 5-4 records heading into round ten. Olympiacos suffered a home defeat in the last round of games against Maccabi fox Tel Aviv and Matt Lojeski says that his side are keen to learn from their mistakes made in that game.

“Against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv we made a lot of mistakes. Now we have to learn from those mistakes and play much better against a very good and solid team like Darussafaka,” he says. “We have to play as a team, we have to be focused and all together. It is going to be a very difficult game.”

∞∞∞ ELSEWHERE ∞∞∞

Baskonia will look to halt Galatasaray’s hot streak when the Turkish side travel to Vitoria on Friday. Galatasaray have won three of their last four encounters after dropping their first five.

On the flip side Baskonia is 3-1 at home this season with a 5-4 mark total and will look to their key factors, Shane Larkin (14.2 ppg., 6.2 apg.) being the motor that ignites the attack, which features six scorers in double figures. Andrea Bargnani (13.2 ppg.), Johannes Voigtmann (12.2 ppg., 7.6 rpg.) and Toko Shengelia (11.3 ppg.) form a formidable frontline, while Rodrigue Beaubois (12 ppg.) and Adam Hanga (10.3 ppg.) complete the perimeter.

And Crvena Zvzeda look to climb up the table when they host Zalgiris at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in the Serbian capital.

Red Star are currently 4-5 and will aim to avoid being the first victims of Zalgiris on the road. The Lithuanian side are currently 3-6, with all three wins coming at the Zalgirio Arena.