With EuroLeague leaders CSKA Moscow travelling to Barcelona on Friday, Real Madrid will look to maintain second place and keep the pace with the Muscovites as they travel to Darussafaka Dogus on Thursday.
It marks the first ever meeting between the two sides, and it was only four weeks ago that they were tied for second place with 5-2 records. A four-game losing streak since then has dropped Darussafaka in the standings, while Madrid remains strong, having lost its three games this season by a total of six points.
“They are competing very well so far,” says Real coach Pablo Laso. “They may have not won the last games, but they are dangerous and have a good place in the standings. We know how difficult it is to play there and we respect their players a lot. Winning there will be complicated and we will have to do things right.”
But Real will be light-handed in Istanbul. They are still without Sergio Llull and will also be missing Anthony Randolph and Trey Thompkins as they are both carrying slight injuries.
∞∞∞ BAMBERG LOOKING TO BUILD ON STRONG OUTING ∞∞∞
Following on from their impressive outing last week in Tel Aviv, Brose Baskets will host Anadolu Efes looking to continue in that form.
The game will be played away from Bamberg at the Arena Nurnberger Versicherung in Nurnberg. Anadolu Efes, keen as well to build on their win against Barcelona last week will be counting on the large Turkish population in northern Germany to cheer them on, Thursday.
“A difficult atmosphere is waiting for us in Nurnberg, and a larger arena,” said Cedi Osman. “But I am sure that Turkish people living in Germany will come to the game to support us. We will try to do our best for the victory.”
∞∞∞ OLYMPIACOS TRAVEL TO KAUNAS ∞∞∞
Olympiacos travel to Zalgiris on Thursday, keen to consolidate fourth spot in the EuroLeague table, whereas the Lithuanian champions look to continue their slow rise up the standings.
This will be the 13th time that these teams meet in European competition since 2000. The Reds hold the positive end of a 9-3 record so far but Zalgiris have shown positive glimpses of their true potential when at home. They come up against 2012 and 2013 EuroLeague Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis, who is leading the team in scoring and assists at 14.7 and 6.6, respectively.
“Olympiacos’ game is obviously ran around Spanoulis,” Zalgiris’ Leo Westermann said. “Most things start from his actions because he is the true leader of the team. They are very organized in defence and other players support him perfectly. We will need to play our best game, to move the ball and to create to our chances to beat that defence.”
∞∞∞ ELSEWHERE ∞∞∞
There are two other EuroLeague fixtures to be played on Thursday. Unics Kazan looks to knock an injury-hit Baskonia off its perch. The Liga Endesa side will be without Andrea Bargnani and possibly might be without Shane Larkin.
And Thursday’s action is rounded off with Crvena Zvezda hosting Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in Belgrade.