EuroLeague preview: Athens derby and top-of-the-table clash in Madrid highlight Friday’s play

Olympiacos will square off against Panathinaikos in a highly anticipated all-Greek showdown in Piraeus, while Real Madrid host league leaders CSKA Moscow to conclude round 16 of the EuroLeague season.

The two Greek combatants enter the second half of the regular season separated by just one win in the standings; the Reds are tied for second place at 10-5 after winning five of their last six games. The Greens sports a 9-6 record, but saw their four-game winning streak snapped in Kazan in round 15.

The last time these two sides met, Olympiacos got a thrilling 79-77 victory over Panathinaikos when they met in round eight thanks to 22 points and eight assists from Vassilis Spanoulis, the last of which was to Georgios Printezis for a game-winning three-point play in the dying seconds.

Meanwhile over in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid will look to avenge the narrow 91-90 loss they suffered to CSKA Moscow in Russia when they meet again on Friday.

Madrid have won their last five home games while CSKA have dropped their last two EuroLeague games. It certainly promises to be an exciting night with the top two sides currently in the competition.

“When you talk about CSKA you talk about a complete team,” says Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso.

“They have two of the most productive payers in the league with Teodosic and De Colo and that’s why their game moves around them. CSKA is the defending champ and they have physical capacities in all positions.”

“We are coming to Madrid after two consecutive losses and we need to bounce back,” stated CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis. “Real and CSKA form great historical rivalry that brings interesting games to the fans. Madrid is very strong this year as usually, they are chasing us in the standings so we need to play with maximum effort and dedication in order to succeed.”

∞∞∞ AROUND THE EUROLEAGUE ON FRIDAY NIGHT ∞∞∞

Fenerbahce will be aiming to close the gap at the top when they host strugglers EA7 Milano who are desperate to shake off their eight-game losing streak, currently the longest in the EuroLeague so far this season.

And two teams with post-season aspirations meet in Kaunas as 6-9 Zalgiris plays host to 7-8 Crvena Zvezda in what promises to be an exciting encounter.