Two EuroLeague giants meet in the Catalan heartland on Friday in what is a critical game for both teams as Barcelona look to stay in touch in a race for the Playoffs when they square off against CSKA Moscow who aim to go level with Real Madrid on top.
It’ll be an interesting battle between two teams with different goals as the end of the newly formatted EuroLeague regular season winds down. Despite going in as favourites, CSKA Moscow coach Dimitris Itoudis knows that Barcelona will be a threat on Friday.
“We know each other very well, even though Barcelona had some roster changes during the season,” he said. “They are chasing the playoff spot, we have our tasks, so the game is very important for both sides. The opponent is very serious so we have to be motivated and focused to try to win there.”
“This will be a very complicated game, but there are no unbeatable teams,” added Barcelona coach Georgios Bartzokas.
“To win this game it’s not enough to play well. My players will have to have a great night and give a little extra. I think we are in a good moment right now but we are lacking stability for 40 minutes. Concentration will be a key factor in one of the most demanding games in the competition.”
∞∞∞ PANATHINAIKOS LOOK TO KEEP PERFECT MARK AGAINST DARUSSAFAKA ∞∞∞
Darussafaka Dogus hosts Panathinaikos on Friday in what is the two teams’ fourth fixture against each other in four years.
The Greens have a perfect 3-0 record against the Turkish side including an 86-80 home victory in round nine behind a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds by Ioannis Bourousis. And with Crvena Zvezda winning last night against Brose Bamberg, Panathinaikos will look to solidify fifth spot with a win.
We have to play a perfect game on defence and on offence,” says Panathinaikos coach Xavi Pascual. “We must control the pace of the game and the rebounds. The atmosphere will be tough and we need to manage this. We have to play hard to succeed.”
On the flip side, Darussafaka needs to win to keep its Playoff hopes alive. Currently, they sit just outside in ninth place having lost four of their last five and are desperate to rectify that mark.
∞∞∞ DIRECTLY ABOVE DARUSSAFAKA SITS ANADOLU, WHO PLAY KAZAN ∞∞∞
Sitting in the eighth and final Playoff spot are Darussafaka Dogus’ neighbours Anadolu Efes, who travel to strugglers Unics Kazan on Friday.
Anadolu have won four of their last five games in the EuroLeague and as a result have had point guard Thomas Heurtel crowned MVP for February so momentum is on their side against a Unics team who sit second from bottom.