Euroleague Championship Game: Preview

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Euroleague

Olympiacos and Fenerbahce will fight against each other on Sunday night at the “Sinan Erdem Dome” with only one target on their mind, namely to win the coveted title.

What exactly should we expect from the two opponents, though, less than 12 hours before their match-up?

Olympiacos enter the game as the underdogs, despite their great victory over CSKA Moscow in the semi-final.

Although they were down by 11 and 13 points, respectively, during the game, they managed to make the come-back and advanced to the Final for the fourth time in the last six years (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017).

Although it’s certain there will be no major changes in the squad’s game plan, the Greek team will try to take advantage of its excellent post-up game, with Vangelis Mantzaris (especially when Bobby Dixon will be on the floor), Giorgos Printezis, Ioannis Papapetrou and Kostas Papanikolaou being expected to execute many plays from the post.

Moreover, coach Sfairopoulos’ tactics will again revolve around Vassilis Spanoulis, as the 35-year-old guard will try to create many open shots for his team-mates, just like he did on Friday, as well as score crucial points, either from beyond the arc or with mid-range shots.

It’s also vital for the “Reds” to retain their three-point percentage at high levels (they hit 14 three-pointers against the “Bear”), so if they score eight or nine three-pointers tonight, then they will be able to remain competitive during the whole game.

Defensively, coach Sfairopoulos should find a way to stop Ekpe Udoh, who was tremendous against Real Madrid, with the latter being able to score points and grab rebounds as well as dish assists and play excellent defence.

In the back-court line, Kostas Sloukas and Bogdan Bogdanovic are expected to be game changers, while Olympiacos’ players should prevent Dixon from changing the momentum, as he will probably come off the bench again.

Last but not least, I am expecting from forwards Luigi Datome and Nikola Kalinic to try to score points from the low-post, while Jan Vesely will again act as the rim protector.

Olympiacos, though, has the league’s best defence, so I think they will have created many game plans to reduce Fenerbahce’s offensive productivity.

On the other hand, coach Obradovic will try to help his players impose a run’n’gun playing style.

Against Real Madrid in the semi-final, the Serbian coach saw his squad retain its energy at very high levels during the whole game, and this will be the case on Sunday too.

Fenerbahce’s players will try to stop Spanoulis’ pick’n’roll plays as well as Printezis’ post-up game in order to make Olympiacos’ playing style more predictable.

However, coach Obradovic will undoubtedly have a game plan for each of the “Reds” players to prevent them from being effective offensively.

It’s also worth mentioning that Fenerbahce will try to score as many as point as they can in transition, just like they did against Real Madrid, so Olympiacos should be very focused defensively and control the tempo, if they want to retain their chances to win the game.

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photo: Euroleague

Overall, it’s energy against defence tonight at the sold-out “Sinan Erdem Dome”, with both clubs fighting tooth and nail for the coveted title, in a close game, which will probably be decided in the last minute.