This week, after a break continues the Euroleague and hereinafter follow the preview of Top 16 phase round 8 of the most elite basketball club competition in the Old Continent.
The first duel in the Group E is scheduled for Thursday at 18:30 pm, when the Turkish Darussafaka will welcome the Spanish Unicaja. After a brilliant played the first phase of the Euroleague, Darussafaka in the Top 16 played several fairly weak matches, and with one victory they are at the bottom of the group. Unicaja also splendidly played the first part of the competition, while in the second half of the season not shine, with only two achieved triumphs and five defeats, and the great impact on slightly weaker performances is certainly the result of serious injury of the starting point guard Stefan Markovic. For the Spaniards this match is of utmost importance, in order to try to get involved in the fight for the playoffs of the Euroleague, but expects them extremely dangerous opponent, by whom have already suffered defeat on away in the first phase.
On the same day, Lokomotiv Kuban will on their court play their match against Cedevita. The Russian team looks great on the court during the whole season, constantly playing in a high rhythm, so with the score of 5-2 hold second place in Group E table. Team recently joined the brilliant shooter Matt Janning, which in tandem with Malcolm Delaney can inflict major problems to every opponent. Lokomotiv Kuban coach Georgios Bartzokas has already won the Euroleague and brilliantly preparing his team for all matches. On the other hand, Cedevita with the score 2-5 is already written-off, but they played the best matches of the season they when they were written off in advance. However, in the match against this opponent have very little chance to win.
Derby match will play home Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce. Greek powerhouse does not shine this season, in the meantime have engaged two signings to reinforce competition in the team, but also to try to ensure the playoffs of the Euroleague, given that they are on division of the 3rd and 4th place in the table, with only one win over Anadolu Efes. In the guest is coming team that is unbeaten in the Top 16 phase, and considered by many one of the favorites to win the Euroleague this season. Starting with the most trophy European coach Zeljko Obradovic, through great players like Jan Vesely, Luigi Datome, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Bobby Dixon, it seems that the team of Fenerbahce does not have a weak spot. Trump card of Panathinaikos can be home court and noisy crowd, but we’ll see for how much this will be enough to jeopardize the powerful Turkish team.
The last match in Group E will be played on Friday, and Crvena zvezda Telekom will in front of their fans try to make another feat this season and beat Anadolu Efes. The Belgrade club played some great games this season, especially at home, when the respectively were beaten Real Madrid, Khimki and Lokomotiv Kuban, so they are now in an excellent position ahead of the second part of the Top 16 and with a score of 4-3 occupy third place in the group. Anadolu Efes this season very well selected the team, are filled in all positions, but recording results below expectations, so to them this match is extremely important in order to reach the play-off. Potential problem for Crvena zvezda Telekom is the fact that they will not play in their hall in Belgrade, but were forced to host Turkish team outside of Belgrade, in the hall where they were not played a match. However, the previous meeting of these rivals was extremely exciting and resolved in the last seconds, so we certainly can expect basketball spectacle.
The first match in Group F will be played on Thursday in Russia between the home side CSKA and Khimki. CSKA is a team about which is all known, for years are at the top of European basketball, and in recent seasons they eluded the Euroleague trophy in the final moments. Khimki this season formed a powerful team, but they do not have the continuity of results as their rival, whom they managed to inflict defeat in the first match of Top 16 phase. CSKA is expectedly in first place in the group, with the score of 5-2, while Khimki occupies the third position with one win less. The club from Moscow will certainly be very motivated to revenge Khimki, but also to provide the best possible placement before the playoffs, so the slight advantage is on the side of CSKA.
On the same day, German Brose Baskets will on their own court play the match against Real Madrid. The defender of the trophy without any difficulty celebrated in the first match of the two teams, but it should be noted that Brose Baskets is the team that this season has played some spectacular matches and defeated several favorites. Madrid side is in the fourth position in the group, while Brose Baskets is in 7th place, but with only one win less than rivals. After a few unexpected defeats, Real Madrid lifted form in the previous period, so should expect to win in Germany.
The last match on Thursday will be played in Spain, where will meet Laboral Kutxa and Zalgiris. The team of Velimir Perasovic playing great the whole season in the Euroleague, especially in the defense phase, so is not easy for anybody against them. Confirmation of this is their placement in an extremely difficult and balanced Group F, in which are on the second place with only two defeats. Zalgiris has achieved only one victory in the Top 16 phase, some matches were unfortunately lost this season, but all but the home side’s triumph would be a big surprise.
With the match between home Barcelona and Olympiakos concludes the eighth round of the Euroleague. Both rivals are in an uncomfortable position in the group, and with the score of 3-4 are in the division from fifth to seventh place, so the team that triumphs on Friday will achieve great advantage over the continuation of the competition. This is the match where is no clear favorite; previous duel of these teams, played in Piraeus belonged to Olympiakos, and now Barcelona will try to defend home court. It is certain that there will be a lot of pressure on the players of both teams, especially on the players of Barcelona, who have the difficult task of winning on their court. This will be one of the matches where the inspiration of the individual can solve the match and where it is extremely difficult to predict a winner.