This season’s Euroleague is heating up and decisive quarterfinal battles for the Final Four starting already on 12th and 13th of April, which this year will be held in Berlin, in Mercedes Benz Arena from 12 to 15 May, and today we will present the first two quarterfinal couples, which are beginning their series on the first day. The placement on the Final Four will achieve the teams which first reach 3 victories. The second matches are scheduled for 14 and 15 April, while the third and the eventual fourth duels are scheduled for 18 and 19 April and on 20 and 21 April, and the potential fifth matches will be played on 26 April.
The first quarter-final duel is scheduled on April 12 in Moscow, where CSKA and Crvena zvezda Telekom will start the battle for Berlin. CSKA is the team with by far the most participation on the Euroleague final tournaments in the 21st century, and the most important trophy in European club basketball has won 6 times, of which twice in this century (2006 and 2008). The club that from the bench led Dimitrios Itoudis without any major problems comes to the very end, however, in recent years have played weakest exactly the most important matches. CSKA is a big favorite against almost every team with which is meeting, and this is the case against Belgrade’s Crvena zvezda Telekom, which is one of the most pleasant surprises this season. One of the trumps of Crvena zvezda Telekom in this quarterfinal series can be a home court, on which this season were beating some of the best European teams. Besides, red and whites have shown that they can play very well on visiting court, but still the Russian powerhouse is a heavy favorite, primarily because of the great experience of the team. Deciding duels in this series will be leading in the paint, where Andrey Vorontsevich and Kyle Hines on one side, and Maik Zirbes and Quincy Miller on other will lead exhausting battles. Backcourt of CSKA is one of the best and Milos Teodosic and Nando De Colo are one of the best tandems in Euroleague and Stefan Jovic and Tarence Kinsey expects a very difficult task. Statistically, CSKA is the team that this season in the Euroleague is scoring the most points in average, while the trademark in the game of Crvena zvezda Telekom is very quality defense. Although it could not be said that they expects an easy task, CSKA is a big favorite in this series, due to the quality and experience, but also because home court advantage in an eventual fifth game.
The second pair which will its first quarter-final clash begin on 12 April are Turkish Fenerbahce and defender of the trophy, Real Madrid. This will also be the biggest quarterfinals derby, and it is for certain that we are expecting a very thrilling series. These teams have met in last season’s semi-final, when Real Madrid was more successful, while they this season met twice and the result is 1-1 in wins, and each team has triumphed in front of their fans. Both teams in recent seasons cultivate a similar style of basketball, with very quick turn of play and have several players who can play in various positions. Fenerbahce is a team that without any doubt has shown the most this season, while Real Madrid won placement both in the playoffs, and also earlier in Top 16 secured just in the last rounds. The great handicap for the team of Fenerbahce represents the injury of Jan Vesely, who along with Luigi Datome and Bogdan Bogdanovic makes the main axis of the Turkish representative. Apart from the outstanding play in defense, Jan Vesely after returning from the NBA has significantly expanded his offensive repertoire, so his absence will be almost impossible to compensate. Real Madrid had minimally changed the roster which last season won the Euroleague, and the team had left Ioannis Bourousis (instead of whom has arrived Willy Hernangomez); followed by Facundo Campazzo which is on loan at the team of Murcia; Marcus Slaughter who has strengthened Darussafaka; then Salah Mejri, who has decided to try his hand in the NBA. The team has left and K.C. Rivers, which in the first part of season played for Bayern, but in December has returned to Real Madrid. Players who have arrived in the Royal club during the previous summer certainly possess an exceptional quality, but probably the biggest boost of Real Madrid is remain of Sergio Llull, who decided to stay in Europe despite the offer of Houston Rockets, which will supposedly and this summer try to engage the explosive guard. Llull and Sergio “Chacho” Rodriguez are the players from which very much depends game of Real Madrid, so guards of Fenerbahce will have an extremely difficult task to stop the organizers of the game of the Madrid club. On the other side, another returnee from the NBA league, Luigi Datome, as well as one of the best shooters in Europe, Bogdan Bogdanovic, are playing the entire season at a very high level and often represent unresolvable enigma to all opponents. The team of Fenerbahce may have a crucial advantage on the bench, considering that the coach of the Turkish team Zeljko Obradovic is the most successful European coach, that behind him have a handful of big matches such this and certainly has maximally prepared his team and studied all the weaknesses of the rival. A slight advantage in this series is on the side of Fenerbahce, which masterly playing the entire season, and there is also home court advantage, which may decide the winner of this quarterfinal.