EuroLeague schedule packs several key dates for Greek giants
Olympiacos and Panathinaikos Superfoods got their first look at their European schedule for next season with the release of the EuroLeague schedule…
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Greece’s EuroLeague representatives were made aware of their schedule for the upcoming campaign with the release of the 2018/2019 schedule this week.
After playoff round exits for both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, Greece’s flag bearers in the competition are determined to redeem themselves this season with another strong regular season.
While there are many familiar foes in the form of continental giants like reigning champions Real Madrid, there are many new faces in the competition following an offseason of changes to the EuroLeague lineup.
Two Spanish sides made their EuroLeague exit with Valencia Basket replaced by domestic rivals Herbalife Gran Canaria in this season’s edition of the competition following the latter’s fourth-place finish in Spain’s Liga ACB last season.
Unicaja Malaga, one of five Spanish side’s in the competition last season, will also miss out this season after Turkish side Darussafaka claimed the 2017/2018 EuroCup Basketball title last season – a title Malaga was able to win the year prior.
Darussafaka’s inclusion in the competition increases Turkey’s representation to three clubs, while Serbia will go without a representative in this season’s competition after Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade were replaced as Adriatic League Champions by Montenegro’s Buducnost VOLI.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich are back in the EuroLeague for the first time since the 2015/2016 season after claiming the league title in Germany last season.
Opening Round Action
Panathinaikos will host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in their EuroLeague opener on 11 October with the Trifylli keen to begin their centennial season with a win over their longtime Israeli foes.
Meanwhile, Olympiacos will begin their campaign on the road when they visit former head coach Ioannis Bartzokas and Khimki Moscow Region in Russia on 12 October.
Olympiacos will make their home debut on 16 October when the Piraeus giants host Final Four hosts KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Eternal Derby: European Edition
While Olympiacos and Panathinaikos will likely clash on a handful of occasions on the domestic scene in the Greek Basket League, the Eternal Derby will take centerstage in Europe when Panathinaikos host Olympiacos at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall on 9 November.
The titans of Greek basketball will clash once more in the reverse fixture in Piraeus on 4 January, in a fixture that will be packed with plenty of drama following Ioannis Papapetrou’s transfer from Olympiacos to Panathinaikos.
Panathinaikos will look to avenge their playoff exit from last season against eventual EuroLeague Champions Real Madrid when the two sides clash in the Spanish capital on 19 December.
Olympiacos, who lost to Lithuanian side Zalgiris Kaunas in the playoffs, will have revenge on their mind when they travel to Baltic Europe on 6 December.
Aegean Rivalry Renewed
The Aegean rivalry will have an extra element this season with the inclusion of Darussafaka in the EuroLeague lineup, which increases the amount of Greco-Turkish battles in this season’s EuroLeague to 12 games.
One of the most notable clashes between Greek and Turkish clubs will be when Olympiacos pay Darussafaka a visit on 27 December as Olympiacos coach David Blatt makes a return to his former post.
Former Panathinaikos coach, Zeljko Obradovic, will return to the Greek capital with Fenerbahce on 7 December for a replay of the matchup that escalated the tension between Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos and EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu.
Olympiacos, who lost to Fenerbahce in the 2017 Final, will clash with the Turkish Champions on 15 November in Piraeus.
Russian giants CSKA Moscow have been the best regular season team in the EuroLeague since the competition changed its format to a standard regular season at the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Led by Greek coach Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA are poised to be the standard in the EuroLeague again this season which certainly highlights their clashes with Greek clubs.
Olympiacos will be the first to encounter the Russian giants on 1 November in Moscow, while Panathinaikos won’t clash with CSKA until the Russians travel to Athens on 28 December.
FIBA Conflict Continued
As was the case last season when FIBA began qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the EuroLeague will play lucrative regular season fixtures on the same night as European qualifiers.
Greece, who advanced to the second round of qualifying, will face two conflicts during the EuroLeague regular season with the likes of Panathinaikos and Olympiacos – as well as Greeks on teams abroad – in action either the day before or the day of a National Team qualifier.
Thus, when Greece take on Germany on 30 November it is likely that the Greek internationals on Panathinaikos and Olympiacos won’t be included in the squad. The same is likely expected when qualifiers resume in February 2019.