EuroLeague Season Preview: Olympiacos keen on Redemption
AGONAsport.com’s Peter Katsiris previews Olympiacos’ EuroLeague campaign as the Piraeus Giants look to go one step further than last season…
WATCH Greek Sports and much more from any device with LIVE GREEK TV from AGONAsport! Details and purchase here…
The EuroLeague anthem might be titled ‘Devotion’, but the soundtrack for Olympiacos’ 2017/2018 Euroleague campaign should be known as ‘Redemption’ as the Piraeus giants look to erase memories of a heartbreaking loss in last year’s Final.
An epic semi-final win over Russia’s CSKA Moscow seemingly took its toll on Olympiacos, as the Erythrolefki would succumb to defeat against Fenerbahce – marking Olympiacos’ second loss in the EuroLeague Final in the space of three years.
Defying odds to reach last season’s Final Four, Olympiacos first finished the 16-team group stage with the third best record (19 wins, 11 losses) in the competition – behind only Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow.
Olympiacos’ regular season success would set up a play-off series against Turkish side Anadolu Efes. After taking the first leg at home, Olympiacos would go on to lose the second leg in Greece and the third in Turkey to effectively put Yiannis Sfairopoulos’ side on the ropes. Back-to-back wins, however, in games four and five would see Olympiacos shock their Turkish opponents to book a spot in the Final Four.
The aforementioned semi-final defeat of CSKA Moscow saw Olympiacos defeat their Russian adversaries for the fourth consecutive time; however, the final hurdle against Fenerbahce was just too tough to overcome for the 3-time EuroLeague Champions.
Now, Olympiacos will look to make amends for last year’s loss and reach the Final Four in consecutive seasons for the first time since the club won back-to-back EuroLeague titles in 2012 and 2013.
In what will be just the second season of the current EuroLeague regular season format, Olympiacos’ first task is to achieve a record in the top half of the league as the top eight clubs will qualify for the play-off round.
The goal at large, however, is to reach the Final Four in Belgrade, Serbia – the hometown of Olympiacos’ sister club Red Star Belgrade. Having triumphed in Rome, London, and Istanbul in the past, Olympiacos will be hoping their close connection with Belgrade will provide the edge to steer the club to not only a Final Four appearance but a fourth continental crown.
Odds makers rank Olympiacos the fourth likeliest to hoist the trophy at the Kombank Arena in May 2018, with CSKA Moscow, Fenerbahce, and Real Madrid all tipped ahead of the Piraeus outfit.
Having defied odds last season to reach the Final Four, and in many seasons before, Olympiacos have the potential to do the same again this year. Look for Olympiacos to continue their success in European competition with a strong regular season showing that should extend to at least the play-off round.