AEK’s Champions League title defense to feature familiar foes

AEK’s Champions League title defense to feature familiar foes

The draw for the 2018/2019 Basketball Champions League group stage has plotted AEK’s path to a title defense as well as the starting points for both PAOK and Promitheas…

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AEK’s road to repeating as Basketball Champions League winners will feature some familiar foes in the group stage after the draw for the group phase was held at the House of Basketball in Mies, Switzerland on Wednesday.
AEK, who defeated AS Monaco on home court in May to capture their first-ever Basketball Champions League title, were slotted in Group C along with Czech side CEZ Nymburk – who the Enosi faced in last year’s Round of 16.
Former AEK guard, Nikos Zisis, is also expected to make a return to Greece this coming season after his Brose Bamberg side were also paired with the reigning champions. Turkish outfit Eskisehir, Spain’s Montakit Fuenlabrada, Israel’s Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, and French side JDA Dijon were also drawn to Group C.
Rounding out Group C will be the winner of the third qualifying tie that features Lithuania’s Lietkabelis, with Cypriot side AEK Larnaca having an outside chance of reaching the group stage via this path.
PAOK, who like AEK are making their third group stage appearance in the competition, will begin their campaign in Group B along with inaugural tournament winners Iberostar Tenerife. Italian outfit Umana Reyer Venezia, who boast former Greek international Michael Bramos, are the headline club in the group.
Although Germany’s Telekom Baskets Bonn, Czech outfit Opava, and Israel’s Hapoel Unet Holon were also drawn to the group, the Group B picture remains incomplete with two qualifying spots to be filled. France’s Nanterre 92 and Turkish outfit Sakarya Buyuksehir are the favourtes to clinch a berth in Group B.
Meanwhile, Promitheas will make their tournament debut in Group D as the Patras-based club make their first venture into European competition among the likes of Turkish side Besiktas and France’s SIG Strasbourg. Lithuania’s Neptunas is the other seeded club in the group, while Belgian Champions Oostende and Slovenian titleholders Petrol Olimpija also feature in the group.
Virtus Segafredo Bologna rounds out the list of confirmed clubs in the group while Germany’s medi Bayreuth are favourites to progress to the group stage via the qualification route.
2018/2019 Basketball Champions League Group Stage

Group A
Anwil Wloclawek (POL)
Banvit (TUR)
Le Mans Sarthe Basket (FRA)
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (GER)
Sidigas Avellino (ITA)
Ventspils (LAT)
Winner of Game 21 (Hapoel Tel Aviv/Spirou Basket/Leicester Riders/Bakken Bears/UCAM Murcia)
Winner of Game 23 (FC Porto/Nizhny Novgorod/Dinamo Tbilisi/Aris/JIP Pardubice)
Group B
Hapoel UNET Holon (ISR)
Iberostar Tenerife (ESP)
Opava (CZE)
Telekom Baskets Bonn (GER)
Umana Reyer Venezia Mestre (ITA)
Winner of Game 19 (Sigal Prishtina/Donar Groningen/Fribourg Olympic/Avtodor Saratov/Sakarya Buyuksehir)
Winner of Game 20 (Siauliai/Lukoil Levski/Karhu Basket Kauhajoki/CSM Oradea/Nanterre 92)
Group C

Brose Baskets Bamberg (GER)
CEZ Nymburk (CZE)
Eskisehir Basket (TUR)
Hapoel Jerusalem (ISR)
JDA Dijon Basket (FRA)
Montakit Fuenlabrada (ESP)
Winner of Game 22 (Red October Cantù/Szolnoki Olaj/AEK Larnaca/Telenet Giants Antwerp/Lietkabelis Panevezys)
Group D
Besiktas Sompo Japan (TUR)
Neptunas Klaipeda (LTU)
Oostende (BEL)
Petrol Olimpija (SLO)
Promitheas Patras (GRE)
Segafredo Virtus Bologna (ITA)
SIG Strasbourg (FRA)
Winner of Game 24 (Polski Cukier Torun/Tsmoki-Minsk/Norrköping Dolphins/Movistar Estudiantes/medi Bayreuth)

by Peter Katsiris
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