Greek clubs in desperation mode as EuroLeague season winds down

Greek clubs in desperation mode as EuroLeague season winds down

With just five games left in the EuroLeague regular season, both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos will need a near-perfect run to have any chance of being part of this season’s playoff lineup…

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Olympiacos and Panathinaikos face an uphill battle in the final rounds of the EuroLeague season as both sides try to claw their way into the EuroLeague postseason.

In stark contrast to last season, a turbulent campaign for Greece’s representatives sees both sides clinging on for dear life in the playoff pursuit as Olympiacos and Panathinaikos are among the bubble teams vying for the final few playoff spots.

In Piraeus, Olympiacos currently occupy the final playoff spot as a result of a three-way tie for sixth-place with the the likes of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. At 13-12 the Erythrolefki are followed closely by a pack of three clubs, including Panathinaikos, that currently hold a 12-13 record heading into the final five rounds of action.

Olympiacos’ self-destructive five-game losing streak took the Piraeus side out of the running for homecourt advantage in the playoffs with David Blatt’s side now needing a strong finish to the regular season just to be involved in the postseason.

Olympiacos, who won’t face a top-five club in the final weeks of the regular season, will need to pull-off a positive result against Milan in Round 26 to boost their chances of holding on for a playoff spot. However, clashes with Bayern Munich and Zalgiris Kaunas in the final weeks could also prove lucrative as the Erythrolefki look to clinch a spot in the final eight.

As for Panathinaikos, the Trifylli will most likely need a near-perfect close to their regular season schedule just to have any shot of making the playoffs. The Athenians, who sacked head coach Xavi Pascual before Christmas due to subpar performances on the continent, have seen a bit of a resurgence under current bench boss Rick Pitino.

Nevertheless, Panathinaikos’ early season struggles, compounded with a brutal away record, has seen the Trifylli linger outside the top eight spots for much of the season. Despite an arguably more difficult final slate of fixtures, Panathinaikos do face two sides in the playoff hunt with clashes against Milan and Baskonia in the horizon.

Perhaps the most difficult part for Panathinaikos in the final weeks of the season is that even with a near-perfect run, the club still doesn’t control its own destiny and will rely on favours from their rivals just to make the postseason.

League leaders Fenerbahce were the first side to clinch a playoff berth last month, while CSKA Moscow, and reigning champions Real Madrid have since joined the Turkish side in clinch playoff berths.

Meanwhile, Anadolu Efes and Barcelona Lassa are closing in on punching their ticket -- leaving just three spots up for grabs in the final rounds of action.

2018/2019 EuroLeague Playoff Push (teams ranked 6 through 11)

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (13-12)

Budocnost VOLI Podgorica (H)

Panathinaikos (A)

Real Madrid (H)

Anadolu Efes (H)

CSKA Moscow (A)

AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (13-12)

Olympiacos (H)

Real Madrid (A)

Panathinaikos (H)

Fenerbahce (H)

Anadolu Efes (A)


AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (A)

Bayern Munich (H)

Herbalife Gran Canaria (A)

Zalgiris Kaunas (H)

Darussafaka (H)

Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (12-13)

Anadolu Efes (H)

Zalgiris Kaunas (H)

Khimki Moscow Region (A)

Herbalife Gran Canaria (H)

Fenerbahce (A)


CSKA Moscow (A)

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (H)

AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (A)

Real Madrid (H)

Budocnost VOLI Podgorica (H)

Bayern Munich (12-13)

Zalgiris Kaunas (A)

Olympiacos (A)

Barcelona Lassa (H)

Darussafaka (A)

Herbalife Gran Canaria (H)


by Peter Katsiris

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