AEK Athens trying to get their revenge on Hapoel Jerusalem

A big match will take place in Round 9 of Basketball Champions League when AEK Athens will face Hapoel Jerusalem in a contest between two of the main favourites to win the trophy this year. They already meet in Round 2, when Hapoel won the game 85-78 despite a huge game from Keith Lanford (AEK), who finished with 27 points and 4 rebounds in 36 minutes.

This season is a very good one for Hapoel Jerusalem because in the national league they have won 7 games and lost only 1 against big rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv. In BCL, they are on the first place with a 6-2 record, with those defeats suffered against Burgos and Elan Bearnais, both away. In their last game, they meet at home Maccabi Haifa and won the game without problems 95-81 despite missing Isaiah Cousins and Trent Lockett. The main contributors were: Iman Zalmanson (17 points and 5 rebounds), J’Covan Brown (15 points and 4 assists) and Tamir Blatt (14 points). Both missing players will play in this game against AEK.

After a poor start of the season, due to lack of chemistry, AEK bounced back and won 12 matches in the last 13 in all competitions. Their only defeat came against Vechta on November 19 in BCL, 75-79. In the national league, they are on 4th place, only because that slow start of the season, while in BCL, they have the same record as their next opponents, 6-2. AEK’s roster is very experienced and with the last addition of Mario Chalmers, their rotation is even deeper than before. Mario was used only in BCL games, so I expect a nice contribution from him in this big derby. In their last game, in Greek League, they won against Aris Thessaloniki 92-79 after a very good third quarter. The main contributors of the game were Howard Sant-Roos (19 points and 12 rebounds) and Keith Langford (19 points and 3 assists) while both played more than 34 minutes in this game.

This should be an interesting match-up between two teams that are title contenders each season in BCL. They face each other many times and every game was a pleasure for basketball fans. I expect the same outcome tomorrow and as a prediction, I think AEK will win, only because they play at home in front of their fans and had more days to rest than Hapoel.


Bogdan Vasile Tirc