Could Fenerbahce defeat Olimpia Milano?

The Ulker Sports arena will host one of the most interesting games of Round 9 in the EuroLeague, between Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and league leaders AX Armani Milan.

Fenerbahce is only in 12th place with a 3-5 record, but they are certainly a much better team than their current place in the standings show. They lost in Athens against Panathinaikos, a game they controlled and should have won, but they blew a five point lead in the last 40 seconds. Between rounds 5 and 7, Sasha Djordjevic’s squad had a very unlucky stretch of results, losing three games in a row with one or two points difference and all three losses came against title contenders (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Olympiacos).

The negative streak could have continued as last week the Turkish team had another very tough away game in Moscow against CSKA, a place where very few teams win. However, Fener played an almost perfect game, looking like a Final Four contender, rather than a team struggling to move closer to a playoff spot. Nando de Colo, Jan Vesely and Devin Booker all had a great game against the Russians and Fener has other high-level players in their roster too, like Pierria Henry, Marial Shayok, Achille Polonara or Marko Guduric.

We should also not forget that they had a coaching change relatively late in the summer, so maybe a slower start to the season was to be expected, but the team looks good and I am sure that the positive results will start to come and Fenerbahce will climb in the standings.

While the Turkish team didn’t have the best start of the season in terms of results, this cannot be said about their opponents, AX Armani Milan, who won 14 out of their 15 games so far in the EuroLeague and Serie A, leading both competitions. Milan had a very good season last year too, but they got tired when it matters the most, losing in the EuroLeague Final Four semifinals and then in the Italian league finals. Ettore Messina now seems to have an even better team at his disposal and Milan looks determined to win all the trophies this time. They already beat CSKA, Efes, Maccabi, but maybe the most precious win so far this season is the one from last week against Barcelona. Today’s game will also be special for Datome and Nicolo Melli, who were Fenerbahce players for some years, but now they will return to Ulker Sports Arena as opponents.

Image: EuroLeague

Imre Halasz