Could Fenerbahce surprise Real in Madrid?

Real Madrid will host Fenerbahce Istanbul in the WiZink Center tomorrow evening in a game that counts for Round 28 of the current EuroLeague season.

Despite losing their last two games in the EuroLeague, the team from the Spanish capital still sits comfortably at the top of the table with a 22-5 record, so Chus Mateo and his team will almost certainly win the regular season and have home court advantage in the playoffs. The Spanish team is the best in Europe right now and they lost only once at home this EuroLeague season, last week against Panathinaikos.

Fenerbahce had a great 4th quarter in their last game against Baskonia, outscoring their opponents by 15 points when the score was tied after three quarters. It brought a crucial win for the Turkish team that was desperate for a victory after two consecutive defeats that dropped them to a play-in position. They are still only in 7th place and after the Madrid trip, they have a few other difficult games left to play, hosting Barcelona and Efes and the away games in Milan or Piraeus are not easy either. They still have a chance to finish the regular season in the Top 3 being just one win behind third-placed Panathinaikos. Since Sarunas Jasikevicius took over the team in December they have certainly improved. Fener is a team that can beat anyone in a playoff series even if they will not have home-court advantage.

The first game between the two teams this season was one to remember. After the first 10 rounds, Real was still unbeaten when they arrived in Istanbul playing a Fener team that was on a four-game losing streak at that time. Los Blancos won the first quarter by 13 points and it seemed they would have an easy win. The hosts recovered but were still trailing by 8 points entering the fourth quarter. Led by Marko Guduric, Scottie Wilbekin and Nigel Hayes-Davis Fener managed to take the game to overtime where Yam Madar scored the winning layup in the last second of the game.

While I wrote earlier that Fener can beat any team in Europe, I wouldn’t bet against Real Madrid in the WiZink Center as I don’t think they will lose twice in a row at home.

Imre Halasz

Image: EuroLeague