Peristeri is coming back to the European elite. They finished the regular session on 3rd place, behind Panathinaikos and AEK Athens. In the semifinals, they were stopped by now Greek Champions, Panathinaikos by 3-0. In the battle for the 3rd place, they gave everything they had, but in the end, they lost 3-1 versus AEK. Their last European participation was in the 2003-2004 season. This achievement is even bigger if we take into account the fact that in 2013 the club withdrawn from the first league due to financial problems. The moral is sky-high now in Peristeri arena.
Italy is our next stop and the first team is Dinamo Sassari. They finished the regular season on the 4th place, and not only eliminated the Italian giants Olimpia Milano in the semifinals but also fight with Umana Venezia until game 7 in the Finals. In the end, they lost the Finals, but the 2018-2019 season was a real success for them. Now they’re back in the Champions League after one year break. After winning Fiba Europe Cup this year, Dinamo Sassari will try to be a title contender as well in BasketballCL.
The second team from Italy is Happy Casa Brindisi. They finished the regular season on 5th place. In the first round, they met a strong Dinamo Sassari’s side and lost the round by 3-0. Now they are back in Basketball Champions League after a 3-years break. We hope that the team will make their fans „Happy” in the next season.
From Latvia, a Baltic country that is in love with basketball comes VEF Riga. They finished the regular season in the second place, after a long battle with their eternal rival, Ventspils. Both teams had very few difficulties in reaching the desired final. The winner was VEF Riga in Game 5 at Ventspils Arena, a result that makes their fans very confident. Last time VEF Riga played in the Eurocup in the 2012-2015 season.
Now we`re going to France, where after a 2 years drought, big club Elan Bernais Pau Orthez (9 French titles) are coming back to the European Competitions. They finished the regular season in the 5th place and in the first round playoffs, they were eliminated by Nanterre 2-1.
The next team on our list is a huge surprise from Germany, Rasta Vechta. They gained the promotion to the first league in 2018 and finished the regular season in the fourth place. They eliminated in the first round of playoffs, Brose Bamberg and only Bayern Munchen managed to stop them in the semifinals, after a 3-0 for the Bavarian side. For Rasta Vechta this is the first European participation and I expect a full Rasta Dome at every home game this season.
Photo credit: championsleague.basketball
Bogdan Vasile Tirc