Olympiacos – Fenerbahce, more balanced than you think!

On April 26, 2023, Peace And Friendship Stadium will host the first match between Olympiacos Piraeus and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, a classic of European basketball, perhaps one of the most balanced duels between the 1st and 8th places in the history of the competition.

Olympiacos, the winner of the regular season with 24 wins and 10 defeats, is having one of the best seasons in history. The best team in terms of Performance Index Rating – 103.0, the number of assists 21.8, steals 7.7 and for two-point % – 60.9. Georgios Bartzokas’ team leaders are Sasha Vezenkov 17.6 ppg, 7.1 reb; Kostas Sloukas 10.7 ppg, 5.9 ast and Kostas Papanikolaou with 8.9 ppg, 3.4 reb. In the championship playoff, they managed 2 victories with over 20 points with Aris, Vezenkov was the leading scorer in both matches.

Fenerbahce caught the playoff spot in extremis after a season with a lot of injuries. They finished the season in 8th place with 19 wins and 15 defeats. The end of the season was with problems, with Scottie Wilbekin (11.1 ppg) and David Booker missing in the last matches and it is not yet known if they recovered, just like Bjelica who had problems all season. In these conditions, the team leaders are Johnathan Motley 14.9 ppg, 5.6 reb; Marko Guduric 12.5 ppg, 3.0 reb, 3.2 ast and Nick Calathes 8.2 ppg, 5.1 ast. In the last round of the championship, they managed to win against Merkezefendi, 79-72, thanks to Hayes’ 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

In the regular season, both meetings were easily won by Olympiakos, 94-67 in Greece with Vezenkov’s 21 points respectively Edwards’s 13 points; in Turkey was 73-93, Guduric’s 24 points were answered by Papanikolaou 21 points and Canaan’s 20 points.

The Greeks leave with the first chance of having the advantage of their home field, but the Turks are a team with many players with European experience and with a coach, Dimitris Itoudis, who has already won the Euroleague 2 times. The fans will have an important role in every match in this series. In the playoffs, previous experience often matters more than that season’s results, so the duel of the Greek coaches will be exciting.

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: EuroLeague