Olympiacos is the favorite in the Greek derby of the EuroLeague

OAKA will host the big derby on Friday evening between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, in a game that counts for Round 16 of the EuroLeague. Both Greek giants are currently struggling as Panathinaikos is a on a three game losing streak, while Olympiacos lost it’s last two games.

PAO’s basketball section is not living it’s best years. From a team that was always a title contender in the last two decades, the Greens had a rough past couple of years. Last summer they decided to hand the coaching job to Dejan Radonjic and while they lost 5 of their first 6 games at the beginning of the season, they started to play better and win games, including a four game winning streak that made Panathinaikos fans dream of reaching the playoffs again after a 4 year absence. New signings Dwayne Bacon and Derrick Williams both have a stellar season so far: Bacon is the third best scorer in the EuroLeague so far with 20.3 points per game, while Williams is one of the best power forwards in the league.

On the other side of Athens, Olympiacos entered the season with much higher goals and after they started the campaign 4-0, including wins against Spanish giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Baskonia, everybody considered Olympiacos to be a clear Final Four contender. The Reds couldn’t keep that great momentum and suffered some painful losses too like the one against Valencia at home or in the last two rounds against Asvel in Lyon and Crvena Zvezda in the Peace and Friendship Stadium.

Despite these recent defeats, there is no need to panic for Olympiacos. They have Sasha Vezenkov who plays on an MVP level and overall the team has experienced players and an experienced coach who will steer the ship back to it’s right direction.

Statistically Olympiacos is better on both ends of the floor, but in a packed OAKA anything can happen.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: EuroLeague