After the competition took a break last week because of the National Cup competitions, EuroLeague is back this week and Round 25 schedules some very interesting games. While there will be other very interesting games to watch, with teams fighting for a playoff spot in Milan or Vitoria, Thursday’s biggest game will be played in Istanbul between Fenerbahce and Real Madrid.
Both teams won their domestic Cup tournaments in Turkey and Spain, so they will head to the Ulker Sports Arena with great confidence. However, given their position in the standings, I believe Fenerbahce will be more motivated, almost desperate to win. After a very poor start of the season, Fenerbahce starts to look like the team everyone expected them to be, winning 13 of their 16 games so far in 2020. On a negative note, they suffered 2 of these 3 losses at home, in the EuroLeague (the derby against Barcelona and a heartbreaking one-point loss to Maccabi). But Zeljko Obradovic is a great motivator and now he has a healthy team with experienced players who know they cannot afford to lose anymore at home.
On the other side, Pablo Laso’s Real took care of business in the Copa del Rey Final 8 in Malaga with another impressive display and they are currently 2nd in the EuroLeague, tied with arch-rivals Barcelona. The biggest issue for Real Madrid in this game against Fenerbahce will be the list of the injured players which was growing in the last days. Key-players like Anthony Randolph, Sergio Llull, Jeffrey Taylor and the veteran Felipe Reyes won’t play tonight in Istanbul.
I expect to see a fantastic game between these two teams and I would bet on Fenerbahce to win. They play at home, in front of their amazing crowd and they will fight like it’s the EuroLeague final, given their difficult situation in the standings.