Teams that won the EuroLeague but not their domestic league

Every season the team that wins the EuroLeague can be considered the best team in Europe for that year, as the winner of the most prestigious trophy in European basketball. However, European clubs also have to compete in domestic leagues and cups, and sometimes due to fatigue or fierce competition, the success on the European level is not doubled with the trophy of the domestic league.

The first such example since 2001 (when the modern EuroLeague was created) is Panathinaikos from the 2001/2002 season. The Greens were coached by Zeljko Obradovic, and they previously won the Euroleague in 2000, when the competition was still organised by FIBA. However, in the 2002 Final Four PAO was not the favourite, as they had to play against Kinder Bologna, with Manu Ginobili on the floor besides many others and the Final Four was hosted by the Italian city. But the Greek team shocked the hosts and won the Final 89-83, with a sensational Dejan Bodiroga who was named Final Four MVP. At the same time, Panathinaikos finished 2nd in the Greek League regular season and had to meet rivals Olympiacos in the semifinal. PAO lost the series 0-2 so Bodiroga and co. had to settle with a 3rd place finish in the domestic league.

The next example is from 2010 when FC Barcelona won its second EuroLeague trophy in history. The team coached by Xavi Pascual had an amazing Juan Carlos Navarro, who won the Final Four MVP award after Barca demolished a very strong Olympiacos in the final. Also, Ricky Rubio who was still 19 years old, was the main PG for the Blaugrana squad. However, after the EuroLeague success, Barca still had to play in the ACB League finals and their opponent was Baskonia (called Caja Laboral at the time). Surprisingly the Basque team won the Final 3-0, with Brazilian center Tiago Splitter being named MVP.

In 2013, Olympiacos won its second EuroLeague trophy in a row, beating Real Madrid in the Final that was held in London. The Greeks won 100-88 and Vassilis Spanoulis won both the Regular Season and Final Four MVP awards. No one really expected Olympiacos to win the EuroLeague back to back, but in the Greek League final, Georgios Bartzokas and his team were the favourites that year against Panathinaikos. However, PAO beat the Reds in the first two games and the third game was cancelled after some incidents caused by the Olympiacos fans, so Panathinaikos won the championship.

Finally, this season, Anadolu Efes won their second EuroLeague in a row, after they defeated Real Madrid in the Final. This success was not repeated in the Turkish league, where city rivals Fenerbahce proved to be more fresh and determined in the final, beating Ergin Ataman’s team 3-1 in the Final.

Image: EuroLeague

Imre Halasz