The clash of the Titans: AEK Athens visiting Hapoel Jerusalem

Two of the strongest BasketballCL teams will fight today in Jerusalem. Former European champions, AEK Athens will try to resist the devastating offense of Hapoel, a very surprising squad who can beat any team in the competition if they catch a good day.

Both teams have very deep rotations and a quality roster. For the Greek side, the Canadian center Stefan Jankovic has missed the last games due to an injury, while Hapoel has a full squad. The host has 2 advantages in this encounter: first, they are playing at home, where they are tough to defeat and then a more athletic and younger team compared with AEK.

The visitors have many veterans in the roster (Keith Langford, Jonas Maciulis, Marcus Slaughter and Dimitris Mavroeidis) that could bring in a lot of experience but at the same time, the age of them can affect especially the transition game and the defense.

The game is seen as a balanced one, but AEK looked easier to broke in the Greek league where they have lost the last games against Ifaistos Limnou and Peristeri. On the other side, Hapoel Jerusalem is coming after a good start of the season in Israel. They are undefeated in the domestic league sharing the first place with the Euroleague powerhouse, Maccabi Tel Aviv. If they will be able to use all their offensive arsenal, practising an intelligent run-and-gun, they can make a lot of problems to AEK in this battle. Players like Tashawn Thomas who is averaging almost a double-double per game, James Feldeine, J’Covan Brown, Trent Lockett or Suleiman Braimoh can make the difference in some key moments of the game for the Israeli squad.

If we are looking at the long run, I think that this season, Hapoel Jerusalem has more chances to reach the BasketballCL playoffs than AEK Athens.



Gratian Cormos