The derby of the round in Eurocup: Joventut Badalona – Partizan

Palau Olimpic de Badalona will host the EuroCup game of the week on Wednesday evening, when the 1st place from Group A, Joventut Badalona, will host 2nd placed Partizan Belgrade.

30 years ago, in 1992, the two teams played each other in the EuroLeague (then called FIBA European League) final, and just like now, Zeljko Obradovic was the coach of Partizan. The Serbian team won the trophy with a squad full of young players that later became superstars, while Obradovic was also a young coach, winning his first major trophy.

One year later, the Serbian coach signed with Joventut and won his second EuroLeague trophy in 1994 with Penya, which is still the only time the Catalan club managed to win the most important title in European basketball. Since then, Joventut won the EuroCup (2008) and the Eurochallenge (2006), but never really managed to return to the success of the Obradovic era.

This year however Joventut has had a remarkable season so far, exceeding every expectation. Besides leading their group in the EuroCup, Badalona is tied for fourth place in the ACB. Carles Duran’s team lost only two games from the last ten in all competitions, and those losses came against giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Partizan also experienced some mediocre years for their standards, but the black and whites increased their budget significantly with the aim to win the EuroCup and return to the EuroLeague. To have success somewhat guaranteed, they brought back Obradovic and also signed big names like Kevin Punter, Zach LeDay, Mathias Lessort and others.

It’s difficult to predict the outcome of this game. Joventut might be in better shape and they also play at home, but Partizan has a better roster overall. Also, the Serbian team might have a little psychological advantage as they won the first game between the two sides in November (68-67). What is sure is that it will be a special night for Zeljko Obradovic as he returns to Palau Olimpic where he had an amazing season in 1993/94. Also, it’s not impossible to see a rematch of the EuroLeague Final from exactly 30 years ago in the EuroCup this season.

Image: Joventut Badalona 

Imre Halasz