Olympiacos Piraeus will host Partizan Belgrade in Round 7 of the EuroLeague at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Thursday evening.
While Kevin Punter and Zach LeDay will return to Piraeus as former players of Olympiacos, where both had just short stints with the red and white club, for Zeljko Obradovic and Ioannis Papapetrou the arena in Piraeus is a place where they fought many battles as rivals of the home team when they were representing Panathinaikos. Ioannis Papapetrou might be met with the biggest hostility by the home fans as the Greek forward played a few years for Olympiacos before joining Panathinaikos where he became the captain of the greens.
After winning the first four games of the season, Olympiacos was considered an early favourite for the Final Four and some people in Greece even compared Georgios Bartzokas’s team with the 2009 Panathinaikos squad that is considered one of the best teams in EuroLeague history. Zeljko Obradovic coached a great team, the current Partizan coach, a team that lost in the first three rounds and many people started to question if the team for Belgrade is good enough and if the wildcard they received to play in this season’s EuroLeague was justified.
However, in the last three weeks, things have changed and Partizan seems to be in better shape right now than Olympiacos. The Serbians won their previous three games, while the Greeks lost their last two at home. The defeat last week against Valencia was controversial as the reds asked for a foul on the last shot, while the defeat against Monaco was also after a close game, so there is no reason to panic for Olympiacos supporters.
As the EuroLeague website mentions in their preview, we can expect a high-scoring game, as Partizan is second in the league in scoring, while Olympiacos is third. Also, they are the top two teams in the league in fouls drawn. Another interesting fact is that the last official meeting between the two teams was in the 2010 Final Four in Paris when Olympiacos defeated Partizan in the semifinals.
Photo credit: EuroLeague