Six-time continental champion Panathinaikos OPAP Athens is one of the first teams that opponents look for when the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague calendar comes out. Looking deep into the schedule, Panathinaikos can see itself battling against classic Spanish powerhouses, several teams that don’t fancy the green color and facing a squad that has stood in its way to success.
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ROUND 4: Fierce opponents
Real Madrid has arguably been Panathinaikos’s main rival in recent years in terms of preventing the Greek powerhouse from reaching glory. Real stopped Panathinaikos in the 2018 playoffs – without the home-court advantage – and in the 2019 EuroLeague Playoffs, denying the Greens the chance to reach the Final Four. Los Blancos have won their last 12 games against Panathinaikos and got a 92-97 double-overtime victory against the Greek powerhouse last season. Always proud and ready, Panathinaikos will look to bounce back.
ROUND 8: A very familiar face
Panathinaikos should be extremely motivated to face Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade due to the lattter’s well-known brotherhood with Olympiacos. One of its main pillars, however, played for Zvezda in the past and still celebrates his former squad’s success. Shooting guard Nemanja Nedovic played for Zvezda from 2008 to 2012 and has never won in Belgrade in EuroLeague action, losing against his former team with Panathinaikos and Unicaja Malaga in the Serbian capital. Nedovic should be ready to bounce back in an important game for him.
ROUND 17: The Greek Derby
Every Panathinaikos fan who considers himself or herself a diehard one first gazes at the EuroLeague calendar to see two things: When does Panathinaikos host archrival Olympiacos Piraeus? And when do the Greens visit the Reds? It is one of the biggest derbies in basketball and since both teams are playing less often in the last two years, the EuroLeague games between them are more important than ever. Win this game and your fans will be happy for weeks. Lose it… and face the consequences. It should be the first Greek derby with fans in OAKA since December 2019 – expect it to be outstanding!
ROUND 21: Memories of great battles
Panathinaikos and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv have faced each other 43 times and some of those showdowns have been critical to winning titles. Panathinaikos beat Maccabi in the 2000 and 2011 EuroLeague championship games to win its second and sixth continental crowns. It also defeated Maccabi in the 2002 semifinals on its way to its third EuroLeague title. Maccabi bested Panathinaikos in the 2001 SuproLeague final and the 2005 EuroLeague semifinals and claimed both trophies. And their playoff series in 2012 was an instant classic.
ROUND 25: A truly classic game
Panathinaikos won its first EuroLeague title in 1996 by downing FC Barcelona in Paris, France. The teams’ rivalry remains strong more than 25 years after that game. Panathinaikos eliminated Barcelona in the 2011 playoffs on its way to its sixth title, but Barcelona returned the favor in 2013 in a thrilling five-game series. Barcelona has won its last five EuroLeague games against the Greens, including a 97-89 overtime thriller at home last season, and accumulated 10 consecutive victories at Palau Blaugrana.
Seen at: Euroleague.net