CSKA Moscow heads to Cologne to play in the Final Four for the record 20th time – including an appearance at the first-ever EuroLeague Final Four in 1966 in Bologna. After just two tries, the method was shelved for two decades before returning for good in 1988. CSKA’s next Final Four berth came in Paris in 1996. Since CSKA advanced to the Final Four in 2003 in Barcelona, the club has become a permanent fixture at Europe’s showcase event. The Muscovites went to every Final Four from 2003 through 2010. And since missing the 2011 event, the top four teams in Europe have never been gathered to decide a champion without the presence of CSKA. The club has won half of its eight EuroLeague crowns in the Final Four era.
This season marks the fifth Final Four to be held on German soil. CSKA did not qualify for the first two in Munich, but then reached the championship game in 2009 in Berlin and captured the crown in the German capital in 2016. Over the past two decades, CSKA is 19-2 in games in Germany with wins over four German clubs plus victories over FC Barcelona, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Fenerbahce Istanbul in Final Fours.
CSKA has many ties to German basketball on its roster, though not directly to Cologne. Johannes Voigtmann grew up in Eisenach in central Germany. Will Clyburn played his first two professional seasons in Ulm in the south of the country. And both Daniel Hackett and Janis Strelnieks spent time playing in Bamberg. Now Coach Dimitris Itoudis takes his battle-tested squad to Cologne as the club looks to continue strengthening its already close connection to Germany by winning its ninth continental championship in the country.
Seen at: Euroleague.net