This weekend in Madrid the basketball Euroleague 2014/2015 Final Four will be played. Today, Friday, May 15, there will be the semifinals and on Sunday, May 17, there will be the finals. Let’s see which teams will be the protagonists.
I could repeat what I wrote last year about the fact that CSKA Moscow is favorite to win the title but the players must forget the recent years’ disappointments. It’s at its ninth Final Four in the last ten editions but hasn’t won the Euroleague since 2007. In the semifinals the team is facing Olympiakos Piraeus, which gave the Russian team some of the major disappointments in recent years. Basically, it’s the favorite but more than ever the players’ mental attitude will make a difference.
After defeating Barcelona, one of the favorite teams to win the Euroleague, in the quarterfinals, Olympiakos Piraeus clearly wants to take back the title already won in 2012 and 2013. It’s a team with very talented players who have also great experience of this competition. It’s the underdog in the semifinal against CSKA Moscow but if it won it that wouldn’t be such a great surprise.
It’s the home team and played a Euroleague so far at the limits of perfection but the Final Four are another thing. Real Madrid is the favorite in the semi-final against Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul but like CSKA Moscow the Spanish team must forget the recent years’ disappointments. It has the potential to win the Euroleague but must be able to leverage the support of the home crowd to play these Final Four the best way.
Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul
It’s a rookie team to the Final Four but it reached them defeating 3-0 the now former champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals and has as its coach Zeljko Obradovic, the most successful in the history of the Euroleague. I think Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul will have to play a perfect semifinal to beat Real Madrid, almost a mission impossible even if the talent is there. It would be a big upset if the team won the Euroleague.
In the Final Four games are do-or-die so often the ability to withstand the pressure is more important than technique. The competitive spirit is exasperated but there are always emotions.