Week by week, day by day, we try to forecast the ‘must-watch’ games in the Euroleague Regular season for 2014/15. If you are feeling particularly evil, feel free to bookmark this and come back to mock us after Week 10.
The rules here are pretty simple. I get to pick one game for each night of Euroleague play this year except for Round 10 where I pick one for each group as the dates aren’t decided yet. Priority on how it will affect qualification placing trumps clash of big clubs, and I need to avoid reverse fixtures wherever possible. Let’s do this.
16 October – Valencia vs Olympiacos
I was tempted to herald the return of Limoges here seeing as they are taking on the reigning champs but this is a game between an established power in Olympiacos and a team that won EuroCup last season and is trying to establish itself as a legitimate third force in Spain.
17 October – Fenerbahce vs Olimpia Milano
On the one hand we have a team that enters every year with a heap of expectation and tends to under-perform. On the other a team that exceeded expectations, fell away in spring, and just about managed to take its domestic title. Fener have reloaded, as per usual, Milano appear to have done the opposite. This game could set an early tone.
23 October – CSKA Moscow vs Maccabi Elektra Tel Aviv
Because, well, duh.
24 October – Limoges vs Cedevita Zagreb
Eugh this was a tough day to call and not because of an abundance of hot match-ups. Limoges make their home return to EL action, Cedevita should prove interesting and a road win would be big for them here.
30 October – Panathinaikos vs Fenerbahce
This was the type of game Fener lost last year, can they set a marker reasonably early in the season? Admittedly, early markers haven’t been their issue but it’s Obradovic in the OAKA so I’m sold.
31 October – EL QR winner vs Dinamo Sassari
It’s only week 3 and we don’t know who one of the teams even is yet, stop screaming UNICS you know the QR tends to be wacky, but it’s hard to see how this game isn’t of major importance for both sides in the battle for a Top 16 slot.
5 November – Real Madrid vs Dinamo Sassari
It’s literally the only game on so it wins by default. Ah de fault, the two sweetest words in the English language.
6 November – Panathinaikos vs Olimpia Milano
I was very tempted to pick Fener for a third week out of four but this mini-homestand of Panathinaikos could be the story of the regular season, especially in a proper group of death.
7 November – Valencia vs Saski Baskonia
I was tempted to go ALBA vs Limoges here but the all ACB affair in Group D should start to show us how teams there will jockey for position.
13 November – FC Bayern vs Fenerbahce
Right, if it wasn’t already obvious, Group C is the one to watch this season. Three must-see Fener games in five weeks sounds mad but, in the early going, it’s got a lot more to do with their opponents than the Istanbul club’s own fortunes.
14 November – Cedevita Zagreb vs ALBA Berlin
This screams of a game with impact on the fourth and final spot in the Top 16 out of Group B. Definitely one with big value for both clubs. Yes, I am aware I’m recommending this over Barcelona vs Panathinaikos. I regret nothing.
20 November – FC Bayern vs FC Barcelona
The two other games that may have topped this are reverse fixtures and a win here would be off the charts huge for Bayern’s qualification hopes.
21 November – Dinamo Sassari vs Nizhny Novgorod
This should have plenty of qualification implications for both sides, albeit situated right after the turn in the season. Probably the riskiest pick on this list.
27 November – Crvena Zvezda vs Neptunas
Group D isn’t really stacked and Neptunas could already be out of the running before we get to this stage but it seems likely to have some real value in the overall qualification picture.
28 November – FC Barcelona vs Olimpia Milano
Barca will be heavy favourites for this, they will be gunning for top spot in the group, and Milano could well be in need of an upset here to stay in the running.
3 December – Olimpia Milano vs FC Bayern
Only game, wins by default.
4 December – Nizhny Novgorod vs Real Madrid
Novgorod could be in potential to lock up a Top 16 spot or take command of the race for qualification if they pull off the home win here. Real will have ambitions on sealing top spot.
5 December – Galatasaray vs Saski Baskonia
The strongest game with the most qualification implications on a fairly weak night of action.
11 December – FC Bayern vs PGE Turow
It’s hard to see any way Turow are still relevant at this stage but this will surely be a must-win of must-win game for Bayern.
12 December – Anadolu Efes vs Nizhny Novgorod
It’s a fairly weak looking night, the best games are retreads, going to avoid that here and stick in a game which could carry qualification implications.
Group A – Zalgiris vs Dinamo Sassari
Of the three games here, this one is most likely to have an impact on who makes the Top 16.
Group B – ALBA Berlin vs Cedevita Zagreb
I finally broke the retread rule. This game has real potential to be a winner take all decider for the last Top 16 spot out of Group B.
Group C – Panathinaikos vs FC Barcelona
Despite being the most competitive group in the competition, the glamour tie here is the stand-out. It’s not unthinkable that Panathinaikos may still need a win, even if they don’t it could have an impact on Top 16 seeding.
Group D – Galatasaray vs Olympiacos
This could be a must-win game for Gala depending on how the season goes, especially after slashing their budget. Needing a win against a team with recent back-to-back titles? Yup, that’s enough drama to make the cut.
Those are my picks, tear into me now if you’re brave (this site appreciates bravery) or wait until the season starts to take shape and mock at your leisure.