The end of the decade

He Madrid and Olympiacos, the two most consistent teams in excellence for over a decade, They discuss today, in the fantastic Zalgirio Arena (7:00 p.m., Dazn), who should sit again on the old throne of Europe. We attended the most repeated final ever in the history of the European Cup, up to four times. The same ones that Madrid and Varese fought for the title in the 70s. A very difficult perseverance to see in the elite for so long, because the Real is hunting this afternoon for its eleventh Euroleague in its twentieth final after having played six of the last ten. A second golden age of merengue basketball started by Laso and now you want to continue successfully Chus Mateo, more merit than we have given him. Going for his third trophy of the last eight that went on display. Routine very similar to the one they live in Piraeus, where they stack two glasses (three in total: 1997, 2012 and 2013) and five finals of the last eleven and have managed to overcome the goodbye of Spanoulis and Printezis.

The best without discussion, although they still have walls to tear down, because in sport there are curses that haunt you and each one looks at his own face to face. Olympiacos is harassed by the fact that the champion of the regular phase always stumbles on a stone. Madrid is concerned that the winner of the Classic in the semifinals never lifted the trophy. Will the fifth be the charm…?

Leaving history aside, the course has been dominated by Olympiacos in qualifying and in direct duels, in which they have added the two wins. In the WiZink, in the first leg, Sloukas played it to Tavares in a penetration three seconds from the buzzer with a feint included and then Edy could not beat the post in express action to Fall (87-89). And in Peace and Friendship There was only red color (73-60) with Walkup (18 points) and Vezenkov (15) outstanding.

“A basketball machine”in the mouth of Chus Mateo, a rival capable of playing many things and all of them well, very courteous and mobile with a large, physical and talented squad, with varied registers with Vezenkov as MVP of the season and Sloukas as leaderthe spiritual heir to Spanoulis, on the hunt for his fourth EuroLeague in his ninth Final Four. A great Walkup in the direction, to guide and to attack defending, he even discussed the award for best defender of the year for Tavares himself. On the wings, the shooting of Canaan and Larentzakis, the attacks of McKissic (key piece more times than it seems) and the strength of Papanikolaou, very important in the comeback against AS Monaco, at 27-2 in the third actand that without Deck he will be more comfortable.

And inside… a battery to sneak into any adventure: the little hand of Alec Peters, the power of Tarik Black and Bolomboy, and an anti-Tavares, Moustapha Fall, of 2.18 m, the second best big player, and we mean giant, from the competition. “He is my size and he does many of the things that I do, I know he is going to cost me,” says the center. Mateo underlines “his knowledge of the game and passing ability”. The casualties of Yabusele and Poirier are painful there. Again, full demand for Hezonja, who has not dropped from outstanding in recent weeks. The Eleventh waits in Kaunas. Madrid is not a favourite; but it is the one of feats. The last miracle.

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Olympiacos will have 1,500 more fans in the stands

The ardent fans of Olympiacoswho are giving everything through the streets of Kaunas with their songs, but in very good harmony with those of the other teams, dyed the stands of the Zalgirio Arena red in the semifinals, with capacity for more than 15,000 spectators. His presence pushed his team in the comeback of the third quarter, with that already historic partial record of 27-2. There were more than 4,000 fans, a great support, which will increase in the final against Madrid.

Comrades from the Greek press inform us that The arrival of four charter flights and 1,500 more followers is expected to try to push Bartzokas’ men towards the title. A difficult landing, since flights from Athens are neither easy nor cheap. The ticket on the chartered planes for the occasion is around 800 euros (entrance is separate). Others have found flights on their own and some will even do the crazy thing to travel by road, more than 2,500 kilometers and almost 30 hours of travel. The number of followers of Madrid will not vary much. Against Barça, on Friday, there were about 300.

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