Greek teams in Thursday’s Euroleague draw had mixed fortunes ahead of the first group stage this fall, as holder Olympiakos will have a fairly easy group to negotiate while Panathinaikos will be up against more challenging opponents.
Both the Reds and the Greens have avoided the might of CSKA Moscow, Barcelona, Real Madrid or even Fenerbahce (to be coached by former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic) and are likely to proceed without problems to the second group stage, that is much more important for the future of the competition as it determines the shape of the playoffs that lead to the Final Four.
Olympiakos will face Montepaschi Siena of Italy, Unicaja Malaga of Spain, Galatasaray of Turkey, Zielona Gora of Poland and Bayern Munich of Germany.
Panathinaikos will be in the same group as Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel, Laboral Kutxa of Spain, Lokomotiv Kuban of Russia, Red Star Belgrade of Serbia and a qualifier out of the eight teams that will fight it out in September for a place in the group stage.
The top four of each group of six teams advance to the top-16 of the Euroleague. The Final Four of the competition will not take place in London as originally planned, but in Milan.
On Thursday Olympiakos coach Giorgos Bartzokas collected his Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year award after leading the Reds to their second consecutive Euroleague triumph in spring in his first year on their bench.