By Alexandros Priftis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The great effort of the “eternal rivals” has bore fruit and both Greek teams will have the chance – taking advantage of the home court advantage factor – to be in the Final Four in Istanbul… at the same time. Something that has happened another two times in the modern history of the EuroLeague (from the 2000-2001 season onwards), once in Berlin in 2009 and once in Istanbul in 2012.
Both those times that Greece had double representation in the Final Four, the trophy was… painted in Greek colors (Panathinaikos in Berlin, Olympiacos in Istanbul). Eurohoops searched through the modern history of the EuroLeague and presents to you the qualifications for the Final Four by country, whether through the process of the playoffs or that of the Top 8.
The Greek consistency in the Final Four
From 2001 until now, Greece has 11 (in total) appearances in Final Fours, with Panathinaikos having 6 and Olympiacos 5. This places them 3rd on the relevant table, under Spain, who are in 1st place, and Russia, who are featured in 2nd thanks to CSKA Moscow. Overall, 14 teams from 7 different countries have managed to be included in the top 4 teams in the EuroLeague from 2001 onwards.
Spanish power and the Army Team
Spain has managed to have 17 representatives in these top encounters, with Barcelona (who have already been knocked out this year) having reached the Final Four 7 times, and Baskonia (previously as Tau and Laboral Kutxa) following with 5. Then there is Real Madrid, who count 4 appearances among the top 4 teams in Europe, while Unicaja Malaga also have one appearance.
The Iberians, then, hold the lead in the relevant list, showing that they have the know-how in qualifying series… in the quarterfinal stages.
After Spain, there’s Russia, who has been represented 14 times in the Final Four, with the active European champions, CSKA Moscow, being the main – almost sole – worthy ambassador of Russian basketball! The ‘army’s team’ has appeared in the Final Four 13 times, dominating the EuroLeague playoffs most of the times they’ve taken part. Lokomotiv Kuban have only one appearance, which – to a great degree – they owe to Georgios Bartzokas, who led them to last year’s encounter in Berlin, which was the first appearance in the team’s history.
The “people’s team” and… the rest
Maccabi is Israel’s greatest export in sports. The… people’s team has reached the Final Four 7 times, the last one being in 2014 (they won the trophy) in Milan, when they knocked out the hosts, Armani, without even having the home court advantage.
Italy has been on a downward path in recent years, especially after… Siena’s dissolution. The once mighty Montepaschi have gone all the way 4 times, out of the country’s total of 8, while Benetton and the two teams from Bologna make up Italy’s quartet. The last appearance for the Italians was in Barcelona in 2011.
Lastly, Turkey, who host the appointments of the four best teams of Europe’s top club competition this year, saw one of their representatives, Fenerbahce, take part in a Final Four for the first time in 2015 in Madrid, while Zots’s team was once again present one year later in Berlin.
Partizan Belgrade, on the other hand, have only one representation (2010) of Serbian basketball.
A detailed table containing the qualifications for the EuroLeague’s Final Four.
|Country||Final 4 qualifications||Teams|
|Spain||17||Barcelona (7), Baskonia (5), Real Madrid (4), Unicaja Mallaga (1)|
|Russia||14||CSKA Moskow (13), Lokomotiv Kuban (1)|
|Greece||11||Panathinaikos (6), Olympiacos (5)|
|Italy||8||Siena (4), Benetton Trevizo (2), Fortitudo Bologna (1), Virtus Bologna (1)|
|Israel||7||Maccabi Tel Aviv (7)|