With swords drawn, Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade meet in the fifth game of the EuroLeague quarterfinals.The Serbians won the two previous matches at the Wizink Centre, while Los Blancos evened the series in Belgrade. Now they return to Madrid, the scene of the fierce battle of the second game, in a match with a lot at stake: a ticket to the EuroLeague Final Four.
Real Madrid, aiming for the greatest comeback ever
The team that never gives up, the team of comebacks. “90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabéu are very long,” but also “40 minutes at the Wizink.” Real Madrid has become used to comebacks, and basketball is part of the deal. Chus Mateo’s team lit up and wrapped the series in the inferno of the Belgrade Arena after trailing 0-2 in the series. If Real Madrid defeats Partizan, they will be the first team in EuroLeague history to come back from a two-game deficit. But if there is a squad capable of doing so, it is Real Madrid.
The series has had it all for Madrid. Games lost in the final seconds, Tavares’ injury and comeback, a brawl that resulted in players being suspended… But even so, they are alive with just one spot left to cover for the decisive game: the ‘4’. Mateo will have to devise some strategies to put together a competitive team without Gabriel Deck and Poirier, who are both injured, and Yabusele, who is still suspended.
The threat is on the bench
Partizan Belgrade, on the other hand, arrives with slightly lower spirits. They held a 2-0 lead after the second game and were playing at home in the Belgrade Arena, which normally puts a lot of pressure on the opposing club. Partizan may be terrified of finally obtaining the biggest prize of their lives after 13 years without reaching the Final Four… but they have a killer on the bench: their coach.
Zeljko Obradovic is not your average guy. With the exception of an Olympic gold medal, the former player and currently coach of Partizan has won nearly every title available in his basketball career. His passion for the EuroLeague extends much further: He has won 20 of 21 playoff series and nine EuroLeagues, three of which he won in his first three seasons as a coach. A genius on the bench who threatens to ruin Real Madrid’s party.
In addition, Partizan has Kevin Punter back. The American with a Serbian passport received a two-game suspension for his actions in the series’ second game, which he served in Belgrade. As a result, Punter is now available for this “final” that will determine the fate of both sides.
Real Madrid, favorite for betting houses
Although at first glance it seems to be one of the most evenly matched games of the season, betting houses value the momentum achieved in the last games of the series. Real Madrid is ahead, with odds of £1,45, approximately. Partizan victory is seen as something more distant, with odds of £2,55.
However, everything indicates that the game will be of the highest level, with an exciting duel between two of the most important clubs on the continent. Basketball at the highest level in order to keep dreaming of playing in the coveted EuroLeague.