Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv opens the double EuroLeague clash against Real Madrid as part of the 9th fixture of the 2020/21 season (Wednesday, 19:30, live on Sport5 - channel 55). Othello Hunter, who got hit in the face against Anadolu, will be available to the coaching staff after fitting a special mask and will fly with the Yellow & Blue to the pair of games against Madrid and Valencia on Friday. On the other hand, Omri Casspi, John DiBartolomeo, and Yovel Zoosman will fly with the team but won't be available.
"We have to continue the momentum we built last week against a Real team that has quality and experience as one of the top European teams in the past couple of seasons", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos before the matchup. "We need to go out, fight hard, play well defensively, and smart offensively. I expect our players to show our character on both ends of the court and play the style of game we've implemented since I arrived here in Maccabi".
"Maybe they can play, who knows…" Joked Sfairopoulos about the reasoning behind bringing Casspi, Zoosman, and DiBartolomeo on the trip to Spain. "They won't play, but they're in their last part of the preparations. We are going for five days, so I wanted the whole team together during this period. I'd like them to be around the active roster, and they also need to practice, so we decided it would be better for their progress to come with us and follow the team. Also, psychologically we will be all together fighting for every game no matter which competition making our supporters happy".
"We are preparing to Real, we aren't even looking at our next game, Told Oz Blayzer about the mindset coming into the double European clash. "We are focused on flying to this game, going out, and winning the game on Wednesday. It could be a big win for us, which will bring us back to the possession we'd like to be at. Our focus is 100% towards this game".
In his third season under the Yellow & Blue, Angelo Caloiaro spoke about what the team can do to defeat their Spanish counterparts: "Real is a really good team, and they're especially tough to beat at home. Still, we started to prepare yesterday by watching film, going over the game plan, and we've got to continue to get better ourselves, that's the most important thing. I think we took a big step with that last Thursday, and we need to continue it, so that would be a great test for us".
"Shooting always helps, but it really comes down to defense", Emphasized the American forward. "We shot great from three in the Efes game, but we still lost, and versus Zalgiris, we shot great from three and won, but if we would have shot horribly against them, we would still probably win after winning almost by, and that was because of our defense. So that's where we need to improve, and now that's our biggest difference from last year, as our defense was superior to it is right now".