Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv faces Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in Menora Mivtachim Arena as part of the 12th EuroLeague fixture (Thursday, 21:00, Live on Sport5 - Channel 55). The Yellow & Blue hold a 3:8 European record and come in after a domestic league win over Nahariya, while the Serbians won four games in 11 EuroLeague games.
Omri Casspi returns to Giannis Sfairopoulos's squad for the first time since November 2019 as the veteran forward will play under a minute restriction. Last season, Red Star Belgrade was the first team to appear in Tel Aviv as Maccabi came away with an 84:69 win in front of a full Menora Mivtachim Arena.
"We're up against a team that fights hard in every game they've played this season, and we'll need to play our game, be very aggressive defensively, and stop the way they attack the basket on their offensive possessions", Said head coach Giannis Sfairopoulos at the pregame press conference before the matchup. "Offensively, we need to do our job by reading their defense and finding ways of moving the ball and playing together as a team. Now it's our time to step up, show ourselves, and each player needs to be ready to fight hard".
"After a long stretch, I'm happy to return and compete in the EuroLeague, I've been waiting for this moment", Explained Omri Casspi, the excitement before his first EuroLeague action since November of 2019. "We have a great group of guys, coaches, and the club gives us support for everything. I really believe in this team. We've had a lot of bad luck this season, and it's wasn't addressed enough that important pieces of the rotation were out due to injuries".
Angelo Caloiaro added his take about the opponent: "They're going to be tough. They are a very talented group who beat Milano, they're good, and we are struggling right now to finish games. We've been playing well but haven't been able to finish, so we have to turn the corner. Maybe we're a little bit more familiar with them having five players played in the Israeli League. Still, at the end of the day, our coaches are watching tons of games from this season, so they're updated about those players whether they played in the domestic League or not".