ESRA – Efes, Fener vie for top spot Galatasaray faces moment of truth

Efes, Fener vie for top spot Galatasaray faces moment of truthAnadolu Efes meets six-time Euroleague winner Real Madrid in the final match of the regular season, where the winner will get the top spot in Group A, while elsewhere Fenerbahe ulker will try its chances at the first place of Group C, should it prevail over Bayern Munich on Thursday.Unlike its fellow Turkish league sides, Galatasaray has not secured a place in the Top 16.

In fact, Ergin Atamanandrsquos side will lose it all unless it nails a victory over Greek powerhouse Olympiacos Piraeus at home behind closed doors or bottom-placed Valencia Basket defeats Neptunas Klaipeda at the very least on Thursday night.Efes has thus far seen six wins and three defeats.

Real Madrid has one more victory in its nine games. The Istanbul club lost to Nizhny Novgorod, which is battling for a spot in the knockout stage, last week in front of its home crowd.

In an epic game for the club, Efes edged Real Madrid 75-73 at home in their round-five clash.Efes coach Dusan Ivkovic expects a better performance from his team in its round 10 game.

andldquoWe have one good experience against them and scored more transition points than Real Madrid in our first game in Istanbul,andrdquo he said in his remarks that appeared on the competitionandrsquos website. He noted that Efesandrsquo key to success will be controlling the tempo, preventing Real Madrid from scoring easily and stopping Sergio Rodriguez dishing out assists.

Ivkovic will hope Spanish guard Rodriguez misses out on action in Madrid on Thursday as he did in the two previous encounters with his side due to an injury. Rodriguez is the fifth best in assists, averaging 59 per game in the regular season of the competition.

Efes will try to stop Madrid top scorer Sergio Llull to boost its chances on the road. Ivkovic will rely on his youngsters Cedi Osman, who netted a career-high 16 points in the previous Real Madrid match, and Furkan Korkmaz in this important match.

The Istanbul club will definitely need Dario Saric, Stephane Lasme and Milko Bjelica at their finest form to win in Madrid.In Istanbul, an upbeat Fenerbahe ulker, fresh from a sensational road win over Barcelona last week, will try to repeat its previous success over Bayern Munich on the road and trash the Germans in front of their home audience on Thursday.

A home win plus Panathinaikos defeating Group C leader Barcelona will hand Zeljko Obradovicandrsquos team the group lead and a morale boost in the round of Top 16. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, has nothing to lose and has already lost their chances for the knockout stage.

Obradovic will rely on Andrew Goudelock, should his main concern be seeing his side winning their sixth consecutive game.Do or die for GalatasarayAlso on Thursday, Galatasaray Liv Hospital is likely to have a stressful night rather than an entertaining one since all the chances of the club to go through in the competition will probably depend on a win over Greek powerhouse Olympiacos.

Ergin Atamanandrsquos men are on a three-match losing run in the Euroleague and will hope to see off Olympiacos with its young players since the Greeks have already secured the top spot of Group DAtaman will count on top scorer Zoran Erceg displaying his best tricks against his former team His other weapon will be forward Vladimir Micov, in addition to Puerto Rican star Carlos Arroyo.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman