Can Kirishi make it at home?
Winners of the last two editions, a five-time runner-up and a rookie – this is how the composition of the Euro League Final Four looks like this season. Title-holder Sabadell (ESP) is the favourite once again, but host Kirishi (RUS) is seeking a win after five lost finals.
A brilliant semi-final will kick-off the two-day tournament: winners of the previous two editions, 2016 champion Sabadell and 2015 gold medallist Olympiacos (GRE) is to clash. They met in the final two years ago when the Greeks won 10-9 and something similar, a really close contest can be expected this time as it’s a virtual match of the Spanish and the Greek national team.
The other semis will see another mouth-watering encounter featuring host Kirishi and newcomer Mataro (ESP). Kirishi has a long history in the Final Fours, the Russians made it to the finals not less than five times but could never clinch the trophy. They were also part of the show on four more occasions, including two bronze medal showing in the last two years. Playing at home – altogether for the 10th time in the F4 – they are more determined than ever to go all the way.
It won’t be easy, however, as right in the semis last year’s LEN Trophy winner Mataro (ESP) awaits them and the other Spanish side made its mark in this season already by ousting last year’s runner-up UVSE Budapest (HUN) in the quarters.
All in all, it’s a four-horse race with almost equal chances – Sabadell can win the title for the fifth time in seven years, Olympiacos can return to the top after 2015, while Kirishi or Mataro would be a new winner in the cup’s history.
Euro League, Final Four – Kirishi (RUS)
CN Sabadell (ESP) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Kinef-Surgutneftegas Kirishi (RUS) v Mataro (ESP)
Bronze medal match