After winning their Israeli league opener at Rishon LeZion, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv headed Monday to the Spanish capital to face Real Madrid in round 2 of the EuroLeague season. On paper, facing Pablo Laso's squad on the road is one of the toughest games of the European campaign.
On Thursday, the two teams will meet for the 59th time, and no two teams have met as often in European competitions as Real and Maccabi. The Blancos have won 10 European Championship titles, the most by any club.
Maccabi landed in Madrid late Monday evening. On Tuesday, the team had their annual video session and met with the EuroLeague players union. Before Yom Kippur, the group headed to practice at Fuenlabrada, a city half an hour away from the Spanish capital. The night following Yom Kippur, the team traveled to Fuelabrada to prepare for the game. Thursday morning, the team is scheduled to practice at the WiZink Center, Madrid's home court.
"We have a game against a very steady team that plays with an existing philosophy, the same core players and coach for the last couple of years", Said coach Giannis Sfairopoulos about Real Madrid. "We need to elevate our performance, stick to our gameplan, and control the pace of the game".
Yovel Zoosman talked about the upcoming game: "Madrid is a strong team, they have experienced players that play a lot of years together. We will try to execute the coach's gameplan in the best way possible and be aggressive throughout the game. We will do our best, hopefully taking advantage of our strengths".
Pablo Laso started his 9th season with the club, as he and his talented and experienced squad aspires to win it all every single year. Walter "Edy" Tavares (2.21 Meters) is one of the most dominant big man in the league, joined by newcomer Jordan Mickey that had a successful rookie campaign with Khimki Moscow. Closing out the frontcourt are Captain Felipe Reyes, Anthony Randolph, Jeffrey Taylor, Gabriel Deck, and keep an eye on 17-year-old Usman Garuba, one of the youngest rising stars in Europe.
In the backcourt, Facu Campazzo will lead the charge with the experienced Sergio Llull coming off the bench. Along them, Fabien Causeur, Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Laprovittola, and one of the league's most dangerous shooters Jaycee Carroll.
Real Madrid won both matchups against Maccabi last season. In November, the Blancos came out of Tel Aviv with an 87:66 win over Neven Spahija squad (Johnny O'Bryant 17 points). At the start of January, after a 44:44 at halftime, Real were able to come away with the victory 91:79 (Michael Roll 23 points).
Maccabi's last win in Madrid happened back in the 2009/10 season. It was an aggressive low scoring game that ended with a spectacular 30:19 comeback in the final quarter to get a 66:64 victory. Only six players scored for Maccabi that night, David Blu and D'or Fischer led the scorers with 13 points each, Chuck Eidson and Stephane Lasme 11 each, Doron Perkins contributed with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and Alan Anderson ended the night with 8 points together with 6 turnovers. On the other side, Sergio Llull finished as the top scorer with 14 points.