Two teams coming off painful losses in Round 11 will square off in Russia when Khimki Moscow Region welcomes FC Barcelona. Khimki is riding a three-game losing streak, the last one coming at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 89-76. Barcelona saw its winning streak snapped at home against CSKA Moscow with a stunning 67-96 defeat. Both teams will be looking to get back on the winning track as soon as possible. Alexey Shved, who missed the last game for Khimki, is expected to play against Barcelona.
Anthony Gill and Nikola Mirotic are forwards enjoying excellent seasons for their respective teams. Gill starts most games for Khimki and has averaged 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds. Mirotic has been the main reference for Barcelona all season with 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Little by little, the rivalry between Khimki and Barcelona is reaching a noticeable level. These two sides have faced each other eight times in the EuroLeague and Barcelona has controlled the series 2-6. Last season, Barca won both games during the regular season. The Catalan team also beat Khimki in Moscow in 2017-18.
Keys to victory: Khimki
After a solid start to the season, Khimki has dropped four of its last six games. Despite being in not such a sweet moment right now, the hosts still have the fourth-best offense in the league (84.7 ppg.) but also the second-weakest defense (85.6 ppg.). The main task for Khimki will be on defense trying to limit the offensive talent that Barcelona boasts. The visitors are also third-best in rebounds, so that will go hand in hand with defense for Khimki if it wants to protect its home floor against the team in second place.
Keys to victory: Barcelona
Barcelona is having a pretty good season but suffered another tough blow last week at home and it will have to demonstrate that it is a solid team by bouncing back swiftly. The team certainly has the talent to do that, but Khimki has better shooting percentages from all ranges, so the visitors will have to make sure to deny the opponent open shots. Khimki has better numbers on almost all fronts, but Barcelona has a higher PIR average. Efficiency could be the key to steal a win from Russia.
Petr Gubanov and Timofey Mozgov are still out with injuries. Evgeny Valiev will spend the rest of the season in Parma Perm on loan.