Every season, as soon as the calendar comes out, there are certain games that fans circle on the calendar and rush to buy tickets for. With one of the biggest domestic basketball rivalries in the world to count on, plus several international ones that have intensified over the years, Olympiacos Pireaus fans have plenty of options to choose from, including these five that are sure to whet their appetite!
Round 7: True international rivals
With 38 games played between each other this century, Olympiacos vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul is one of the most prolific international rivalries in the sport. Efes is coming off its first Final Four in more than 15 years, but had to wait to get there because of Olympiacos, the winner in their two Game 5s this decade. In 2013, Olympiacos rallied from 16 points behind to win 82-72 and go on to win the EuroLeague title. In 2017, Efes led their series 2-1, but the Reds won Game 4 on the road and Game 5 at home to return to the Final Four. Last season, they split home victories, and when the dust settled, Olympiacos missed the playoffs for just the second time in 14 seasons, replaced by Efes.
Round 8: A chance for revenge
If one team has stopped Olympiacos from reaching greater heights in the last two years, it's Zalgiris. In the 2017-18 season, Zalgiris took their regular season finale in Piraeus and returned to win Game 1 of the playoffs on the way to the club's first Final Four appearance since 1999. Last season, Olympiacos and Zalgiris met again at Peace and Frienship Stadium in Regular Season Round 29. Again, Zalgiris took a road win that proved the key to making its playoffs return and to leaving Olympiacos on the outside looking in. There are a lot of reasons for Olympiacos fans to want to push their team to victory in this one.
Round 12: The eternal derby
Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos is one of the great sporting rivalries on the planet. Olympiacos fans had this date circled the second their hands held the calendar. The Greek derby is played with the intensity of a championship game, point by point, possession by possession. The winner will immediately gain momentum and the loser will need to recover from having spent a lot of emotion in vain. Besides all the history, tradition and passion you can ask for in a legendary sports rivalry, these games are potential season-changers for both teams – another reason why they are so fascinating.
Round 24: Here come the champs!
Olympiacos and CSKA have a great rivalry, too, especially over the last decade. They have met four times in Final Fours, including the 2012 championship game and the 2013, 2015 and 2017 semifinals. Olympiacos won all of those games behind inspired performances from Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis. Things are very different when it comes to regular season action, however. CSKA has won eight of their last nine showdowns, defeating Olympiacos 69-65 in Moscow and 81-97 in Piraeus last season. Both teams have extra motivation whenever they meet.
Round 30: A visit from Real
Two of three championship game showdowns between Olympiacos and Real Madrid have come in the last decade. In 2013, Olympiacos rallied from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to top Real 100-88 for the title. Vassilis Spanoulis had all of his 22 points in the second half and was chosen Final Four MVP for the third time in his career. In 2015, Real topped Olympiacos 78-59 as Andres Nocioni earned Final Four MVP honors. Last season, Olympiacos managed to defeat Real 88-83 at home, but Real had the final word, downing Olympiacos 94-78 in the Spanish capital. Their second game this season will come in the hot heat of the playoffs race.