Olympiacos Piraeus reached the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game five times in the past decade. The Reds dream of making it again this season, but, of course, the road won't be easy. Here's a look at five key games on that road for Olympiacos in 2020-21.
Round 1: Opening night vs. Zalgiris
One fascinating facet of the new-look EuroLeague, since the competition became a true league in 2016, is how new rivalries are evolving as teams face each other twice every season. Perhaps first and foremost among those are the tussles between Olympiacos and Zalgiris Kaunas, which defeated the Reds in a memorable playoff series in 2018 to spark the rivalry. Zalgiris was also a dominant winner when they last met, triumphing 94-69 in Kaunas in February, so Olympiacos will be out to prove a point in this season's opener.
Round 12: Facing an old friend in Moscow
Olympiacos will be reunited with one of its former heroes when it travels to the Russian capital to take on CSKA Moscow with Nikola Milutinov preparing to welcome his old club for the first time. Milutinov developed into one of the most dominant big men in Europe during his time with Olympiacos, which started in 2015 when he signed from Partizan Belgrade. He made 135 EuroLeague appearances for the Reds and last season was on track to be his best yet, averaging 10.3 points and a league-best 8.2 rebounds per game. Seeing him in opposing colors will take some getting used to for Olympiacos fans.
Round 14: Can it be 10 straight over Valencia?
Olympiacos will be looking forward to welcoming Valencia to Piraeus because the Spanish side has been a favored opponent for the Reds throughout this century. A pair of Olympiacos victories last season, 89-63 in Round 12 at home and 91-93 in Round 18 on the road, means the team now has a commanding 9-1 record all-time against Valencia. That includes an active nine-game winning streak as the only defeat came in their first-ever meeting way back in November 2003.
Round 24: The derby of the eternal enemies
The passion of European basketball will be on full view as Olympiacos opens up Peace and Friendship Stadium for this battle with arch-rival Panathinaikos. Both sets of fans were able to celebrate last season with the two meetings won by the home team, as Panathinaikos prevailed 99-93 in a Round 12 overtime thriller before Olympiacos gained revenge with an 81-78 victory just before the season ended early. Shaquielle McKissic was the hero for the Reds that night with 22 points and new stories are sure to be written in the latest installment of this intense rivalry.
Round 34: Hoping for a rocking finale
One of the best games last season was Olympiacos’s home meeting with Khimki in Round 14 when an explosion of offense saw the Reds win 109-98 after overtime. Regulation finished 96-96 as the Reds overturned a 9-point deficit in the last 90 seconds and Olympiacos dominated the extra session with Vassilis Spanoulis completing a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists. His ageless partner Georgios Printezis also excelled with 26 points. It would be greedy to expect more of the same when the sides meet again in the final round of the regular season, but here’s hoping!