KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz enters the 2020-21 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season as the reigning Spanish League champion for the first time in 10 years. It will try to use that confidence boost for yet another strong season; Baskonia has not missed the EuroLeague Playoffs since 2015. Here are five key games for Baskonia's fans to look forward to.
Round 6: A Barcelona-sized test
Baskonia will take on FC Barcelona at Fernando Buesa Arena on October 30. It will be a special game for Baskonia Coach Dusko Ivanovic, who manned the sidelines in Barcelona for three seasons. Adam Hanga and Thomas Heurtel also played for Baskonia for several seasons. It is a rematch of last season's Spanish League championship game, which went down to the final shot, adding even more spice to this very exciting showdown.
Round 12: Efes awaits
Baskonia did not visit Anadolu Efes Istanbul last season and will have the opportunity to snap a four-game losing streak against the Turkish powerhouse on December 4. It will be a motivated opponent, three Efes players have worn Baskonia's jersey in the past: Rodrigue Beaubois, Tibor Pleiss and Shane Larkin, who will be ready to pull the trigger from all angles.
Round 18: The return of Shengelia
It will start with a standing ovation. Toko Shengelia was Baskonia's team captain last season after wearing the team jersey with a lot of pride for six consecutive campaigns. A 2017-18 All-EuroLeague First Team selection, Shengelia finished his stint in Vitoria-Gasteiz in style by lifting the Spanish League trophy after his final game with Baskonia. Expect a warm welcome before a big basketball battle on January 8.
Round 31: Milan's familiar faces
It may be a key game in the playoff race when Baskonia welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan on March 26, right before the final two-round week of the regular season. Baskonia will only have one more home game against mighty Efes. Milan arrives with three former Baskonia players: Shavon Shields, Michael Roll and Vladimir Micov and has only defeated Baskonia at Buesa Arena in one of its last five visits. Expect a hard-fought showdown.
Round 34: A tough finale in Valencia
It is never easy to play at La Fonteta, where Valencia Basket is at its best. Doing it in the final regular-season date, on April 8, may be even more difficult. Valencia could be playing to stay in the competition led by Baskonia legend Fernando San Emeterio. There is a lot of history between these two teams, so whether it is a high-pressure game or not in terms of reaching the playoffs, expect great intensity in what could be a critical contest for both sides.