A rematch from the last Final Four, a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague home debut, a first-time Russian derby and a showdown between the reigning and most-crowned continental champions will give fans all they could wish for sooner than ever in the first round of the new 2021-22 season!
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The initial steps on the season include five games on Thursday, September 30, marking the very first time this century that Europe's most elite teams play official games before October.
The honor of opening the new season with that night's first tipoff will belong to a unique EuroLeague debutant, AS Monaco. Last season's 7DAYS EuroCup champion, representing a French Riviera principality of fewer than 40,000 inhabitants, will host a neighbor from across the Mediterranean, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, whose six continental titles are the most of Final Four era. It will be the first game ever between them.
Later that night, AX Armani Exchange Milan hosts CSKA Moscow in a rematch of their third-place game at the 2021 Final Four in Cologne, Germany. After both had lost late in the semifinals, Milan snatched its first Final Four victory this century in their consolation game against CSKA, the club with more Final Four appearances, 19, than any other in history.
Six more teams start their seasons that same Thursday, with last season's runner-up, FC Barcelona, hosting German champion ALBA Berlin, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv hosting FC Bayern Munich and Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz visiting Olympiacos Piraeus in the 43rd edition of one of the most prolific international rivalries in basketball.
Four more Round 1 games fall on Friday, October 1, starting with two Russian opponents who have never before met on the EuroLeague stage, UNICS Kazan and visiting Zenit St Petersburg. It will be the first national derby of 14 that pepper the regular season calendar going forward.
The first games of the season in Turkey and France come next, with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul hosting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade while LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne takes on visiting Zalgiris Kaunas.
The opening round ends with a Friday night thriller as Real Madrid, the most decorated club in EuroLeague history, welcoming first-time and reigning champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul to the Spanish capital in their 38th meeting together this century.
The anticipation will be building for the next three months until the day that all 18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague giants take their first steps on the stairway to glory that awaits them!