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FC Barcelona face Liga ACB rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the EuroLeague Final Four this Thursday at 9.00pm CEST.
The venue is the Štark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia, and the game will be played immediately after the conclusion of the other semi between Olympiacos of Greece and Anadolu Efes of Turkey.
The rivalry between Barça and Madrid needs no introduction. Real Madrid have ten European titles to their name including those of 2015 and 2018, while Barça can only boast two. However, since Šarūnas Jasikevičius has been head coach, Barça have very much had the upper hand, with an 11-3 record overall and 5-1 balance across all competitions in 2021/22.
Looking to make up for the disappointment of losing the championship game to Anadolu Efes last season, the eighth time that they have had to make do with the runners-up spot, the Catalans go into the game with a full squad including the welcome return of Cory Higgins.
They go into this one after winning a tight quarter final series with Bayern Munich 3-2 and after ending the regular domestic season with a win at Manresa.
Speaking ahead of the game, Saras said that “a Clásico in the Final Four is no more important than any other game at this stage but the previous results this seasons won’t make any difference … We need to keep errors to a minimum. The smallest gift could leave you out of the competition.”
The side coached by Pablo Laso have hit good form ahead of the trip to Belgrade and fast-tracked their way through the quarter finals with a 3-0 sweep of Israeli side Maccabi. Madrid are no strangers to the Final Four but missed out on a place in Cologne last year. This year they are back and with a roster that’s choc-a-bloc with players that have plenty of experience of such occasions.
Barça’s only defeat in six meetings with the all-whites so far this season was 83-88 in the Spanish Super Cup.
The sides also met twice in the EuroLeague regular season, twice in the Liga Endesa regular season and once in the Copa del Rey, and Barça were victorious every time.
The most recent of those encounters was on April 10 at the Palau Blaugrana, with Barça winning 108-97. Here’s a reminder of what happened:
Head to Head at Final Four
The Final Four has had three previous Clásico clashes. The first was in Paris in 1996, with Barça winning 76-66 but going on to lose to Panathinaikos in the final.
But the two most recent meetings have both been disappointments for culers.
In 2013 at the O2 Arena in London, Real Madrid won 67-74 and in Milan a year later they won by the monstrous margin of 100-62. On both occasions, however, Madrid would ultimately miss out on the trophy.
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