FC Barcelona begin the second half of the Euroleague regular season in the always difficult court of Partizan Belgrade. Partizan and Barça have met eight times in Pionir Arena but Barça have only won twice, the last time being last season after extra time (67-68).
The two clubs have met a total of 17 times, with Barça having the slight advantage, 10-7. All matches, apart from the first two (which were in the Cup Winners Cup), have been in the Euroleague.
Barça go to Belgrade on the back of the defeat away to Bilbao Basket (80-72). The men coached by Xavi Pascual are still trying to digest the arrival of six new players this season. The game against Partizan is a good opportunity to recover the form shown in the last Euroleague match against Budivelnyk in Kiev.
Brad Oleson has been left behind in Barcelona while Erazem Lorbek has travelled with his team-mates for the first time this season and may get the chance to make his comeback. As Xavi Pascual explained in the last press conference before setting off for Belgrade, the Slovenian is fit enough to train with the squad and may well get a chance to taste action if only for a few minutes in Belgrade.
Partizan – who play in Europe’s 'Madison Square Garden' according to Bostjan Nachbar in the Euroleague blog – have lost their last two games. They crashed to a heavy defeat away to CSKA Moscow (88-46), while in the Adriatic League they lost at home to bitter rivals Red Star Belgrade (83-86), after extra time.
Despite this disappointing form, Partizan desperately need to win tonight after managing just one win in five so far in Europe. Coach Dusko Vujosevic has lost Frenchman Leo Westermann for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Bogdanovic, Kinsey and Lauvergne will have to shoulder much of the responsibility in this young Serbian side.