Pete Mickeal / FOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

The two teams met in the semi finals of the Euroleague in all of 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2010, and are both 4-0 in their first phase group. The Russians are on a 14-0 streak in home games in the Euroleague, while Barça have the best defensive stats in the continent, with 62.8 points leaked a game. Barça Regal and CSKA meet again on Thursday in Moscow in one of the finest games of the competition so far between two of the prime candidates to lift the trophy (17.00, Esport3).

The respective coaches, Pascual and Messina, both agree that this game has all the makings of a Final Four fixture. The Barça Regal boss can once again select Pete Mickeal, who has missed three games with a pulled muscle. He said before the game that “we are looking to build up a solid winning streak.”

Quality and consolidated squad

CSKA has an especially potent roster this year, with the likes of Teodosic, Weems, Khryapa and Krstic. Sonny Weems of the US was designated MVP in the Euroleague last month, and is their top scorer with 19.8 points a game, while Viktor Khryapa tops the rebound stats with seven a game.

Milos Teodosic and former Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao Basket man Aaron Jackson lead the play. Vladimir Micov, Drew Nicholas, Dionte Navidad and Anton Ponkrashov complete the exterior line-up, while the main men on the paint are the aforesaid Nenad Krstic and the huge Sasha Kaun. There are plenty of reasons to enjoy what has become a classic of European basketball in recent years.