For the very first time London plays host to Euroleague’s final stages starting Friday.
CSKA Moscow and Olyimpiakos will battle it out in the semi-finals in a rematch of last year’s final which the Greeks won by one point while the other last four tie is a mouth-watering Spanish classico affair between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Olympiacos guard Vassilis Spanoulis was awarded the competition’s most valuable player award ahead of the semis as his side continues its title defense.
He said: “For us and for everybody it is well known that when you win the trophy, the next year is the most difficult. The main thing is that we are here again and that is a big thing for us.”
For the Russians of CSKA, a rematch against Olympiacos could help erase the painful memories of last year’s showpiece match in Istanbul.
CSKA centre Nenad Krstic said: “I have never been in this kind of situation that I lost the finals, and then I am coming back again and playing the same team. Definitely, just playing the Final Four you feel lots of pressure, so I don’t know if is extra pressure, but it is a lot of pressure, definitely.”
Real Madrid continue their bid for a record-extending tenth title against Barca who are hunting their third crown and first since 2010.
Both semis take place on Friday at the O2 Arena with the final on Sunday