The fans of all four teams headed to Vitoria-Gasteiz think that their team can bring home the trophy -- and they're right! Its unpredictability is what makes the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four so dramatic. Here are five reasons to believe in Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul!
1. The master
Zeljko Obradovic. Need we say more? Okay, a few words more: Fenerbahce is led by a man who has won more EuroLeague titles than any other coach, nine in total with five different clubs. He has also won 16 domestic league titles and 14 cups. Quite simply, this is a man who knows how to win and who knows how to win big games with different teams in different circumstances. With the peerless Obradovic on the sidelines, it's blindingly obvious that Fenerbahce always has a chance. A big chance.
2. Already the best
Fenerbahce has already proven itself to be the best team in Europe this season, topping the regular season standings with a highly-impressive 25-5 record. Obradovic's men showed ruthless consistency and all-around excellence all over the court, combining the best defense in the competition (74.6 points allowed per game) with a smoothly efficient offense (58.9% of two-pointers and 43.4% of three-pointers converted). By topping the standings, you could say that Fenerbahce has already 'won' this EuroLeague once...now it just needs to do so again.
3. Dealing with injuries
Although the Turkish champion has approached the Final Four hindered by injury problems, that was also the case at various stages of the regular season...and it never seemed to matter. In Round 10, for example, Fenerbahce traveled to Barcelona with three experienced backcourt stars - Kostas Sloukas, Melih Mahmutoglu and Sinan Guler - all absent, but still rolled to a 65-84 road win, inflicting one of just three regular-season home losses upon Barcelona. Thanks to its depth of talent and Obradovic's genius gameplans, injuries do not present an insurmountable problem for Fenerbahce.
4. Unsung heroes
With Obradovic's team ethic to the fore, no other team can match the ability of every player on the Fenerbahce roster to produce game-winning moments. Sloukas and Jan Vesely were the season's top performers for the team, both earning selection into the All-EuroLeague First Team, but many more – including Marko Guduric and Ali Muhammed – have delivered big moments at key times. And maybe there will be a new and unexpected hero at the Final Four: young forward Egehan Arna revved up for the big event by scoring 51 points on 20 of 31 shooting in a domestic league victory last week. Time for a new star to be born?
5. The fans
Wherever Fenerbahce goes, Fenerbahce fans go too. And that will surely again be the case at the Final Four, with the yellow and blue hordes finding their way to reach Vitoria-Gasteiz en masse to give their team the same raucous support that has been evident at each of the last four Final Fours. Obviously, Fener fans have further to travel than Real Madrid supporters, who can reach the Fernando Buesa Arena in a comfortable drive from home. But it would be unwise to bet against Fenerbahce being the best-supported team in Vitoria-Gasteiz and that added boost in motivation and inspiration could make all the difference in a closely-fought battle.