For fans of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, today is the day you have been waiting for; Behold the schedule for the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. The roadmap from your favorite team's home court to KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz's Fernando Buesa Arena, the site of the 2019 Final Four, can now be traced. All the information is here to see when the biggest EuroLeague stars come to your town; to decide which trips to accompany your local team on; or to check when the big derbies of Athens, Moscow and Istanbul take place. With the calendar now official, the smell of Euroleague Basketball is in the air.
Feels like the first time
With Herbalife Gran Canaria making its EuroLeague debut and Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the competition for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign, there will be plenty of first-time clashes this season. Buducnost's Moraca will be rocking on opening night with its first ever clash against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. Gran Canaria will debut in the EuroLeague on the road at Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul in what could also be the first EuroLeague appearance for the oldest player on a roster this season, point guard Albert Oliver. Gran Canaria Arena's EuroLeague christening will be a week later with the visit of Spanish League rival FC Barcelona Lassa.
Championship game rematches
It doesn't get much bigger than when the finalists meet again. After Real Madrid edged Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul in last season's finale, the two famed sides will meet next to end the calendar year, on December 28 in Round 15 in Turkey. The return leg will be in Round 25 on March 7. Fenerbahce will head to Greece to meet Olympiacos Piraeus on November 15 in Round 7 in the rematch of the 2017 championship game. And the 2016 finalists, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce, first meet in Round 13 on December 18.
When are the derbies?
The first meeting of crosstown rivals this season will be in Istanbul – the site of six derbies this season! – when Anadolu Efes hosts Fenerbahce in Round 4 on October 25. Two weeks later, Athens headlines the action with Panathinaikos dueling against Olympiacos Piraeus in Round 6 on November 9. Round 8 features the next all-Istanbul clash with Darussafaka visiting Fenerbahce on November 20. Two days later, Dacka welcomes Efes. Moscow bragging rights will be up for grabs in Round 12 on December 13 when CSKA faces Khimki and later that night is Spain's El Clasico. Though not formally a derby, Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona is as fierce as it gets. And all of these teams will do it again in the second half of the regular season, too!
Going home again
Many of the top coaches in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague came to fame with other clubs, which they led to titles, before moving on to new challenges. And they can expect warm welcomes when they come to their old homes. Olympiacos Piraeus's new head coach David Blatt led Darussafaka Istanbul to 7DAYS EuroCup glory last season and will visit his former team for the first time in Round 15 on December 27. Blatt, who guided Maccabi to the 2014 EuroLeague crown, will lead the Reds into Tel Aviv in Round 22 on February 7. It is always a special night when the legendary Zeljko Obradovic visits his former team Panathinaikos, which he guided to five EuroLeague championships. Obradovic and his Fenerbahce will take on the Greens in the Greek capital in Round 11 on December 7. Panathinaikos head coach Xavi Pascual is a Catalonia native who led FC Barcelona to its second-ever EuroLeague triumph in 2010. He and Panathinaikos visit his hometown in Round 18 on January 11.
Of course, there is FC Bayern Munich boss Dejan Radonjic, who may not have won the EuroLeague yet, but is a hero in his native Montenegro, where he led Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to six successive league and cup doubles between 2007 and 2012. He will show Bayern his old stomping grounds on the first day of March in Round 24. And last, but not least, Zalgiris Kaunas's Sarunas Jasikevicus was a four-time EuroLeague champion as a player and each time he visits the teams he won with, Saras is well received. This season, he will march Zalgiris into Athens to play Panathinaikos in Round 4 on October 26, he comes to Barcelona in Round 22 on February 7 and finally visits Maccabi in Tel Aviv in Round 27 on March 20.