LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne's return to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague last season was full of promise and unexpected wins. After the season was cut short, the fans of greater Lyon will be anxious to see a couple of big names team they missed out on, like FC Barcelona in Round 11 and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in Round 14. Here are another five key games that ASVEL's followers can look forward to.
Round 8: New team in town
A small piece of EuroLeague history will be made in Round 8 when ASVEL hosts Zenit St Petersburg for the very first time in the competition... eight months later than originally scheduled. The match-up was due to take place in Round 29 last season, but that game never happened as it was among the first to be canceled by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Round 12: Block party
Get ready for a big battle inside the paint when ASVEL travels to face Real Madrid in Round 12, because the game features last season's top two shot-blockers as Real's Walter Tavares (2.18 per game) goes up against ASVEL big man Ismael Bako (1.0 per game). Bako's average of 3.6 blocks per 40 minutes on the floor was particularly impressive, only just behind Tavares's tally of 3.8. The big Belgian is heading into his second EuroLeague campaign hoping to get better and better, and he could have no better shot-blocking role model than Tavares.
Round 16: CSKA returns
Arguably ASVEL's most famous victory in EuroLeague history came with last season's home win over CSKA Moscow, when Jordan Taylor's basket with 13 seconds remaining secured a dramatic 67-66 victory over the reigning champ. ASVEL will have the chance to aim for the same outcome again in Round 16 in late December, and the French team will aim to give its fans a perfect holiday gift by making it two wins out of two at home to the Russian giant.
Round 22: Good memories for Strazel
One of the youngest rising stars in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague is Matthew Strazel, who will always remember this fixture fondly as the setting for his debut in the competition. It came in Round 5 last season, and Strazel – then only 17 years old – made a highly impressive start as his 9 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting helped ASVEL claim an exciting 66-63 victory.
Round 30: Cole returns to Tel Aviv
Norris Cole, ASVEL's showpiece summer signing, will look forward to his visit to the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Round 30, as he takes on the team that first brought him to the EuroLeague in 2017. Cole averaged 12.6 points and 3.8 assists during his season with Maccabi, and also impressed with 25 points when he returned to Tel Aviv with Buducnost VOLI Podgorica the following season. Playing in an arena where he feels at home, ASVEL's new scoring threat could be in for another big night.