It isn’t quite home court advantage for Fenerbahce in Istanbul this weekend but it is certainly close enough to give the Turkish team an edge heading into the Euroleague Final Four. There will be fans backing all four of the teams involved at this stage of the tournament but you have to think that the loudest and most vociferous fans will be those backing the side from Istanbul. Given their passion and desire, that may have been the case regardless of the city the tournament is being played in but with the 2017 Euroleague Final Four taking place in Fenerbahce, you have to expect that Fenerbahce will be roared on at every single point of their two games.
This has likely influenced the decision of many bookmakers who have listed Fenerbahce as favourites for the Euroleague crowd because there are four strong teams taking part in the event. Yes, if Fenerbahce triumph, playing in their home city will likely be a factor, as it was for Real Madrid in 2015, but having a larger and louder crowd is no guarantee of success and if the Turkish side do clinch the trophy, it will be down to the players on the court. This is one area where Fenerbahce can compete, so we are all set for a fantastic weekend of basketball action.
The Fenerbahce Istanbtul record for the 2016/17 Euroleague season, so far, is as follows:
- Regular Season: 18-12
- Playoffs: 3-0
- Overall: 21-12
This is the third season in a row that Fenerbahce Istanbul have reached the Final Four but they are yet to win the tournament. Given the destination city of the event this season, you have to think that they will never have a better chance to get their first title. The Turkish side were in fantastic form in their Playoff game where they completed a clean sweep, without home court advantage. That was a little bit of history so there is no reason why they cannot follow that up with a little bit of history in the Final Four.
Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens must have felt that they had a great chance of knocking the Turkish team out but two stunning victories in Athens put Fenerbahce in the driving season, allowing them to finish the job at home in Game 3. This provides the Turkish team with the chance to make up for last season’s Euroleague Final.
The 2016 final, held in Berlin, went into overtime but in the end, it was the Russian side CSKA Moscow who grabbed the win. There is a good chance that the final of 2016 could be repeated in 2017 and if it does, the side from Istanbul will be desperate to make amends and clinch the win that was just out of reach in the previous season.
While all of the teams at this stage of the competition have a lot going for them, there is no doubt that the Fenerbahce defensive record is a big factor in their success. With an average of 73.9 points allowed, Fenerbahce had the third best defensive record of the season.
Fenerbahce moved on despite missing out on home court advantage
It was an inconsistent regular season for Fenerbahce but you always felt that the Turkish team had the class to shine through in the end. At the end of 11 games, Fenerbahce had an 8-3 record but this was achieved with two runs of four victories, which were sandwiched by three straight defeats. A poor spell in the middle of the season saw the Turkish side drop down to sixth place but with five wins out of six games, taking Fenerbahce to a 17-9 record, there was hope of home court advantage in the Playoffs. Another three straight defeats followed though, removing that prospect and Fenerbahce ended the regular season with an 18-12 record.
There were plenty of highlights across the campaign though and two victories over CSKA Moscow will provide the Istanbul team with a confidence boost should these two teams meet again in the Euroleague Championship game.
There are plenty of players that can have a big impact for Fenerbahce this weekend. Bogdan Bogdanovic picked up the MVP for Game 1 and Game 2 of the Playoffs, proving that he is a player who can perform well under pressure. With Ekpe Udoh providing points and seemingly unlimited energy, this is a team who will keep on fighting to the end, and that is before you factor in the benefits of their home fans cheering them on.
Fenerbahce will need to handle the pressure and expectation placed on them for this tournament. It is good that their players can stay in familiar surroundings and go about their normal business, which is a bonus, but there will be additional stress and pressure associated with being the home city team at an event like this.
Real Madrid will pose a challenge in the opening game of the Fenerbahce push this weekend but you may find that the biggest challenge the Istanbul side faces this weekend comes from themselves and their surroundings.
Fenerbahce are the bookies favourites for the Final Four
Playing in their home city has to give Fenerbahce some sort of advantage when it comes to the Euroleague Final Four, but it isn’t going to be an easy process to take the crown. However, Bet365 have made the Istanbul side favourites for this clash and you can back them at odds of 2.62 which sees the Turkish team classed just ahead of CSKA Moscow. Of course, with a Semi Final clash against Real Madrid, it will be a tough task to get to the Final, but there is no doubt that Fenerbahce should have the belief to get the job done.
There are few cities in the world where the fans have as much passion and bring as much colour to basketball as Istanbul, and a Fenerbahce triumph would be a fantastic scene for sports fans. Supporters of the other teams in Istanbul may not enjoy the party that could unfold on Sunday night but if you’re looking for the crowd to take the roof of an arena, a home city win would do just that this weekend.