When absolutely every game matters, it's hard to choose just a fraction of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games to highlight. But looking past the obviously classic rivalries that help define the EuroLeague, there are other matchups featuring opponents from recent big games or players and coaches returning to courts where they made history that you certainly will not want to let pass you by next season. Check them out!
Key clashes coming in 2022-23!
FC Bayern Munich vs. FC Barcelona: Round 3, October 18
Bayern went as far as Game 5 in the EuroLeague Playoffs in each of the last two seasons, losing in the last one to favored Barcelona. Bayern beat Barca both at home and on the road, but it was not enough to become the first German team to qualify to the Final Four. This will be a chance to see two of the best forwards in Europe face to face. Vladimir Lucic has been Bayern's main pillar for the last four seasons. Nikola Mirotic, the 2021-22 EuroLeague MVP, shot the ball better than ever inside and outside the arc last season. Expect a stellar atmosphere again at the Audi Dome.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens vs. Partizan Belgrade: Round 6, November 3
It is always special when Partizan head coach Zeljko Obradovic faces the Greens. Obradovic headed the Panathinaikos bench for 13 years, winning five EuroLeague crowns, 11 Greek League titles and 7 Greek Cup trophies. Obradovic returned often with Fenerbahce, but this time, he comes full circle by visiting OAKA with Partizan, the club where his legendary coaching career began. His last visit to OAKA as a EuroLeague head coach was in December 2019, which makes it a long wait for both parties to see each other in what will be the first game between Panathinaikos and Partizan since 2010.
Real Madrid vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul: Round 7, November 10
Every fan will look forward to the season's first rematch between the finalists from the 2022 championship game. Efes edged Real 57-58 to become just the third successful EuroLeague title defender this century. This decades-old rivalry has truly heated up in recent years. In 2021, Efes and Real battled in an outstanding playoff series that went the five-game distance and was settled in the final minute. Efes prevailed, but Real has arguably been its toughest and strongest rival over two championship seasons, so no other opponent should be more motivated to dethrone the title-holders.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. FC Barcelona: Round 8, November 17
Efes has won the competition in each of the last two seasons and Barca has made it to the Final Four both of those years, which is already interesting enough. The truth is that Efes and Barcelona have delivered some of the best games in the EuroLeague in recent seasons. Efes beat Barca 81-86 in the 2021 championship game with 25 points from Final Four MVP Vasilije Micic. Barca needed overtime to edge Efes 93-95 last season as Sertac Sanli, formerly of Efes, led the way with 24 points. In 2019, Efes defeated Barca 3-2 in an outstanding best-of-five playoff series, winning Game 5 at home 80-71 with 18 points each from Shane Larkin and Adrien Moerman. Seeing Barca and Efes on the same basketball court means that people can expect a top-class game.
AS Monaco vs. FC Bayern Munich: Round 10, November 25
A pair of up-and-coming teams that were both ousted in decisive Game 5s during last year's playoffs, Monaco and Bayern are set to square off for the second consecutive season after never having met previously. Monaco swept their regular season series a year ago, including a resounding 94-71 win on its home floor. This clash will be a final game of a three-game Monaco home stand of which the hosts will be keen to take advantage while Bayern will be poised to avenge last season's losses. Last year, Bayern had a slow start to the season and did not get to a winning record until late January. A win in this budding rivalry would make for a great late-November confidence builder.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. AS Monaco: Round 15, December 23
Last season, both Milan and Monaco fell just short of the Final Four, which means both will go into the new season wanting to rise at least one step higher. Monaco's summer additions of Jordan Loyd, Elie Okobo and John Brown are the proof of club's ambitions. But for one visitor, the trip to the fashion capital will be extra special; Monaco star Mike James returns to Milan, where he earned the EuroLeague scoring title for the 2018-19 season. When the two sides met at Mediolanum Forum last season, James had 19 points and 7 assists in Monaco's nine-point victory. Expect fireworks in this one as both teams will be motivated two days before Christmas.
Real Madrid vs. Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv: Round 17, January 6
No teams have played each other as often in European competitions than these two. The first EuroLeague regular season showdown between both teams marks the 68th game between Real and Maccabi. Two of those were EuroLeague Championship Games. In 1980, Real defeated Maccabi 89-85 in Berlin to claim its seventh continental crown. In 2014, Maccabi needed overtime to beat Real 98-86. Tyrese Rice had 26 points off the bench to claim 2014 Final Four MVP honors. Last season, Real swept Maccabi in the playoffs, 3-0, becoming the first time to qualify to the Final Four. Mutual respect and great sportsmanship are the pillars of both team's legendary sports rival.
Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul: Round 23, February 3
The last two games between them were among last season's most exciting, back-and-forth battles, each literally coming down to the last shot in the final second. In their last regular season game, Olympiacos beat Efes 87-85 in overtime on a game-winning corner triple by Kostas Sloukas in Piraeus. Then, at the Final Four, Vasilije Micic buried a three-pointer from the top to give Efes a 74-77 semifinal victory en route to another title. The Reds, who were 14-2 at home last season, will be looking for revenge against the back-to-back champs. After their last two meetings became instant classics, no EuroLeague fan should miss the next one between them at Peace and Friendship Stadium in the heat of the playoffs race.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul vs. FC Barcelona: Round 27, March 10
Fenerbahce fans have always shown a lot of love to the players and coaches who fought hard for their jersey in the past. When Jan Vesely returns to Ulker Sports Arena next season, the standing ovation should be one to remember. In his eight seasons with the club, Vesely helped Fenerbahce reach four consecutive Final Fours from 2015 to 2018 and become the first EuroLeague champion from Turkey in 2017. Vesely and Fenerbahce also reached EuroLeague Championship Games together in 2016 and 2018, and he became the competition's MVP for 2018-19. They also won four Turkish League and three Turkish Cup titles together. There's no doubt that Fenerbahce fans will prepare a special tribute to him, but once the ball goes up at tipoff, Vesely won't find many friends for the next 40 minutes.
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv vs. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul: Round 27, March 8
Scottie Wilbekin, Maccabi's leading scorer in each of the last four seasons, is set to return to Menora Mivtachim Arena wearing Fenerbahce's jersey. Wilbekin played 124 EuroLeague games wih Maccabi, scoring 1,801 points (14.5 per game). Only Alexey Shved (121 games, 2,341 points) has scored more points in 124 games or less of the same span. As a EuroCup champion, MVP and Finals MVP with Darussafaka in 2018, Wilbekin has enjoyed success in Istanbul. He will get a warm ovation from the Maccabi fans, but they will be wary, too, of Wilbekin doing what Wilbekin does.