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Real Madrid - CSKA

CSKA v Real Madrid: first of two Moscow match-ups

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NEWS | 14/01/2020 | Edu Bueno

This EuroLeague double-round week sees the Whites tonight travel to the defending champions (6pm CET), before facing Khimki.
This week is set to be one of the most challenging in Real Madrid's season, with the Whites facing three games in the space of six days, featuring a EuroLeague double-match week on Russian soil as the team tonight plays CSKA Moscow, before Thursday's match-up against Khimki. The week will be rounded off with Sunday's league contest against Baskonia at the WiZink Center. The Whites, who are joint top in the continental competition (15-3) will put their 13-game winning streak to the test against the defending champions (12-6), who has won six of its last eight match-ups. Pablo Laso has travelled to Moscow with 14 players, including Llull and Deck. Meanwhile, Rudy and Randolph miss out.

The continent's two most decorated teams (Real Madrid has 10 titles to CSKA Moscow's eight) and the winners of the past two editions go head-to-head for the 11th time in the past four years. Tonight's is the sides' second meeting of the season following the madridistas' comfortable 97-71 triumph at the WiZink Center in which Deck produced his best performance in a Whites' jersey (PIR of 30). The Argentine returns to the fray after picking up an injury in El Clásico. In the aforementioned meeting with the Russians, Real Madrid ended the game with five players in double figures in the scoring stakes. A repeat of such a team performance will be one of the keys to securing victory on CSKA's floor.

The Whites face three games in six days: CSKA, Khimki and Baskonia.

Another key feature will be the rebounds. Real Madrid comes up against the competition's leading team in this department (an average of 37.7).  Itoudis's charges are known for their aggression in defense and athletic ability, along with the talents of Mike James (an average of 26 points in his last five games) and a raft of good players, including Strelnieks, Kurbanov, Hines, Hilliard and Voigtmann.

Defense
However, the Whites are in fine shape in defense (allowing an average of 70 points), with Tavares central to this effort. The centre is enjoying an excellent run of form, as is Thompkins. Given the flurry of absentees, the American it is who paces the team in offense. He averaged 20 points in the wins over Zalgiris and Asvel, whilst in the derby against Estudiantes, he came close to recording his best showing in a madridista jersey with a PIR of 29.

Laso set to draw level with Blatt
The Whites' coach is poised to draw himself level with David Blatt in fifth in the rankings for the coaches to have overseen the most EuroLeague match-ups, on 259. Laso currently leads the way in terms of the games overseen at the same club (258). Meanwhile, should Llull feature (Laso commented in his pre-match press conference that he's fit to play), he would move up into joint-eighth spot in the EuroLeague appearance rankings, alongside Diamantidis (278).

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