Head coaches and players of BC Khimki and BC Spartak St Petersburg speak about expectations of the game between two teams that will take place at the pitch of Basketball Center Moscow Region, Khimki on Saturday, April 14 at 18.30 msk.
Rimas Kurtinaitis, BC Khimki head coach:
— We are healthy, we have no injuries and we have been waiting for this moment for seven months now. We had a few problems along the way but now we are here, and we cannot wait to start playing the semifinal and, I certainly hope, also the final on Sunday. It will be a tough game against Spartak that's for sure. Nowadays the Russian League is really strong. Probably CSKA Moscow — even though we beat them at home — is a step above the others, but then there are five teams at the same high level, and Spartak is one of those teams. It's difficult to play against them and everybody can see it by the way they qualified to these Eurocup Finals, losing only one game along the way. It's a good team, it will not be easy but anyway, we are the home team and we hope that can give us a little edge.
Kresimir Loncar, BC Khimki center:
— It's going to be a very hard game against Spartak. I think each team has a 25% chance to win these Eurocup Finals. We are ready for these games, but we know it will not be easy. They are a great team with a great coach. Playing at home could bo both ways for us. If the game goes bad the fans can boost us big time, but at the same time maybe some players can feel too much pressure at any given point. The only thing we can do is give our best and that's it.
Jure Zdovc, BC Spartak SPb head coach:
— I think all four teams have equal chances to take the trophy. Spartak, Khimki, Valencia, Lietuvos Rytas are all strong teams, which had big results on the road to the Eurocup Finals — and every team wants to win it. I don’t know anybody going in a tournament like this to finish second or worse. It is a whole different tournament from the regular season or the Last 16. It is very important to have experienced players at such a high level. They can help others, on and off the court.
Loukas Mavrokefalides, BC Spartak SPb forward:
— Khimki is a very good team that has fought CSKA for the Russian League title over the last few years. They have a big budget and very good players. I believe we can win this game, of course, because anything can happen in 40 minutes. I am sure we will be ready for the challenge; we will work hard to prepare the game. We know them very well and even though we lost against them in the Russian League, it was by a small difference. I think we have a good chance to beat them this time.