The Lithuanian champions Žalgiris Kaunas is already preparing for the next season in the Euroleague and Lithuanian cup and league. Almantas Kiveris, the Press Officer of BC Žalgiris Kaunas spoke to Baltic Review about the preparations and the goals for the next season.
During the last season, Žalgiris reached the Top 16 stage and won against top European clubs such as Euroleague vice champions Real Madrid. During this season, the most popular Lithuanian basketball club in Europe will celebrate its 70th anniversary. The management and the fans are hoping for spatial season.
The Lithuanian champions, Žalgiris Kaunas, will play in Euroleague in Group A. Žalgiris that was ranked in the third power rank, will play in the group stage against the Euroleague vice champions Real Madrid that was ranked first, the Turkish club Anadolou Efes Istanbul, Nižniy Novgorod from Russia, Dinamo Banco Di Sardegna Sassari from Italy and against the qualifications winner.
“Next season will be very special for us – Žalgiris Kaunas will be celebrating its 70th anniversary. While expectations for the results will be similar to this year. Minimum goal in the Euroleague is to get to the Top16 stage. In Lithuania, the aim is obvious – to win Lithuanian Cup and Lithuanian League” explaining Kiveris to Baltic-Review about the goals of the club.
It is also seems that no one in the Žalgiris does not worry a lot about the hard draw in the Euroleague group stage. “The draw is equal to everybody, and we will have to fight anyone no matter which team gets into our group. We have progressed to Top16 for five seasons in a row, so we want to do the same this season as well. From the first two seeds we got Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes, the teams which we know and have played in the last two seasons. They are really strong, but at home with the help of amazing fans in Žalgiris arena we can fight with everybody. Nizhny Novgorod and Sassari are newcomers, which are still building their roster, so it is too early to say how strong those teams will be. And obviously we still don’t know our last opponent from the Qualification Round” summarize the issue the Press Officer of the club .
The previous Top 16 stage was horrible for Žalgiris. The Lithuanian champions won only two matches. But one of the victories was against one of the best teams in Europe, Real Madrid. Žalgiris and Real will see each other again already in the group stage. “In the last game of Top 16 this spring we have won against Real Madrid. It was their only third loss of the season at that time. It means we will have a chance next season too, but on the other hand, Real Madrid will be angry and will be ready to fight for the revenge. The goals in the Euroleague are to win every game at home, to fight on the road and to qualify to the Top16 stage. If we do that, the next goal would be to go step by step and fight for the new victories” describing Kiveris the chances to get a victory against Real Madrid again.
One of the biggest problems of clubs such Žalgiris is that the top richest clubs in Europe are “stealing” good players by suggesting them huge salaries which Žalgiris and other average clubs are not able to suggest. Kiveris describing the problem and explaining how the club is handling with this problem: “It is impossible to compete with the financially strong clubs in the players market at the moment. That’s why our strategy is to grow our own players, to develop them and to prepare them for the Euroleague and the national team. Our core is the mix of experienced and young Lithuanian players. As in the last season, we will have only 1 or 2 foreign players. Mostly in PG position as there are no quality Lithuanian players to fill it”.
No doubt that Žalgiris and the club fans are exiting for the next season. If Žalgiris will reach the all goals and will get better result than Top 16 in Euroleague, it will be a great gift to this amazing club to its 70th anniversary. The rich history, the experience, the new Žalgiris Arena and its amazing fans can give to this club not only good season, but a great season.