The VTB United League SuperCup starts at the VTB Arena in Moscow. Our team will enter the fight for the Cup named after Alexander Gomelsky on Thursday in the game against Lokomotiv-Kuban...
In Moscow on the road
This year the organizers have changed the format of the tournament again. Simply because there are more teams: instead of six in the last preseason, eight will take to the floor, including two foreign ones - Fenerbahce and Besiktas. The system is a playoff with classification games for all places, from first to eighth.
Although the competitions are held in the capital, CSKA operates in guest mode, since it is not the host. Like everyone else, the red-blues checked into a hotel today, had a snack, watched a video and headed to practice. The team is currently training without Melo Trimble, who is working on an individual program while recovering from an injury.
“We are still getting into shape, we are in the process of coordinating ourselves on the final stages of preparation,” Emil Rajkovic said. “We miss Trimble, but this is a chance for young players – Kardanakhishvili and Ruzhentsev – to get more time and prove themselves. We use bigger rotation to better prepare ourselves."
A matter of principle
CSKA fans don’t need explanations. The defeat to Loko in the seventh game of the semifinals of last season left a painful scar on the hearts of the red-blues. And even though the SuperCup is not the main tournament of the year, now each of the games against Krasnodar will be perceived as special.
Then, in the semi-finals, it turned out to be a real showdown - the Krasnodar team tried to play as hard as possible, in a defensive manner. Now the Muscovites at the training camp in Turkey also showed solid defensive skills, so it is quite logical to expect a low-scoring game.
Away is good, home is better
It’s quite simple to talk about changes in the Lokomotiv lineup - they are minimal.
“They have almost the same team, even stronger,” says Rajkovic. “They added Jordan Morgan, another big man, while keeping the coach and most of the players. I think their level of preparation must be better than others because they didn’t have to change much.”
It should be added that Morgan is well known to Alexander Sekulic by his performances under his leadership for the Slovenian national team, and the backcourt was strengthened by the ex-leader of BC Minsk, guard Vladislav Bliznyuk.
The team began preparations without a head coach who was busy at the World Cup. Krasnodar team had three defeats to start the training camp in Turkey. But, as they say in such cases, the failures turned out to be very useful, because the red-greens lost with a minimal margin to Uralmash (74-75), Anadolu Efes (82-83) and Tofas (66-69). Lessons were learned, and the VTB League runner-up got a landslide victory at the home Kuban Cup tournament, routing Runa (86-69) and Samara (94-68).
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, Russia
Colors: red, green, white
Home court: Basket Hall (7,500)
President: Andrey Vedishchev
Interim head coach: Aleksandr Sekulic
Trophy case: Euroleague bronze winner (2016), EuroCup winner (2013), 2-times VTB United League runner-up (2013, 2023), BEKO PBL bronze winner (2011/12), Eurochallenge runner-up (2011), FIBA Europe Cup runner-up (2005), Russian Cup winner (2018)