Panathinaikos, who last won the trophy in 2002, will largely depend on a core of home-grown experienced players who form the backbone of the national team, losing finalists in last year's world championship.

The May 4-6 Final Four which also includes last year's champions CSKA Moscow and Spain's Tau Ceramica and Unicaja, will take place in Athens's Olympic indoor stadium.

CSKA cruise in Euroleague opener
22/10/2007 AT 14:25

The ease with which Panathinaikos qualified for the Final Four while maintaining an almost perfect record in the domestic league and winning the Greek Cup speaks volumes of their wealth of players and options from the bench.

But coach Zeljko Obradovic urged caution ahead of their semi-final clash against Tau Ceramica on Friday.

"Every team that goes to the Final Four has the same possibilities. That's my experience, and I'm saying it after 10 Final Fours," said Obradovic, who has won Europe's top title a record five times as a coach.

"There are no favourites. All four want to win, first the semi-final and after, if they make it, the final," he told the Euroleague's official website.

Panathinaikos' power forward Kostas Tsartsaris is doubtful after picking up a back injury on Monday.

Tau, who swept past Panathinaikos to reach last year's Final Four, are hungry for the top prize after losing the 2005 final.

With Euroleague's all-time top scorer Luis Scola and single-season assists record holder Pablo Prigioni fit, Tau's third coach this season Bozidar Maljkovic, who led Panathinaikos to their first crown in 1996, knows his team's chances are as good as they can ever be.

With a 20-2 win-loss record in this season's Euroleague, the Spaniards have shown they have what it takes to win.

Last year's champions CSKA Moscow, playing a record fifth consecutive Final Four, want to make it two in a row, when they take on newcomers Unicaja Malaga of Spain for a place in Sunday's final.

Leading the domestic league and having won the Russian Cup, CSKA, they are eager to cap another successful season with the top accolade.

Unicaja, arguably the weakest of the four teams, have suffered a series of injury blows in the past few months, denting their chances of success but not their spirits.

Their injury list includes starting centre Daniel Santiago - out of the tournament due to a detached retina - and Marko Tusek who has a sprained ankle.

"CSKA are a formidable team but they have all the pressure," centre Ignacio De Miguel, who had two teeth removed on Tuesday after an injury during training but is still set to play, told Greek media.

"Since qualifying we have been preparing for the semi-final which is an historic match not only for the team but for the whole city (of Malaga) so we go into this match on a high and with as little pressure as possible."

Zalgiris stadium fight drags on
18/07/2007 AT 04:58
Panathinaikos hailed by Greek media
07/05/2007 AT 14:07