Ettore Messina, the coach of CSKA who beat Spanish side Unicaja 62-50 in the semi-final, emphasised the importance of stopping Panathinaikos from creating offensive opportunities.

"We will be playing against a side that has a much greater scoring ability than we have so we have to close them down," he said.

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Panathinaikos coach Zelimir Obradovic, whose side progressed to the final after a 67-53 win over another Spanish side Tau Ceramica, simply points to the proven quality of the reigning champions.

"Everyone knows what CSKA means in Europe. It means quality," he says. "They have been together for a few years now and they will be a very tough team to beat."

Panathinaikos forward Michael Batiste, who scored 15 points for his side against Tau, also suggested that the ability to see off the attacking threat was paramount.

"I think these are the best two teams in Europe hands down but it is defence that wins championships so we will be focusing on that on Sunday," he said.

It does not bode well for a free-flowing, high-scoring encounter but the clash retains interest.

Panathinaikos, who will be spurred on by the best part of 20,000 spectators, are vying for their fourth title and their first since 2002 while CSKA are trying to make it back-to-back victories following their win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Moscow last year.

There will be little between the two sides although Batiste believes that the difference will come through his coach Obradovic.

"He is the greatest coach in Europe," he said. "He gives great attention to little details and we will certainly be ready for Sunday."

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