November 4th 1999. The day of the first Sopron-Bourges game in Euroleague that has since become a classic match-up in the most prestigious European tournament.
In the current line-up besides these two teams only Turkish side Fenerbahce and Italian Famila Schio habe been there permanently. Out of the teams present at the time some are operating on a lower level, while many have disappeared from the map of women's basketball. In light of that it is of great meaning that we have not only been active participants of Euroleague, but have also gained bigger reputation for our town and our country.
In the last twenty years we have faced the flagship team of French women's basketball eighteen times. In the 1999/2000 season already mentioned above we have got a huge 68-67 victory against the future runners-up, who were stopped by Ruzomberok coached by Natalia Hejkova in the final. The Slovakians' win has inspired us, it showed that by conscious improvement and the involvement of young players a successful international performance can be reached. Now back to the French!
In 18 games both sides accumulated 9 wins and 9 losses. It is salient how much the home court has been an advantage. Bourges were able to beat us only once in Sopron, which leads to the conclusion that we weren't more successful in Bourges's arena, the ultra-modern Prado, which has a capacity of 5000 spectators. However, that single success has meant the world to us! We returned to our arena in Sopron with a 68-65 victory, where not even a needle could be dropped in the second leg of the quarter finals. As the French put it later, our team has won the game during the teams' presentation already, when the teams entered the court in front of a full house, in an unbelievable atmosphere. We took the game 70-63, and have made it to the FINAL4 in Salamanca with the youngest - only 21 years old on average - team to do so to this day in Euroleague. It was a historic act, that has since been followed by many others. The greatest of all is undoubtedly the silver medal last year in Euroleague, in the FINAL4 held in Sopron that was dubbed iconic by FIBA's publications.
We might have thought in our wildest dreams only that we would be in the last eight this year as well, additionally, having the home-court advantage on our side! Our head coach and our players have done an excellent job in the regular season, and by overcoming all the obstacles that came our way we have made it to the second place in an extremely well-balanced group. In the other group Bourges was in competition for the second place with Prague, but the Czech were the team that finished there. In the 14 regular season games Bourges have only lost 5 times, out of which they only had the reason to be upset about the one against Schio. The Italians have shown that it is not only the Russian giant Ekaterinburg that are capable of surprising Olivier Lafargue's team that has high hopes for the future. They have an amazing offensive potential, led by an instinctive genius like whose plays are present in the look-back posts of the federation every week. The creative shooter who has a great sight on court Marine Johannes is only 24 years old, and is capable of extraordinary shots with a defender all over her, and is very good at assisting her teammates as well. We have to highlight Alexia Chartereau who has a 14 point average. The basketball fans in Sopron might know her well from the 2016 U18 European Championship. In that continental tournament in Sopron she was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Besides the young French players they have trustworthy international players on their roster, which is perfect for creating the playing system wanted by the French head coach. As a result we will have to prepare for not only having to stop them on offense, but will also have to fight for every single point against the French style defense.
It will be a question how much the final eight of the Hungarian Cup that began on Thursday and ended on Saturday has taken away from our team physically and mentally. It is for sure that these games are a reason to hope for good things to happen, and getting the title can give an extra boost to the team. Our rivals have warmed up for the series with one game, in which they competed against their biggest rivals in France, Lyon in te semi-final of the French Cup. Bourges came up with a big performance and won the game 79-60 against the team that leads the French championship.
We can say that two teams that are in great shape will face each other Tuesday evening in Sopron! There will be a big need for our enthusiastic fans, almost 400 of whom have came to Győr to support their favorites in the cup final.
Before the game we have asked our head coach Roberto Iniguez about his expectations.
The game that will be broadcast live by M4 Sport begins at 6 pm in Novomatic Aréna. Tickets to the game can be purchased at the venue for 1500 HUF. Entry to the game below the age of 14 and above 70 is free of charge. Taking into account the huge interest towards the game we ask everybody to arrive to the arena on time, and let's create an atmosphere from the 5.30 pm warm-up on that will make our opponents tremble.
Sopron vs. Bourges
9 wins/9 losses
1147 points scored/1258 conceded
Our head coach Roberto Iniguez spent two wonderful years with us, who has visited our Managing Director Zoltán Török as promised with whom they agreed in a discussion about the future that he will come back to Sopron one day
Csodálatos két évet töltött nálunk vezetőedzőnk, Roberto Iniguez, aki ígéretéhez híven a hétvége során meglátogatta ügyvezetőnket, Török Zoltánt, akivel a jövőt is érintő beszélgetés során abban maradtak, hogy egy napon még visszatér Sopronba
We built on our strong start in the third game of the Hungarian league finals and ended the season on an unbeaten record as champions!
Sopron Basket - ALUINVENT-DVTK 67-53 (22-7, 9-14, 24-12, 12-20)