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Real Madrid eye revenge for play-off heartache

Real Madrid will have revenge on their minds when the new Liga ACB season gets under way this weekend.

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The men from the Spanish capital were completely dominant during the regular season in 2013-14 - winning 32 of their 34 round-robin matches.

One of their two defeats came at the hands of Barcelona, who eventually finished third with 27 wins, and it was the Catalans who eventually broke Real hearts in the play-offs.

After seeing off Laboral Kutxa and Valencia, Barcelona claimed a 3-1 win over their great rivals in the finals - regaining the trophy they had relinquished to Real 12 months earlier.

Real, who also finished as runners-up to Maccabi Tel Aviv in last season's Euroleague, have since bolstered their ranks with the likes of former Chicago Bulls and Laboral Kutxa forward Andres Nocioni, and kick-started the new campaign with a 99-78 victory over Barca in the Supercopa de Espana on Saturday.

Argentine veteran Nocioni believes Real can maintain the playing style that made them almost impossible to beat last term, despite a close-season influx of new faces.

"The team's playing style will remain the same although five new players have arrived," he told the club's official website. "The style will stay the same because that's what we like to do.

"It has become a competitive team, with a big squad with many players who can contribute, so we're prepared to go step by step.

"Obviously it is not easy because the [other] teams are well-armed. It's a very competitive league and a high level, so we will have to work very hard to win it."

In addition to Nocioni, Real have added Gustavo Ayon, Facundo Campazzo, Jonas Maciulis and KC Rivers to their squad.

Prior to their Supercopa defeat to Real, Barca enjoyed a strong pre-season and have made five new acquisitions of their own - Deshaun Thomas, Tomas Satoransky, Justin Doellman, Tibor Pleiss and Marcus Eriksson.

Coach Xavi Pascual insists his players are ready for his seventh season in the Palau Blaugrana hotseat.

"We've got some new players, but don't let that fool you. We're here for one thing: to win," he said.

Elsewhere in the competition, seven clubs will be beginning life under the leadership of a new coach.

One of those sides - Sevilla - remain unsure over who will lead them into the new season after proposed new coach Scott Roth was refused a licence to work in the Liga ACB.

The Andalusian outfit have vowed to fight to get that decision overturned as they aim to replace Aito Garcia Reneses, who has taken the reins at Gran Canaria.

La Bruixa d'Or live to fight another season in the Spanish top flight after Ford Burgos failed to meet promotion requirements, while Andorra make their return to Liga ACB after 18 years, replacing the relegated Valladolid.

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