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2018 Champions L. 2018 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 12 – Preview & quotes

Five-horse races are still on 

Any question regarding the expansion of the Champions League has already been answered by this season’s excitements: eleven rounds gone and nothing has been really settled for the Final Eight. Both groups enjoy five-horse races for the four available qualifying spots and the hunt in Group A cannot be any more thrilling.

This is going to be a hard day for Brescia (ITA) in Group A as they have to pay a visit to Piraeus where group-leader Olympiacos (GRE) is set to secure its spot in the Final Eight as well as cement its top position. At the same time the Italians also need a positive result desperately as their fiercest rivals face easy home matches. A loss would almost surely push Brescia back to the fifth place with two rounds to go.

Last year’s runner-up Jug (CRO) has been struggling this season, their loss in Barceloneta ended their three-match winning streak – bouncing back against Hannover (GER) at home is a must for the Croats. They beat the Germans by seven goals on Day 3 so collecting three points might not be a challenge this time either.

The same applies to Dynamo (RUS) which managed to return to the winning track on Day 11 after three winless games. The Russians play with bottom-ranked Partizan (SRB), a perfect occasion for adding three more points before the last two crucial encounters with Olympiacos and Jug.

Barceloneta (ESP) has a tricky challenge, playing in Budapest against OSC (HUN) seems like an easy job, though the Hungarians has been underperforming the whole season and with the home playoffs approaching they would definitely love to raise the level of their game. Still, the Spaniards is having a brilliant spell, won six consecutive games and are ready to extend this run to seven.

In Group B the picture is a bit clearer but the two matches due in Hungary might shake everything up. Though if both end with the favourites’ win, it would mean that things settle as it was expected, Recco (ITA) and the two Magyar sides finish in the top three positions.

Still, Day 3 results showed that nothing could be taken for granted here. Title-holder Szolnok (HUN) is looking for a revenge for their surprise loss to Spandau (GER), while Eger (HUN) is to secure its qualification against Jadran (MNE). Back in November their match ended in a stunning 4-4 draw in Herceg Novi, but since then Eger reached for a higher level, won its last six games and another victory would send them through while Jadran would slip to the brink of elimination.

F8 host Recco (ITA) should march on in Bucharest against Steaua (ROU) while Alphen (NED) has its last real chance to earn points in its first season as they play with Sabadell (ESP).

 

Champions League, Day 12

Group A

18.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

18.30 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

20.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Standings

  1. Olympiacos 28, 2. Barceloneta 24, 3. Brescia 20, 4. Dynamo 19, 5. Jug 19, 6. Hannover 9, 7. OSC 7, 8. Partizan 0

 

Group B

16.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER)

18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

19.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

Standings

  1. Recco 30, 2. Eger 25, 3. Spandau 21, 4. Szolnok 21, 5. Jadran 16, 6. Steaua 12, 7. Sabadell 6, 8. Alphen 0

 

QUOTES

Group A

18.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Last 5 CHL matches (Win, Draw, Loss)

OSC: LDLLL

Barceloneta: WWWWW

Last match

OSC: Brescia 5-9 (away)

Barceloneta: Jug 8-6 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Barceloneta v OSC 12-6

Laszlo Toth, head coach, OSC:

“Another very good team comes to visit us, there are a lot of very good and skilled players in CNA Barceloneta. For us, each match is a great opportunity to prepare for the rest of the Hungarian Championships. I am expecting an easy-going approach from my team as we want to show a very good match for our supporters.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“After the last two victories in Moscow and against Jug at home we need three more points to secure our qualification for the Final Eight. OSC is a great rival, they play at home so it’s going to be a very difficult game for us. Still, we target the three points, not less.”

18.30 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Last 5 CHL matches

Jug: LWWWL

Hannover: LLLWL

Last match

Jug: Barceloneta 6-8 (away)

Hannover: Dynamo 11-15 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Hannover v Jug 6-13

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

‘We don’t have space for any calculation. Everything is clear for us. If we want to qualify to final tournament we need to win all remaining games.”

Vincenzo Renzuto, player, Jug:

“We know what is at stake. Only a victory would keep us in the battle for the Final Eight tournament. It not will be an easy match but I’m sure we will take three crucial points.”

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“Most of our players have a special motivation to play in this pool against Jug. I‘m looking forward to an exciting game, showing a great performance.”

Alexander Radovic, player, Hannover:

“It is really a good opportunity and a quality check while preparing for the German Cup. Jug Dubrovnik is a great team and this game is coming just at the right time. We have to concentrate and focus ourselves on our play. I hope that we´ll have an excellent game.”

Julian Real, player, Hannover:

“Every game on such level will be important in order to be best prepared for the upcoming finals in Germany. We will do our best.”

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Last 5 CHL matches

Dynamo: WDDLW

Partizan: LLLLL

Last match

Dynamo: Hannover 15-11 (away)

Partizan: Olympiacos 4-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Partizan v Dynamo 10-14

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“From now every game is important for us. We will try to be ready for one hundred percent.”

Adel Latypov, player, Dynamo:

“Our team for now is in such position when only victory can let us continue the race for the Final Eight. The last game of Partizan showed that we shouldn’t count on getting easy three points. We will try to show a quality game which we want to play against Olympiacos and Jug.”

Stefan Ciric, head coach, Partizan:

“We face Dynamo after an important win against Red Star in the national championship. Because of that, our players are tired, but we won’t surrender easily. One of our best performances in this season’s Champions League was the match against Dynamo in Belgrade. We’ll try to play again on that level.”

20.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Last 5 CHL matches

Olympiacos: WLWWW

Brescia: WWDLW

Last match

Olympiacos: Partizan 7-4 (away)

Brescia: OSC 9-5 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Brescia v Olympiacos 6-7

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“Against Brescia we are to take advantage of the strength of our home, by coming up with a very good game. Our mission is particularly difficult against a very strong team. I expect my players playing more freely and more dynamically, eliminating the stress of qualifying to the Final Eight. We are waiting for a full “Papastratio”, as we want our fans to give us pulse and passion for a victory!”

Georgios Dervisis, player, Olympiacos:

“This is the first game in the Champions League after a longer break for the National Team games. We have already started our preparation for this match that we have to deal with seriousness, since gaining three points is very important for us, that would secure us staying atop in our group. I expect a very good though quite hard clash, as both we and Brescia, for the prestige and the result, want the victory! The fact that we play at our home is an advantage for us, since we will have the support of our fans too and we know very well that it always represents the ‘extra player’ for us.”

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“After the match against OSC, this Wednesday’s game is another final for us. We need to achieve a good result. Olympiacos is a top-level team, practically they are the national team of Greece with three extraordinary foreigners. Nevertheless, we have to gain points and, in the game played in Brescia, we’ve demonstrated we can do it.”

 

Group B

16.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER)

Last 5 CHL matches

Szolnok: LLWWL

Spandau: LLWLW

Last match

Szolnok: Recco 5-8 (away)

Spandau: Alphen 14-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Spandau v Szolnok 9-8

Sandor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

“Spandau has been developing continuously in the past years, which is paying off, as they have defeated several top teams, among those our team as well, and it looks like they are qualifying for the finals. We do not know what shape they are in as of now, as they have not played important matches recently. We most certainly want to take a revenge for our 10-9 defeat from last November. One thing is for sure, we will not have an easy job, I am expecting a tough game but a victory at the end.”

Tamas Mezei, player, Szolnok:

“We were surprised by Spandau in Berlin where we were defeated. We were not on our peak at the time of that match. Spandau has proved that they are a good team, we have to take them seriously. One of their key players, Mateo Cuk is struggling with an injury, they will play with or without him. We will have to defeat them in a tough game anyway.”

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Three games to go and still nothing to give away. If Szolnok does win in Wednesday afternoon they are almost cleared for the Final Eight. So I do expect a highly concentrated and focused opponent. This season shows how hard it is, even for the top teams like Szolnok, to perform constantly on a high level in the Champions-League. If we are able to play our best water polo and stay on our highest level for four quarters, we are probably able to go for a point. We will try an fight for the best possible result.”

Marko Stamm, captain, Spandau:

“Usually we are able to play our best water polo when there is a lot at stake. We are in a good mood so why shouldn’t we be able to go for the next surprise? Every game has to be played, everything is possible.”

18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

Last 5 CHL matches

Eger: WWWWW

Jadran: WLLLW

Last match

Eger: Sabadell 15-7 (away)

Jadran: Steaua 16-10 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Jadran v Eger 4-4

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, ZF-Eger:

“Our goal is the victory of course. We would like to go to the Final Eight as the second placed team in the group. So our goal is not only to qualify for the Final, but to take the best position too.”

Adam Decker, player, ZF-Eger:

“We are thinking only for the victory. We are in a good position now, but we have to keep it. To achieve this, we have to beat Jadran.”

Gergo Kovacs, player, ZF-Eger:

“At home our goal is clear: to beat Herceg Novi. I can’t imagine another result than our victory, which could be a great impact for our next home league match against Szolnok.”

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran:

“This game is very important for us as a positive result would keep us in the race for the F8. For sure Eger is the favourite they are playing at home. On the other hand, they almost already secured their spot in Genova. It will be good game and we will prepare ourselves to give our best.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran:

“The team is very tired after so many games in this season. Still, we have a strong motive for this game and we will give our best. Eger is an excellent team what they confirmed in the games against Szolnok played in the Champions League.”

 

19.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Last 5 CHL matches

Steaua: WWLWL

Recco: WWWWW

Last match

Steaua: Jadran 10-16 (away)

Recco: Szolnok 8-5 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Recco v Steaua 15-6

Andrei Iosep, head coach, Steaua:

“The game with Pro Recco arrives in a delicate moment for us, having a lot of injured players. Despite of this, we will try to do our best against maybe the best team in the world in this moment.”

Adria Delgado, player, Steaua:

“The game will be a good way to prepare for the most important part of the season as we are playing in the semi-finals of the Romanian league. Even if the chance of winning is improbable, it will be a great opportunity to improve by playing against the best team in the world.”

Mihnea Chioveanu, player, Steaua:

“We will meet the best team in our group, which has only lost points to the current European Champion (Szolnok) this season. We hope to play a good game and make life hard for Pro Recco in our home pool.”

Michael Bodegas, player, Pro Recco:

“The game tomorrow is an opportunity to take a step forward on our path of collective growth. We do not have a lot of time before the Final Eight, so every match must be approached with the utmost concentration and determination. We are training hard in these days, but despite the tiredness that could be felt, we are going to use all the games to grow, both technically and tactically. Steaua is a physical team: we will have the opportunity to work on the one-on-ones, respecting what will be the tactical instructions of our coach.”

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

Last 5 CHL matches

Alphen: LLLLL

Sabadell: LWLLL

Last match

Alphen: Spandau 8-15 (away)

Sabadell: Eger 7-15 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 3

Sabadell v Alphen 12-10

Nemanja Stevanovic, coach, Alphen

“We’ve just ended the regular season and are heading towards the play-offs in May. We are looking forward to the game against Sabadell to see if we can repeat the good game we had in Spain but of course with a different ending, a win this time.”

Dejan Indjic, player, Alphen:

“During the last weeks my game has been improving rapidly, I’m looking forward to play again with Sabadell in our own pool. We are confident that we can compete with them, and with the support of our home crowd we can make it a very tight match.”

Chava Gomez, head coach, Sabadell:

“This Wednesday match is a good opportunity to obtain a good result against an opponent staying in the low zone of the classification. We are really looking forward to offering a good game and through that we can prepare for our league matches as well.”

Oscar Carrillo, player, Sabadell:

“Although we have no option to qualify for the final eight, this match is very important to finish the group stage with earning a few more points. At home we could beat Alphen and we hope we can do it this time as well though it’s going to be a hard game.”