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2018 Champions L. 2018 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 14 – Preview

Jug, Brescia, Dynamo: only two can stay alive 

It’s judgement day for Jug (CRO), Brescia (ITA) and Dynamo (RUS): their race for the Final Eight will end on Wednesday but only two of them could join the other six sides which have already secured their respective berths for the June 7-9 showcase in Genoa.

The last day of the prelims promise great excitements for three teams in Group A and two of them will face each other. 2016 winner and last year runner-up Jug has had some ups and downs in the current season, their struggle started right on the opening day when they suffered a somewhat shocking defeat in Moscow. Newcomer Dynamo proved its strength in the following rounds, still, the Russians now need a smaller miracle now: a win in Dubrovnik. That would send them straight to the Final Eight as the results against Jug would favour them in case of equal points. However, beating the Croats in Dubrovnik is one of the toughest challenges in water polo: in the past four years only Recco was able to do that in the Champions League (last season), Jug remained unbeaten on the other 20 occasions.

At the same time, Dynamo has only one away loss so far in the prelims, on Day 2 Olympiacos beat them, later they managed to have draws in Barceloneta and Brescia as well. A draw this time would set up an interesting scenario: the tie would send Jug through, while Dynamo would only have a chance if Brescia loses to Hannover at home half an hour earlier. Brescia is favourite there, though in case of a home loss and a tie in Dubrovnik, Dynamo would finish 4th as both matches against Brescia ended in a 9-9 draw and the goal-difference of the Russians is better now (+13, compared to Brescia’s +6). Though it’s just a game of numbers: a win for Brescia – which is very much in the cards – would secure the Italians’ second straight qualification for the finals.

The clash of Olympiacos (GRE) and Barceloneta (ESP), both qualified already, should be a nice battle, though in case the Spaniards go down in Piraeus they might lose their second place to Jug – in fact, in the view of Group B happenings, it’s all about which Hungarian powerhouses they face in the quarter-finals.

As for Group B, everything seems to be settled, the four qualified sides, Recco (ITA), Szolnok (HUN), Eger (HUN) and Spandau (GER) play with the bottom-ranked ones and supposed to win their respective encounters so the current ranks might become the final ones.

Group A

17.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

18.00 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

20.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

20.30 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Standings

  1. Olympiacos 34, 2. Barceloneta 27, 3. Jug 25, 5. Brescia 23, 3. Dynamo 22, 6. Hannover 13, 7. OSC 7, 8. Partizan 0

Group B

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

19.30 Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Standings

1. Recco 36, 2. Eger 28, 3. Szolnok 27, 4. Spandau 24, 5. Jadran 19, 6. Steaua 12, 7. Sabadell 9, 8. Alphen 0

 

PRE-GAMES QUOTES

Group A

20.30 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Last 5 CHL matches (Win, Draw, Loss)

Jug: WWLWW

Dynamo: DLWWL

Last match

Jug: Partizan 10-8 (away)

Dynamo: Olympiacos 9-13 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Dynamo v Jug 12-11

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“Their oscillations in the matches are similar to ours. They have fantastic periods of the game and also very bad parts where they lose points. Unexpectedly, they were playing very well away from home. They have some excellent players starting from centre forwards duo, two very good lefties and specially their captain Kholod who’s playing the best season of his career.”

Luka Loncar, player, Jug:

“In my opinion, Lisunov and Pijetlovic make the best couple of centre forwards in Champions League. We need to help our defenders to isolate them. I hope our fans will help us in our efforts to secure the place among eight best teams in Europe.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“It is going to be a decisive and key game, very important for both teams. The winner goes on.”

Evgeny Kostrov, goalkeeper, Dynamo:

“This is the game to be played to reach the Final 8 and it will be not at home, so our output should be on the maximum. The mood inside the team is good so I think we will enjoy the game and play a team game.”

17.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Last 5 CHL matches

Olympiacos: WWWWW

Barceloneta: WWWWL

Last match

Olympiacos: Dynamo 13-9 (away)

Barceloneta: Brescia 5-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Barceloneta v Olympiacos 7-7

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“In our last game of the group we will face one of the best teams in Europe in recent years, and the only team in the group, besides us, that has already secured its position in the Final8 in Genoa. This match is a matter of prestige and continuity of good games that we have been doing both for some time now. We will play in our home for the last time before Genoa and we want to win and celebrate with our fans together, our third straight qualification for the best teams in Europe and the first position of the group of course.”

Giannis Fountoulis, captain, Olympiacos:

“We want to continue the series of our good appearances. We are playing with the second ranked team Barceloneta, and it will be another strong game despite not deciding anything. We want our fans standing on our side by giving a dynamic performance in order to close another European season undefeated in our home. They are key players in this and we want them to celebrate the qualification in the final stage of the event.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“Olympiacos has proved to be the best team in our group. They are a very strong at home where they have won all their matches. This is the last game of the group and both teams have already qualified for the Final 8. For me, the most important now is to prepare the team for the end of the season. Before to play the Final 8 our target is to win the national league.”

20.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Last 5 CHL matches

Brescia: DLWLW

Hannover: LWLLW

Last match

Brescia: Barceloneta 7-5 (away)

Hannover: OSC 13-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Hannover v Brescia 8-6

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“Here we are with another – the last – crucial step on the road to Genoa: for us, only the win is the good result and we absolutely want to get three points. Hannover is a hard opponent: the Germans have two dangerous centres, two great forwards like Radovic and Brguljan and a lot of experienced players. We have to pay a great attention to the whole game, making our best to keep a high rhythm and avoiding their 5m shots.”

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“We are in good shape, we have won the last match in the Champions League. Above all, last weekend we achieved a clear victory over Spandau and we won the German Cup. Happy to go to Italy to give our best.”

Aleksandar Radovic, player, Hannover:

“We want to finish this season in the Champions League on a high, with one more good game like we had against OSC Budapest. Also we want to be well prepared for the play-offs in the German Championships. Bresca is a great team with three fellow Montenegrin players and for them it is a very important game. They need to win for going to the Final8. I hope it will be a great game for both teams.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Brescia is a good team, they are the favourite at their pool. The game is certainly much more important for the Italians. For us, the game will be a very good and important preparation for the German championship.”

18.00 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Last 5 CHL matches

OSC: LLLLL

Partizan: LLLLL

Last match

OSC: Hannover 8-13 (away)

Partizan: Jug 8-10 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Partizan v OSC 7-11

Laszlo Toth, head coach, OSC:

“This is the last game in the Champions League in this season and this is our last chance to win at home. We know that the game against this team of Partizan will be much harder than we played in Belgrade last year. We will try to deliver what we practiced and that should help us in the Hungarian league play-offs to get the 3rd place.”

Kovacs Robert, assistant coach, OSC:

“As I said before these games – in the Champions League – we must use those as a preparation for the bronze medal matches in our league. Partizan is a very good and young team, they have lots of talented players. If we like to win we must play hard and concentrated from the very first second. I’m sure it will be a tough match.”

Gabor Hegedus, player, OSC:

“I expect a physically tiring and hard game against Partizan. They have a constantly improving young squad who are hungry for success. But this game has to be much more important for us. We need this success for a worthy closure and for our self-confidence as well.”

Stefan Ciric, head coach, Partizan:

“We are preparing for the final phase of the domestic league, a few very important games are ahead of us. On the other hand, we want to end this season’s Champions League with a nice game. In the 1st round, we played well against OSC in Belgrade, we lost the game in the last quarter. If we repeat that performance, we will enter an equal battle for the points.”

Group B

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

Last 5 CHL matches

Eger: WWWWL

Steaua: LWLWL

Last match

Eger: Recco 6-14 (away)

Steaua: Szolnok 9-17 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Steaua v Eger 3-8

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, ZF-Eger:

“We worked a lot for the second place in the group, and we would like to finish in the same position, so our goal is the victory. Besides we want to make happy our fans, we have to thank a lot for them in this season too.”

Adam Decker, player, ZF-Eger:

“I would like to play a great game after we lost against Szolnok in the semi-final of the Hungarian championship. Our goal is to stay in the second position of the group of course.”

Krisztian Bedo, player, ZF-Eger:

“We are better than Steaua, we have to demonstrate that. I’m very determined this time, because I could only watch the semi-final game against Szolnok from the stands, after my red card. I have to play on the highest level for the fans and for my teammates.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“We have to improve our game in defence. In the last games we conceded too many goals both in the Champions League and in the national championship. In our last appearance in Europe this season, we would like to display a good game in this competition that we have enjoyed so much and from which we have learned a lot.”

Ivan Buljubasic, player, Steaua:

“The only thing we have to do in this game is try to improve our game and to give our best. For us this will be a great preparation for our final against Oradea.”

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

Last 5 CHL matches

Szolnok: WWLWW

Sabadell: LLLWL

Last match

Szolnok: Steaua 17-9 (away)

Sabadell: Spandau 9-11 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Sabadell v Szolnok 5-16

Sandor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

It is obvious that we want to win this game, as we always do in any Champions League match. On one hand, it is very important that we play our best against the Spanish team. On the other hand, we will do our best to satisfy our fans on our last day at home in this competition.”

Bence Batori, player, Szolnok:

“We pulled off with a big win in Sabadell, but we should not consider that a basis for this game. Our opponent’s players swim a lot, they play intensely, which is the Spanish style, and it is not easy playing water polo against them. Anyway, we want to defeat Sabadell which is without a doubt a strong and well-structured team.”

Chava Gomez, head coach, Sabadell:

”Wednesday we’ll have our last Champions League match, apparently in the pool of the current European champion. We have our play-off in our national league the same week and this match has to serve us to prepare for our Sunday contest. We will try to finish the group stage with a good image.”

Jordi Mardones, goalkeeper, Sabadell:

“Finishing the group stage at the home of the current champion is an extra motivation for the whole team. We are going to try to give a good image although we know that we do not have any chance to advance to the Final Eight.”

19.30 Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

Last 5 CHL matches

Spandau: WLWLW

Jadran: LLWLW

Last match

Spandau: Sabadell 11-9 (away)

Jadran: Alphen 15-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Jadran v Spandau 11-5

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Even we are already qualified, we want to show a good game. We want to keep the points in Berlin. Jadran has shown a good performance in the prelims and I do expect a close game.”

Peter Rohle, team manager, Spandau:

“We have made the final step to Genoa so we have no pressure in this last game. However, I would like to see the three points remaining in Berlin. Finishing the qualification round and having 24 points would be a very good finishing point.”

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran:

“This will be last game for our team this season. We had a good season and we will give our best to achieve the best possible result in Berlin. Spandau is a very good team and they have confirmed that during the season.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran:

“This season has been an excellent experience for such young team as ours. Congratulation to the team of Spandau for qualifying for Final Eight. We will try to repeat the game we played in Herceg Novi with Spandau in which we did a very good job.”

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Last 5 CHL matches

Alphen: LLLLL

Recco: WWWW

Last match

Alphen: Jadran 7-15 (away)

Recco: Eger 14-6 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 1

Recco v Alphen 19-1

Nemanja Stevanovic, head coach, Alphen:

“This Champion League season brought us so much, big and though games, a lot of experience for the younger players, great for teambuilding when you are on the road with the whole team but in the end it made us stronger! This strength we need to use in the play-offs for the Dutch league, if we do that properly we will be the champion of the Netherlands.”

Jacopo Mandolini, player, Alphen:

“It’s a privilege for me but also for the team to play against Pro Recco, one of the best teams in the world. We are in the middle of our play-offs in the Dutch league so we can use this game to strengthen ourselves and prepare for next weekend semi-finals.”

Niccolo Figari, player, Pro Recco:

“There is nothing up for grabs, but it will be a useful game as a test for the finals. The aim, tomorrow, is to take as few goals as possible”.