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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League Main Round D6 – Preview, LIVE TV & Results

The biggest Croatian derby kicks off the New Year

On Day 6 most of the favourites play at home but the race for the Final Eight positions are too tight so none of the big guns can afford any malfunctioning. Two matches deserve special attention, Barceloneta (ESP) meets Brescia (ITA) in Group A, they are on equal points now behind Recco (ITA). In Group B one of Europe’s most thrilling national derbies takes place in Dubrovnik where Jug has another all-Croatian showdown against Mladost.

LIVE STREAMING

 

 

The Christmas break might have an affect even on the most well-oiled machines so it will be interesting to see which teams will have problems with restarting the engines.

In Group A the game of Barceloneta and Brescia stands out, both sides had a great start, gained four wins and lost only to Recco that’s why this clash is already extremely important on the road to the Final Eight. The Italians upset the Spaniards twice in the last season so here nothing can be taken granted.

Leader Recco should march on against Eger – the Hungarians has a tough schedule as they lost to fellow side Ferencvaros in Budapest on Day 5, now they face the top favourite of the competition, again in an away game. On the contrary, the other Hungarian in the group, Super Cup winner Ferencvaros will travel to Belgrade where collecting three points against Crvena Zvezda looks like a compulsory routine for them.

Since the orthodox Christmas is just over, Dynamo Moscow (RUS) and Steaua (ROU) were allowed to play two days later on Friday: with only a single win in the first five rounds, this game is a last chance for both to reserve a slim chance to catch an F8 berth.

Group B has already been as hectic as it could be. Previously the four sides playing at home tomorrow were considered the group’s favourites but a couple of upsets, draws kept the field quite balanced behind the leading side, Jug. The Croats face another battle against local arch-rival Mladost, they closed 2018 with a cup final (Jug won 8-7) and open 2019 with a Champions League derby. Jug is set to maintain its clean sheet, while the Zagreb-based side would love to avoid a defeat to keep up with the others since here only the first three spots seem to grant access to the Final Eight.

Host Hannover might have to rely on the guaranteed berth even if they played a series of tight matches. The Germans now visit Szolnok, the Hungarians badly need a win as they could gain only two points in their last four matches.

Surprise team BPM Busto (ITA) returns home to rediscover the winning ways: after three straight victories they could get only one point on their ‘Tour de Croatia’ (lost to Jug, drew in Zagreb). Now they face Spandau (GER) which was on the rise in December, earning a point against Szolnok and beating Jadran on Day 5.

The third Croatian club, from Split, visits Piraeus where Olympiacos (GRE) is ready to go for another home win which is a must for the title-holder in order to stay on board in the group of stormy waters.

 

Champions League, Day 6

Group A

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v AN Brescia (ITA)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN)

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Friday

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

Standings:

  1. Recco 15, 2. Barceloneta 12, 3. 3. Brescia 12, 4. Ferencvaros 9, 5. Eger 6, 6. Dynamo 3, 7. Steaua 3, 8. Zvezda 0

Group B

18.00 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Spandau 04 (GER)

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Waspo Hannover (GER)

19.00 Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Standings:

1. Jug 15, 2. Busto BPM 10, 3. Olympiacos 8, 4. Mladost 8, 5. Szolnok 5, 6. Spandau 4. 7. Jadran 3, 8. Hannover 2

 

RESUME & QUOTES

Group A

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Recent form:

Barceloneta: WWWWL

Brescia: WLWWW

Last match:

Barceloneta: 11-15 v Recco (home)

Brescia: 10-8 v Dynamo (home)

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“We’re expecting a really tough match. Brescia is a perfectly trained team with some top-quality players and a lot of experience at international level. Last year we lost our matches against them in the group phase and this year will be even more difficult as they’ve been strengthened by the addition of two great players, Figlioli and Gallo. We’re playing at home and we’ve got to be strong because we really want to start the year with a win in front of our supporters and also hold on to second place in the group.”

Fran Fernandez, player, Barceloneta:

“In recent years, matches between CNAB and Brescia have always been real battles. The two teams have very different styles but both have top-quality players who are very experienced and professional. Having lost our two matches against them last season, we’re really fired up to win this time. We know how important it is to launch 2019 with a victory against a close rival and it’s vital to secure some points. We’re playing at home and we have to make sure we impose our style of play. I’m sure it’ll be a great match.”

Blai Mallarach, player, Barceloneta:

“The match against AN Brescia is going to be a complicated one because they’re a very well-established team. Although we’ll be playing at home, they know that these matches are the ones that’ll decide the team’s position in the group. They have players like Pietro Figlioli and Valentino Gallo, who bring their experience to the team, which is already a great unit thanks to playing together for years. Their goalkeeper, who is also on the Italian squad, as well as great players like Petar Muslim, who plays in the centre and Mladjan Janovic, who is a very dangerous attacker, are well worth watching. I think it’ll be a very interesting and exciting match for fans and ultimately it’s a vital match for fixing the final positions in the group.”

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“I think it will be a nice match, Barceloneta is a very good team with the best player of the moment. I refer to Felipe Perrone, and they also have an excellent coach Chus Martin; moreover, the Spaniards will play at home. As for us, we’re determined to consolidate our path in the Champions League and we’re ready to give our best. So both teams have great motivations.”

Marco Del Lungo, player, Brescia:

“We have to play strong and concentrated until the last second of the game. Barceloneta is very well-organised, with great individuals: we have to be patient, getting ready to strike at the right moment.”

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN)

Recent form:

Recco: WWWWW

Eger: LWWLL

Last match:

Recco: 15-11 v Barceloneta (away)

Eger: 9-16 v Ferencvaros (away)

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:

“The Christmas break will not help our performance, but we have started again to training hard. Soon, I’m sure, we will see the Pro Recco of the first two quarters in Barcelona. Eger is an opponent to face with seriousness and concentration, they have a complete roster with national players and strong shooters.”

Francesco Di Fulvio, player, Pro Recco:

“It will be a tough match, after the holidays no team is at the top of the form. Eger is an excellent squad, one of the strongest in Hungary even if they lost some players this summer. A battle awaits us.”

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“Our opponent and Ferencvaros are among the best teams in the Champions League. They have really strong and world-class players. I think they have a big chance to win this competition. Pro Recco will be at home, so the match will be more difficult for us.”

Barnabas Biros, player, Eger:

“It will be so difficult against Pro Recco, but will we do everything to play a good match. We are currently work on our fitness. I look forward to the match.”

Dominik Kurti, player, Eger:

“We had a strong week, we worked a lot. The Italian team is one of the best in the world, but our goal is to play a tight match.”

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Recent form:

Zvezda: LLLLL

FTC: WWLLW

Last match:

Zvezda: 3-8 v Steaua (away)

FTC: 16-9 v Eger (home)

Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Zvezda:

“We are looking forward to playing with the team of Ferencvaros. We expect a very exciting match. Even though they are great team we plan to give it all and hopefully bring home the victory.”

Kristijan Sulc, player, Zvezda:

“We are excited to face off the Hungarian team. We have spent a lot of time practising and we are certain that we will perform the best as we can. Potentially maybe even win.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“This is the first game in the New Year and it’s always hard to start playing after the festive season, but we need to beat Zvezda in Belgrade if we want achieve our goals this year to qualify to the F8.”

Stefan Mitrovic, player, FTC-Telekom:

“It’s nice to come home again on Christmas and play. This time against Red Star – the last time I played with them dates back to the 2012/13 season when I played for Partizan. I expect winning this game as Red Star players don’t have much experience on playing in the Champions League. The game will not be easy as this is our first week of training after the short rest we had, but I still think that we will take the points back to Budapest. I’m glad that Ferencvaros is in Belgrade so we can enjoy the Serbian cuisine and I’ll show the guys the best coffee shops in town:)”

Friday

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

Recent form:

Dynamo: LLLWL

Steaua: LLLLW

Last match:

Dynamo: 8-10 v Brescia (away)

Steaua: 8-3 v Zvezda (home)

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“The Champions League is coming again, in this new year. We did a great job and prepared well so we wait a great game against Steaua in Moscow.”

Roman Shepelev, player, Dynamo:

“Steaua is a great team, it force a fight against every rival. It is going to be a hard game for all four periods. We went to Hungary and had a good training camp there, we worked a lot on our tactics. The mood inside the team is good and we really wait this match.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“Dynamo is the favourite in this game, but we prepared well and we are confident that we can bring home a positive result.”

Mihai Dragusin, player, Steaua:

“The team is looking forward to playing against Dynamo Moscow. We have been preparing ourselves for this match both tactically and physically. We hope to prove this in the swimming pool and win the game.”

Group B

18.00 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Spandau 04 (GER)

Recent form:

BPM: WWWLD

Spandau: Spandau: LLLDW

Last match:

BPM: 7-7 v Mladost (away)

Spandau: 12-11 v Jadran (home)

Marco Baldineti, head coach, BPM Sport Management:

“It will be a difficult game against a very good team that has always done well in the Champions League and last year qualified for the Final Eight. Also it will be a tough match, because of a long break for the holidays. However, we are confident and we want to do our best.”

Giuseppe Valentino, player, BPM Sport Management:

“Another very difficult match awaits us against a very experienced team! At stake there are three very important points to be won. Of course, we want to defend the second place while they want to climb in the rankings. We need a good team performance, and we are ready to deliver that.”

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Even BPM does their fist season in the Champions-League they have already proven their potential. Four wins, one draw and one loss by one goal against Jug so far, do show, so it will be very hard to withstand the pressure in Italy. So far Sport Management is on a good way to enter the Final Eight. However, it is the first game for us in 2019 and we were more stable at the end of 2018 and were closer to our possible potential. Therefore I hope that we can start the new year by continuing our development.”

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Waspo Hannover (GER)

Recent form:

Szolnok: WLLDD

Hannover: DDLLL

Last match:

Szolnok: 9-9 v Olympiacos (home)

Hannover: 7-14 v Jug (home)

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“We had a little time to rest during the holiday season, we have freshened up a bit. We have been working continuously in the new year to be ready for the upcoming matches. We are facing another tough encounter as our next opponent will be the host of the Final Eight. The team of Hannover has not yet won any of their matches this season, nevertheless we should not underrate them, as they field experienced national and South Slavic players. We want to start off with a win this year.”

Gabor Kis, captain, Szolnok:

“We are facing another very important game. If we want to qualify for the final round we must win against Hannover. We will have to work hard for this win, it will not be easy. We are prepared for the game and I feel that we will gain our second victory.”

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“Here is 2019, our first game and not all players are on board. Though our team is big enough, let’s see what’s possible…”

Moritz Schenkel, player, Hannover:

“In 2019 it is important to improve our game, we have to develop our defence and minimise the number of our errors. With Szolnok a heavy opponent is waiting for us, we trained hard and we are well prepared for a great game.”

Alexander Radovic, player, Hannover:

“Szolnok has a good team, but did not play as well as expected this season… Above all we should take care of Prlainovic, Aleksic, Kiss, Zalanki, Nagy. They play at home, so I give them a small advantage…”

19.00 Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

Recent form:

Jug: WWWWW

Mladost: DWWLD

Last match:

Jug: 14-7 v Hannover (away)

Mladost: 7-7 v BPM (home)

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“After three clashes against Mladost in this season certainly we can say it will be tough game. In any case, we have great respect for Mladost and I hope we can play at the level we were in December.”

Xavi Garcia, player, Jug:

“The last game in the last year we played against Mladost in the final of the national cup here in Dubrovnik. We won 8-7 but it was very tough game like all the others against them this season. We know that this one also will be tough but we are playing in our courtyard and we need to use this advantage.”

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“In the last game of 2018 we played against Jug in the final of the Croatian Cup. The game was tie till its very end so we are sure this time it will be a good and interesting water polo match again. Jug is a very good team that we are really familiar with, so we will try to attack them and surprisingly to come home with three points and make our way to the Final Eight to make the ultimate goal for this part of the season.”

Ivan Buljubasic, player, Mladost:

“As the new year started, we are playing again another game with Jug. Every game till now was interesting and intense till the very end. They are in a little bit more comfort zone in this group so we will have to attack in order to be among those passengers who can travel to the Final 8 in Hannover.”

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: LDWWD

Jadran: LLLWL

Last match:

Olympiacos: 9-9 v Szolnok (away)

Jadran: 11-12 v Spandau (away)

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“In the first game of 2019 we want to start our European journey with a win in our home. Our opponent is very competitive so far and we need to pay attention to the approach of the game on our side. The first game of the year after the break always hides difficulties. Let’s show our character and quality!”

Alexandros Gounas, player, Olympiacos:

“At this level, there are no easy games. It’s even more so when you have to play against a team with such a history, coming from a country that has great tradition in water polo. We will give our best, as we always do, to win. In our home, with the help of our fans, we can beat every team!”

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We had only a few days off during the holidays, we have been back to the pool on time and we are looking forward to see how we are going to play against the title-holders. Olympiacos is a top European club, they are strong on every position and they have good Croatian players, goalkeeper Josip Pavic started to play in our club, he is ‘child of Jadran’. We saw each other this winter in the Jadran Split pool, but we won’t be friendly in the match, ha-ha-ha. They also have Croatian players Paulo Obradovic and Andro Buslje. We have a slight problem with Marin Delic, he is sick and won’t be ready to play. But we had a good spell at the end of the year and now we will see what we can do against such a big opponent as Olympiacos.”

Mate Anic, goalkeeper, Jadran:

“We had an emotional finish in the last year. We lost the Croatian Cup semi-final to Mladost Zagreb in a penalty shootout, but once again we showed in that game we are strong enough to play against everyone. Olympiacos is obviously a great team, but we are growing all the time. We have our centre Ivan Krapic now, he is back after a long absence because of the injury and we will be even stronger.”