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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 9 – Preview

Brescia eyes the second place, another ‘El Clasico’ in Croatia 

The clash of Brescia (ITA) and Barceloneta (ESP) might decide the second place in Group A, while in Group B the four top sides – chasing three available F8 spots – all face tough away tests, including Jug’s ‘El Clasico’ against fellow Croatian side Mladost.

 

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While Recco (ITA) is about to march on in Eger (HUN), the battle for the second place arrives to a crucial stage as Brescia takes on Barceloneta. The two sides drew in January and this showdown in Italy might be decisive in the hunt for the second place. Brescia has been enjoying some great form, is unbeaten since Day 2 and another home win would put them ahead of the Spaniards.

At the same time, Super Cup winner Ferencvaros (HUN), eyeing an easy win against bottom-ranked Zvezda (SRB), is set to close the gap on the top three sides too so there might be further twists in the race for these positions. In the fourth game Steaua (ROU) wishes to restore some pride against Dynamo (RUS) after their bad beating in Moscow.

In Group B the four top teams all face tricky away matches. Olympiacos (GRE) kicks off the round on Tuesday in Split (CRO), where Jadran upset BPM (ITA) in the last round. The Greeks could gain only a single point against Jug on the previous two game days and another loss in Croatia would threaten the title-holders not to make the F8 at all.

After a series of draws Szolnok (HUN) stepped up against Mladost and those two wins brought the 2017 champions back to life. However, this current trip to Hannover (GER) is another important chapter for the Magyars who cannot field their strongest line-up due to health problems. They drew with the Germans in Szolnok surprisingly, another loss of points would weaken their chances to return to this pool for the finals in June.

BPM is also on tour in Germany, they visit Berlin where Spandau is always ready to cause serious head-aches to any rival. The loss to Jadran was a blow for BPM but they still enjoy a four-point lead ahead of the winners of the last two editions, but to maintain that this is a must-win game for the Italians.

Though Jug dropped its first points in Piraeus three weeks ago, the Croats are still unbeaten and sit comfortably in the top seat. Now they stage another edition of the Croatian ‘El Clasico’ with Mladost, this time in Zagreb – for the hosts it seems a last chance to keep their F8 hopes alive.

Champions League, Day 9

Group A

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

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

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

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

Standings:

  1. Recco 24, 2. Barceloneta 19, 3. Brescia 17, 4. Ferencvaros 13, 5. Eger 12, 6. Dynamo 6, 7. Steaua 3, 8. Zvezda 0

 

Group B

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

17.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v BPM Busto Sport Management (ITA)

20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)

Standings:

1. Jug 22, 2. Busto BPM 16, 3. Olympiacos 12, 4. Szolnok 12, 4. Mladost 8, 6. Spandau 7, 7. Jadran 6, 8. Hannover 6

 

Group A

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

Recent form:

Eger: LLLWW

Recco: WWWWW

Last match:

Eger: 17-11 v Zvezda (home)

Recco: 11-6 v Dynamo (home)

Day 6:

Recco v Eger 17-7

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“We know that Pro Recco is one of the best teams on the world. It will be a really hard match, but at home we have to show 110%.”

Strahinja Rasovic, player, Eger:

“It’s a big match for us, a good game before the play-offs. We should play better then in the last match in Italy and we don’t want to give them an easy job in our pool.”

Tamas Gyarfas, player, Eger:

“The first leg was the worst possible against them, so we want to show that our team can play a better game. We are motivated, and we know, that we should achieve big feats in the Champions League. Why not against Recco?”

Marko Bijac, player, Pro Recco:

“It is always difficult to play in Hungary; Eger has a lot of talents and great players. The match we played in Bologna was easier than we expected, but for sure tomorrow they will play much better at home: they have chance to go in Hannover and will give the maximum to take points in their swimming pool.”

Dusan Mandic, player, Pro Recco:

“We know that tomorrow we will see another Eger respect to what we saw in Bologna: at home they are more aggressive and, for this reason, it isn’t an easy match.”

 

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

Recent form:

Steaua: LWLLL

Dynamo: WLWLL

Last match:

Steaua: 10-14 v Barceloneta (home)
Dynamo: 6-11 v Recco (away)

Day 6:

Dynamo v Steaua 16-4

Iosep Andrei, coach, Steaua:

“We have to demonstrate that the difference between us and Dynamo is not so big what the final result showed in Moscow.”

Uros Cuckovic, player, Steaua:

“For us every game in Champions League means a lot because we want to show that we have quality to play on this level. We had ups and downs during the season, but I believe in game against Dynamo at home that we can show our true face and play an interesting game until the end.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“With a good mood we go to Romania for a serious game. We will play against a strong team with a great coach. We have to earn points that’s why the game won’t be easy.”

Gavril Subotic, player, Dynamo:

“Steaua is good team. We beat them here in Moscow easily but I think that they will play much better in Bucharest. As we can see every team in our group had problems with them in Romania. But I believe in my team. We worked hard, we are in good shape and I believe in our victory.”

 

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

Recent form:

Brescia: WWDDW

Barceloneta: WLDWW

Last match:

Brescia: 10-5 v Ferencvaros (home)

Barceloneta: 14-10 v Steaua (away)

Day 6:

Barceloneta v Brescia 8-8

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“It will be a very hard challenge against Barceloneta: the Catalans play a very good water polo with their own definite style. They’re a well-tested group, with young players emerging and the superlative Perrone, for me, the best player in the world. Nevertheless, we absolutely want to prolong the series of good results, making our best to reach the second place in the ranking. We have to play very aggressive and I expect a very good performance from my team.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“There’s a very difficult match in a pool where it is very complicated to score points. Our aim is to fight for the three points and maintain the second position in the group. We know the difficulty because they are in a great moment of form as well as being a very compact team made up of great players of great experience. Even so, I trust in my team and I am convinced that if we play at a great level we can achieve a victory.”

 

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

Recent form:

FTC: LWWDL

Zvezda: LLLLL

Last match

FTC: 5-10 v Brescia (away)

Zvezda: 11-17 v Eger (away)

Day 6:

Zvezda v FTC 6-15

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“We know Zvezda is a young, passionate team that usually have a tight game against their opponents at least until half time, as we could see in Belgrade last time we played them. We need to concentrate from the first minute, get a few goals advantage as early as possible and keep the three points at home.”

Tamas Sedlmayer, player, FTC-Telekom:

“We are in the end of a physical preparation and this can be seen on our play. The game against Zvezda offers a good chance to return to our better form and we will use this game against them to develop some play elements what will be necessary in the coming games too.”

Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Zvezda:

“It will be a tough match against the Hungarian team but we have practiced a lot and I can say for sure that we have grown as a team so the game is going to be pretty interesting.”

Dusan Vasic, player, Zvezda:

“We hope we will finally bring some points to Belgrade. We have practiced a lot and we are prepared for the match. The Hungarians are very competitive team but we definitely have our chances.”

 

Group B

Tuesday

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

Recent form:

Jadran: WLLLW

Olympiacos: WDWLD

Last match:

Jadran: 12-9 v BPM (home)

Olympiacos: 10-10 v Jug (home)

Day 6:

Olympiacos v Jadran 13-7

Ivan Asic, coach, Jadran Split:

“We would have deserved to have at least a couple more points so far in the Champions League. It is not nice to lose, but in defeat you sometimes learn more then in the games you win. In our last match against Olympiacos we didn’t start well, they were leading 3-0 and it was hard to come back. They have great players in their roster, Greek national team players and three Croatians, Pavic, Buslje and Obradovic… It is a great challenge to show now that we can do better in front of our home crowd.”

Ivan Domagoj Zovic, player, Jadran:

“I’m really happy to be part of this Jadran team. After three years in Mladost now it is a privilege to play in my home team in the Champions League. For me and other young players this is a great experience. In Athens we were close to Olympiacos for three quarters, now we have to do better in Split.”

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“We continue in the Champions League with a difficult game in Croatia against Jadran. We come from a home draw against Jug and our goal is to return to gain positive results with an away win. We want to fight with concentration and seriousness from the beginning to the end and control the pace of the game.”

Manolis Mylonakis, player, Olympiacos:

“We are going to Croatia for a victory! They have narrowed the margins and we have to stay focused throughout the fight. In the game against Jadran we do not want to face a loss and we have to be very serious to make a good performance that will lead us to the desired away victory.”

 

Wednesday

17.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

Recent form:

Hannover: LLDLW

Szolnok: DDDWW

Last match:

Hannover: 11-7 v Spandau (home)

Szolnok: 11-8 v Mladost (away)

Day 6:

Szolnok v Hannover 10-10

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“Szolnok is alerted and will play differently than in Hungary. In addition, the Szolnok team needs these points to reach the Final8. It will be crucial for us to give our best in defence and we have to make use of the situations where we have a numerical advantage. When we are able to achieve this, it will be difficult for Szolnok to win the points.”

Aleksandar Radovic, player, Hannover:

“I think it will be a different game than in Szolnok. In the last two games in the Champions League they played very tough and excellent. They are a very good and competent team. Both teams have nearly the same chances to win this game. We will play and fight with all our power and force up to the final whistle.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Szolnok is a great team, with great players from the Serbian and Hungarian national team. We will play at home and with great discipline throughout the whole game. I believe we can achieve a good result.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“We are looking forward to a tough and important game. In Szolnok we played a draw with Hannover, they proved to be a good and well integrated team. Unfortunately we are struggling with a number of issues. We have several players in bad health conditions and with injuries. Gergo Zalanki, our wing who is also in the national team, cannot play for sure. In addition to all this we unexpectedly have been beaten last Saturday by the team of Debrecen. We have to learn our lessons from this defeat, we have to stand up and look forward. On Wednesday, we hope to see the real team of Szolnok again in the pool of Hannover.”

Istvan Gergely Kardos, goalkeeper, Szolnok:

“When in Szolnok, the German team has proved its skills in water polo, we have to take them seriously. Hannover will be in the finals as being the host of the Final Eight this year, therefore they are playing with no stake. Unfortunately on the past Saturday we had a game where we did not play as expected, we have lots of improvements to make. In the Champions League we have won our last two games and we will have to win against Hannover in order to sustain our plan to qualify for the finals.”

 

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v BPM Busto Sport Management (ITA)

Recent form:

Spandau: LDWLWL

BPM: LDWWL

Last match:

Spandau: 7-11 v Hannover (away)

BPM: 9-12 v Jadran (away)

Day 6:

BPM v Spandau 8-6

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau 04:

“To maintain our chance of taking a place in the Final Eight, we need to play 100% focused throughout the game. We have worked hard to correct the mistakes made against Hannover and want to show that. We also count on our home strength, supported and challenged by our fans, do we want to win and keep the points in Berlin.”

Marco Baldineti, coach, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“We have to recover after the bad game in the national championship against Syracuse. On Wednesday all of us hope to show a good game that will not necessarily mean to win, but at least to play better than we did last time.”

Giacomo Casalosa, player, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“On Wednesday we will go to Berlin with the right mood to play a very intense game against Spandau 04. For sure it will not be easy, but we will try to do our best to get a result, keep dreaming about the Final Eight.”

 

20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)

Recent form:

Mladost: LDLLL

Jug: WWWWD

Last match:

Mladost: 8-11 v Szolnok (home)

Jug: 10-10 v Olympiacos (away)

Day 6:

Jug v Mladost 14-11

Zoran Bajic, coach, Mladost:

“As during the whole season I am sure it will be a good game again and we won’t guess the final result till the very end of the game! The matches between us and VK Jug CO are the Croatian El Clasico and I am sure this will be an amazing one! I hope we will continue our way of playing and I hope we will get three points in the end. I am sure it will be a great game and I hope we will have good care from stands!”

Luka Bajic, player, Mladost:

“I am looking forward to playing with VK Jug CO. We know them, their strengths but also their weaknesses. It will be a very good game because this season we had really good games which were exciting till the very end! I hope this time we will use our home advantage and get all three points!”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“We want to extend our good performance in the CL and that means that we will do everything that we can to win against Mladost. We met them many times this season and every single match with them was very tight. No doubt that we have another one coming.”

Luka Loncar, player, Jug:

“We face a match against great team which we already played five times this season. They are physically very strong and our goal is to swim better then them. For us it is important to grab a win and secure our first position.”