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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 10 – Preview

One of the last two champions might fall 

All eyes are on Piraeus where the title-holder Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) and the 2017 champion Szolnok (HUN) clash in a match which might turn out to be a live-or-die encounter. Since only the top three can make the Final Eight from Group B, this is an absolutely crucial encounter for these two, seeded third and fourth respectively, currently with even points. The loser might find it difficult the catch up with the others in the remaining four rounds.

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In Group A the game of Recco (ITA) and Barceloneta (ESP) promises a brilliant battle, though unlike Olympiacos and Szolnok, these two sides should not worry about making the cut. Recco is in top form, just retained its Italian Cup title and ready to maintain its clean sheet in the League. At the same time, Barceloneta was badly beaten in the last round in Brescia (ITA) and another loss would threaten the Spaniards to slip back to the fourth places.

The other Friday match features an all-Hungarian clash which offers a last chance to host Eger to save some hopes to qualify. Ferencvaros looks much stronger, though, and another win might even put them on equal points with Barceloneta.

Brescia is on a tricky mission in Moscow (RUS). Though unlike last year Dynamo has already bowed out from the race to the finals, the Russians can still be a threat to anyone at home, even to Brescia which enjoys a 9-game unbeaten run in the League. In Belgrade Crvena Zvezda (SRB) also has a kind of last chance against 7th ranked Steaua (ROU) to earn its first points this season as in the last four rounds only tougher challenges await for the young Serbians.

In Group B the showdown of the champions is the absolute highlight. Olympiacos has a bit unbalanced season though the Greeks are still unbeaten at home (but won only one out of five away encounters). After a victory on Day 1 Szolnok had a five-game winless streak including a draw against the Greeks which saw a dramatic end with one goal apiece in the last 11 seconds. The Hungarians won their last three matches so they are definitely on the rise – so sheer excitements are guaranteed for Saturday afternoon.

Jug is set to go on winning against F8 host Hannover on Friday, while BPM (ITA) faces Mladost, that game also ended in a draw in Zagreb. For the Italian side the win is a must now since they face the champions of the last three editions (Jug, Szolnok, Olympiacos) on the remaining days. Jadran and Spandau have no hope left to go through so it’s a battle of prestige where the Croats looks for some revenge after their surprising loss in Berlin.

 

 

Champions League, Day 10 

Group A

Friday

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Saturday

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v AN Brescia (ITA)

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

Standings:

  1. Recco 27, 3. Brescia 20, 2. Barceloneta 19, 4. Ferencvaros 16, 5. Eger 12, 6. Dynamo 9, 7. Steaua 3, 8. Zvezda 0

 

Group B

Friday

20.30 Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Saturday

16.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Spandau 04 (GER)

20.30 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

Standings:

1. Jug 25, 2. BPM Busto 19, 3. Olympiacos 15, 4. Szolnok 15, 4. Mladost 8, 6. Spandau 7, 7. Jadran 6, 8. Hannover 6

 

QUOTES

Group A

Friday

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Recent from:

Recco: WWWWW

Barceloneta: LDWWL

Last match:

Recco: 16-7 v Eger (away)

Barceloneta: 8-14 v Brescia (away)

Day 5:

Barceloneta v Recco 11-15

Stefano Tempesti, player, Pro Recco:

“A hardened Barceloneta is waiting for us. They will want to show that there is no such gap we saw in the first match at their home, especially in the first two periods as we both aim to win the Champions League. We are playing in Turin, an exceptional host that has always responded very well to the big water polo events: it’s been sold out for days and I’m sure it will be another show for our sport and its lovers.”

Francesco Di Fulvio, player, Pro Recco:

“We’re back from a wonderful weekend that brought us the first title of the season, the Italian Cup, but the head is already on Friday: it will be a tough match, Barceloneta will arrive in Turin to score points. Being compared to Perrone? A great honour, he’s one of the strongest players in the world, I will put my determination to compensate for his experience.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“This week we have not been able to train together nor prepare this match for the commitments with the national team. In addition, Recco is proving to be in a great moment and come to this match after winning the Italian Cup in a convincing manner and this sets up a very difficult game for us. Our last match in the league against Brescia was the worst of the season and our intention is to improve our performance in this game where Recco is the favourite.”

Alvaro Granados, player, Barceloneta:

It’s going to be a difficult game as always, but as always, we will go forth to get the three points. Besides, it will also serve as an exam to see at what level we are.”

Fran Fernandez, player, Barceloneta:

“Playing against Pro Recco is always a great challenge. Not only because it is the most complete team that brings together many of the best players on the circuit, but also because they are in a great moment. Until today they have been intractable. We, after the bad taste the last defeat in Brescia left in us, we face the game with the desire to rediscover our best game and land a face-to-face fight. In order to remain competitive in this match, we will need to offer our best shape during all 32 minutes, contrary to what happened in our last match. This game will help us to know where we really are.”

 

18.30 FTC-Telekom (HUN) v ZF-Eger (HUN)

Recent form:

FTC: WWDLW

Eger: LLWWL

Last match:

FTC: 17-9 v Zvezda (home)

Eger: 7-16 v Recco (home)

Day 5:

FTC v Eger 16-9

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“This is the sixth time we meet Eger this season. We both know each other very well, we know it will be a tough game, but we need to collect these three points in order to reach our goals, to qualify to the F8!”

Aaron Younger, player, FTC-Telekom:

“The match against Eger is very important for us as winning this match realistically qualifies us into the Final8 and allows us to focus on the important Hungarian League games coming up. Although we have played Eger several times already and won each game, it is always very hard playing Eger in its home so we need to be fully prepared for a tough game.”

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“This is the 10th day of the Champions League, it means that this is the play-off from here to the Final8. Ferencvaros is a really strong team, one of the best in the world. We will be at home, so we have to show 110%.”

Bence Valics, goalie, Eger:

“FTC is the strongest team in Hungary right now and based on its roster, it is also one of the strongest in the Champions League. We played several games against them in this season but we are yet to beat them… That said, the last game we played against FTC in the Hungarian League showed some promising signs as we were neck-to-neck with them for three and a half quarters. They have a very strong counter-attacking game which creates a lot of opportunities early in their possessions. If we are able to stop their counters, I believe we will have a real chance of winning this time.”

 

Saturday

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Recent form:

Dynamo: LWLLW

Brescia: WDDWW

Last match:

Dynamo: 14-11 v Steaua (home)

Brescia: 14-8 v Barceloneta (home)

Day 5:

Brescia v Dynamo 10-8

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“At the moment Brescia is in the top three Champions League’s teams because of its line-up and the game which they show. This team has high quality now. But our team has our own strengths too. We will play in our pool with the strong support of our fans so we have to demonstrate our best. We expect a great game.”

Adel Latypov, player, Dynamo:

“We expect a good match against one of the best European teams. After its defeat from Recco in the final of the Italian Cup, Brescia will have incredible motivation. We’d like to see a great support of our fans.”

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“We are back from a hard defeat in the National Cup’s final, where we faced an excellent team who played an excellent game while we did not play as we can. But now there’s no time to regret: in Moscow we have a very important appointment, we want to reach the finals in the best position and we have to react immediately so we have to start again very strong. Dynamo is a very good team and we’ll do our best.”

 

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

Recent form:

Zvezda: LLLLL

Steaua: WLLLL

Last match:

Zvezda: 9-17 v FTC (away)

Steaua: 11-14 v Dynamo (home)

Day 5:

Steaua v Zvezda 8-3

Aleksandar Filipovic, head coach, Zvezda:

“We really respect the Romanian team, although they have good players and they are very difficult opponents we will do our best to gain our first points in the Champions League.”

Veljko Tankosic, player, Zvezda:

“Despite the fact that we’re still at the bottom of rankings it will be a battle, and we’re ready to face Steaua. It will be great to game in Belgrade in front of our crowd, and I believe we can win.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“My only concern at this moment is the team that I will field on Saturday, since I have five players with flu.”

Minhea Chioveanu, player, Steaua:

“We are going to Belgrade with confidence in our chances to win the match. At home we had a very good game, especially in defence, and if we can produce that quality again, I’m sure that we will come back with a victory.”

 

Group B

Friday

19.00 Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Recent form:

Jug: WWWDW

Hannover: LDLWL

Last match:

Jug: 11-5 v Mladost (away)

Hannover: 9-13 v Szolnok (home)

Day 5:

Hannover v Jug 7-14

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“Waspo has great individual quality but this season they play in everchanging form. For the third season we are playing in the same group and all our games was tough. This one will be the same. Hope we will continue with our winning streak.”

Hrvoje Benic, player, Jug:

“We beat them easily in Hannover but the one tomorrow is a completely new game. It’s not going to be easy and we must be on 100% if we want to win. I’m sure we can gain three points.”

Carsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“It’s not easy to play against Dubrovnik. And it will not be any easier if the game is in Dubrovnik. We will try our best…”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:

“I expect to see more from us, though Jug is a great team, for sure. We need to try to improve our man-up which was very bad in the last 4-5 games and we have to try to prevent the fast counters of Jug. All in all, we need to play better because at the end of the Champions League prelims we will play the Final Eight in our home pool and we need to become a team which is difficult to beat for everyone.”

 

Saturday

16.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: DWLDW

Szolnok: DDWWW

Last match:

Olympiacos: 8-3 v Jadran (away)

Szolnok: 13-9 v Hannover (away)

Day 5:

Szolnok v Olympiacos 9-9

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“The defences of both teams and the details in tactics are the two factors that will determine the final result of our game against Szolnok. The winner of this game will have a clear advantage in qualifying for the Final Eight.”

Konstantinos Mourikis, player, Olympiacos:

“We are preparing for one of the most important games of the season. The match against Szolnok is critical and we want to defend our home, in order to achieve a major victory. We want our fans to support us in our most critical match so far in the Champions League. Their presence always gives us an extra boost. We are the champions of Europe and we want to go back to the Final 8 in Hannover, to defend our title at the end.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“This game will be a great challenge for us as we are playing in the home pool of the title-holder Olympiacos. The outcome of the encounter is very important for both teams, given that we stand with equal number of points. We had two days to prepare for this game, as five of our players have been away with our national team. The good news is that Gergo Zalanki is healthy again, we can count on him too in this very important game. We are expecting to have a tough encounter, we will have to do our very best until the last minute for a good outcome.”

Viktor Nagy, goalkeeper, Szolnok:

“Two years ago we won 7-5 against Olympiacos in their home pool. I hope we will be successful this time as well. At our last encounter against the Greeks in Szolnok we lost two points with a goal in the last second of the game. Unfortunately we lost several points in the following games too. We will have to win if we want to live up to our plans and reach the finals.”

 

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Spandau 04 (GER)

Recent form:

Jadran: LLLWL

Spandau: WLWLL

Last match:

Jadran: 3-8 v Olympiacos (home)

Spandau: 8-13 v Busto (home)

Day 5:

Spandau v Jadran 12-11

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“My team is in good shape. We look forward to play once more against Spandau. We should have won the game in Germany, we were leading throughout the match, but we lost in the end. The Regional League has one more round until the end of the regular season, we clinched the spot in Final Four and now we have a part of season in front of us where every match is important, both in Regional League and then in Croatian Championships. In LEN Champions League we don’t have a chance to go in Final 8, but we want to be at our best in every match since we want to grow…”

Zvonimir Butic, player, Jadran:

“We have been preparing for the match against Spandau for the whole week. We analysed their game very well, and all of our players are healthy. We really should have won that game in Germany, but we started missing our chances near the end of the match. They converted their extra player shots, we missed two important of our own. But we feel confident that we can win this time, we did so against Hannover, we can do it again against the other German team in Split.”

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Jadran Split is a tough opponent especially when playing at home. They won against BPM Sport Management and have already caused problems for many other teams. Nevertheless, we want to play concentrated and have to give everything to keep our position in the table.”

 

BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

Recent form:

BPM: DWWLW

Mladost: DLLLL

Last match:

BPM: 13-8 v Spandau (away)

Mladost: 5-11 v Jug (home)

Day 5:

Mladost v BPM 7-7

Marco Baldineti, coach, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“We are going to meet a great team, a very strong opponent, that just has won the Adriatic League against the Jug Dubrovnik. There will be our ex-player Petkovic and for sure they want to do well. We have to play this game with a great determination as we did against Brescia in Bari in the Italian Cup. That was a big game, because in such games our team always manages to give something more and the guys have to do it also now against another very valuable opponent.”

Giuseppe Valentino, player Banco BPM Sport Management:

“We are all very focused and we know that this game is a very important because we cannot afford losing points at home. We have watched the first leg game, and we know it will be a very physical match. And certainly we have to pay attention to our former teammate Petkovic. Playing as the team must be our winning weapon.”

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“Even its hard at this point to think that we will qualify for the Final 8 in Hannover for sure we won’t stop playing the best way we can in all our remaining games. We know Sport Management from the game in Zagreb and we will use all tactical skills. We have to play a hard and good game and maybe we return home with three points.”

Ivan Marcelic, captain, Mladost:

“I am sure Sport Management will have great support in their home field and use all they can to win this game. We are familiar with their team from last game in Zagreb but also from all our analysis. I am sure we will use all our strength and their weakness to win this game. So I hope with a good play we can come home with three points in our pocket.”