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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 11 – Preview

Recco is to confirm its top spot 

While the top spot and all four Final Eight places are set to be confirmed after Day 11 in Group A, in the other group more excitements are in sight. The big game between the first two seeded sides (Jug v BPM) is the highlight of the round and the desperate race for the last available berth between Olympiacos and Szolnok, winners of the last two editions, will also resume.

 

Live scoring – Play by play

Recco is expected to make it 11/11 in this round and that would secure their top spot in Group A, regardless of the outcome of the other games and the results of the remaining three rounds.

It’s also almost sure that the next three ranked teams will qualify for the F8 as well though their race for second position is wide open after Brescia’s shocking loss in Moscow on Day 10 (Dynamo reserved a mathematical chance to catch up with the top guys but it seems that this is just a late surge from the Russians).

The biggest clash of the day will take place in Barcelona where the Spaniards will try to recover from their bad run in Italy (lost in Brescia then to Recco) but it’s going to be a demanding task against Ferencvaros. In the autumn the two met just days after the Hungarians’ Super Cup triumph and Barceloneta managed to earn a fine win. Now the Spaniards would need some boost again, while Ferencvaros arrives from a less vitalising experience as their unbeaten run in the domestic league came to an end against Euro Cup semi-finalist OSC.

Brescia also looks for some fast treatment after they fell in Moscow. Eger seems to be an ideal partner for this as the other Hungarian club in this group seems to put the focus on their home tasks and gently let their Champions League campaign go.

In Group B the battle is just heating up as more showdowns between the top four teams are scheduled. In this round group-leader Jug and second seeded BPM will face off in Busto. Though Jug enjoys a 6-point lead but this can be halved on Wednesday and the Croats still have a tough visit to Szolnok so they cannot give away points for free. At the same time Busto seems to be in safe distance from Szolnok, but the Italians face the toughest schedule, now they take on Jug and they have appointments in Szolnok and in Piraeus on the last two days.

After edging out arch-rival Szolnok in a thrilling match in the last round, Olympiacos has another mountain to climb in its way. They travel to Zagreb where Mladost is eager to halt its losing streak which has got embarrassingly long (counts five matches now). The title-holder Greeks cannot afford losing the momentum they gained by beating Szolnok. The Hungarians try to hang on till the last moment, they now have a relatively easier task, though they drew with Spandau in Berlin on Day 4 – one of the draws from the earlier rounds which might cost them the F8 spot this season.

Final Eight-host Hannover tries to improve its not too impressive score-line against Jadran but the Croats had a better spell recently, winning two of their last three matches.

Group A

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

20.30 Steaua Bucharest B. A. (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN)

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Standings:

  1. Recco 30, 2. Brescia 20, 3. Barceloneta 19, 4. Ferencvaros 19, 5. Eger 12, 6. Dynamo 12, 7. Steaua 6, 8. Zvezda 0

Group B

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Spandau 04 (GER)

18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO)

19.00 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)

20.30 Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Standings:

1. Jug 28, 2. BPM Busto 22, 3. Olympiacos 18, 4. Szolnok 15, 5. Jadran 9, 6. Mladost 8, 7. Spandau 7, 8. Hannover 6

 

Group A 

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Recent form:

FTC: WDLWW

Barceloneta: DWWLL

Last match:

Barceloneta: 3-8 v Recco (away)

FTC: 12-9 v Eger (away)

Day 4:

FTC v Barceloneta 8-9

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“For me Ferencvaros is one of the favourites to win the Champions League. They’ve got some top quality players and we’ll have to be really on the ball if we want to win this game. We’re on level with them on points in the classification and both teams still need some extra points in order to get direct classification for the Final 8. We’re looking to play a good match at home in front of our supporters and to come away with the three points.”

Dani Lopez, goalie, Barceloneta:

“A very important game for us against one of the best teams in Europe. If we win, we’d be closer to our number one objective of the season, which is to play in the Final 8 again. This is the first of our three remaining home games which we need to use to secure a place in the finals.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“Barceloneta is one of the most tactical team in the Champions League. We lost three points at home against them, we want to regain these three points now.”

Slobodan Nikic, player, FTC-Telekom:

“Coming off a bad game against OSC we are really looking for improving our performance as a team. Barceloneta is a great team, especially at home, therefore we have a tough challenge ahead of us. Although it’ll be a great challenge we are focusing on our game and will give our best effort to win the match against a tough home crowd.”

20.30 Steaua Bucharest B. A. (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Recent from:

Steaua: LLLLW

Recco: WWWWW

Last match:

Steaua: 9-7 v Zvezda (away)

Recco: 8-3 v Barceloneta (home)

Day 4:

Recco v Steaua 19-7

Iosep Andrei, coach, Steaua:

“We are very excited to receive the most prestigious team and coach in the history of our sport in our pool. It is a great opportunity for our juniors, supporters and all who love water polo to see the best players in the world in person. We hope to have a good day and play at our highest level so the public can enjoy a great water polo spectacle.”

Mihnea Gheorghe, player, Steaua:

“We are aware that Pro Recco is one of the best teams in the League but we want to show once more that we have quality, we have character and we deserve to be in this competition. We will fight until the last second of the game and we will force them to give their best if they want to win in our home.”

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:

“By winning this game we would secure our first place mathematically, but beyond this, for us it will be a game like the others in which we want to play well to improve in the wake of the most important matches ahead of us. Our attention against Steaua will be focused on the defensive part; we made some mistakes in the last league game and we can’t afford those happening again.”

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN)

Recent form:

Brescia: DDWWL

Eger: LWWLL

Last match:

Brescia: 6-10 v Dynamo (away)

Eger: 9-12 v FTC (home)

Day 4:

Eger v Brescia 8-11

Alessandro Bovo, head coach:

“We expect a very hard challenge since Eger has a very good trainer and is a well-organised team with high level players. In Eger, the game was a balanced one and our goalkeeper’s performance made the difference. Now we’re more and more nearing the end of preliminary round and Wednesday’s match is very important: we have to give our best and gain three points.”

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“We know that they are a really strong team. At home, they can beat anyone. Their defeat in Moscow does not mean anything.”

Angelos Vlachopoulos, player, Eger:

“It will be a very difficult game for us against Brescia. They play tough in defence in their home and we have to take care of their counter attacks too. If we don’t receive easy goals we can stay in the game!”

20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Recent form:

Zvezda: LLLLL

Dynamo: WLLWW

Last match:

Zvezda: 7-9 v Steaua (home)

Dynamo: 10-6 v Brescia (home)

Day 4:

Dynamo v Zvezda 14-4

Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Zvezda:

“The game with the great Dynamo Moscow will be definitely a challenge for us. We have practiced a lot, and I’m sure we will give our best to keep home some points.”

Dusan Vasic, player, Zvezda:

“I’m excited to play again against Dynamo. We have learned a lot since our last match in Moscow, so I really think we can use both knowledge and the hard work in order to win.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“We will play against the representatives of the Serbian water polo school. Certainly this game won’t be easy but we were working well to show all our strengths.”

Evgeny Kostrov, player, Dynamo:

“We will meet a young Serbian team, whose players are very skilled technically. Our fighting spirit has to lead us from the very beginning of the game, so we can get the points we need so much.”

 

Group B

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Spandau 04 (GER)

Recent form:

Szolnok: DWWWL

Spandau: LWLLL

Last match:

Szolnok: 10-11 v Olympiacos (away)

Spandau: 8-14 v Jadran (away)

Day 4:

Spandau v Szolnok 9-9

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“We have been training hard for the upcoming encounters, fortunately we can count on all our team members. It is without a doubt that this game is of great significance, as we want to qualify for the finals. We are aware of the fact that our qualification for the next round is not fully in our hands. Therefore winning is the only acceptable outcome for us, which will not be an easy task as Spandau is an experienced team. We played a tie in Berlin, this time we have to win. We will have to play as if we were playing in the finals.”

Kristof Szatmari, player, Szolnok:

“We played a tie with Spandau in their home pool. Since then we have improved considerably in both the Champions League and the national championship. All of our upcoming games are utterly important, there is no room for mistakes. If we play with concentration all through the game, we will beat Spandau.”

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“We know that we are not the favourites in this game. Szolnok plays at an incredibly high level especially when they play at home. Nevertheless, we want to show our qualities and our strengths. When we play very focused we have a chance to go back home with a win.”

Peter Röhle, team manager, Spandau:

„If we take our chances in the offense, we can be successful in Szolnok.”

18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Recent form:

Hannover: DLWLL

Jadran: LLWLW

Last match:

Hannover: 7-18 v Jug (away)

Jadran: 14-8 v Spandau (home)

Day 4:

Jadran v Hannover 15-10

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“In Split we showed very different kind of faces, disciplined and strong versus later undisciplined and weak. For the next games we want to play disciplined at a high level all the time.”

Marin Ban, player, Hannover:

“I think that we are the favourites in this game. Although we have lost the game in Split, I am convinced that the next three points will be ours. We have great respect for Jadran Split, but the outcome of this game will depend how we will perform in the pool. I am happy that we will play against a team of my hometown so I will see my friends.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Jadran is a good team, which proved to be a good bet in the Champions League this season. I expect an interesting match. I believe that with our disciplined play we showed in many matches, we can achieve a positive result.”

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We don’t have Nathan Power for this game since he is in Australia playing in the World League qualifications. He will be back next week, but we are going to do everything to win without him. We won against Hannover in Split and they will try to hit back, even more because they have only a few points so far. But we are focusing on our strengths, every game is a story for itself. We must be aggressive, force our rhythm of the game, swim a lot and we can win this match.”

Ante Viskovic, player, Jadran:

“The time has come for our first historic away win in LEN Champions League. Hannover will surely be motivated to win in front of their home crowd, it will be a hard match, open until the last minutes. We are not under pressure, we won some games already, and on the other hand we can’t be among top three teams to go to the Final 8. So we are relaxed and are going to enjoy this last four matches in the Champions League.”

19.00 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)

Recent form:

BPM: WWLWW

Jug: WWDWW

Last match:

BPM: 12-9 v Mladost (home)

Jug: 18-7 v Hannover (home)

Day 4:

Jug v BPM 9-8

Marco Baldineti, coach, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“They had played a good first leg match against us, but I think even if it ended up in a draw we would not have stolen anything from them. They had been very aggressive and in the first two quarters we managed to surprise them, but then they adapted themselves and played a very physical game with a lot of pressing that in the end didn’t allow us to move. In the return match we are hoping that the rules will be adopted and that they will be not allowed to apply such strong physical pressure. Jug is an exceptional team, one of the biggest clubs in the world with a very good coach. It’s a club that every year, despite losing key players, manages to build a Team that is always very competitive. The main part of their team are also the players of the Croatian national team and surely they are very strong, and they have a couple of great left handed players.”

Jacopo Alesiani, player, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“Against Jug it will not be an easy game, but we all want to do our 101% to try to reach the best possible result. We are all very positive and at the same time concentrated and we already can’t wait for this game, we will do our best because we all want to continue believing in the Final Eight dream.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“The match between Jug and BPM, the first and second team in the group, will certainly be very difficult. BPM showed so far that they are deservedly sitting in the second place and it’s definitely going to be tough game.”

Daniil Merkulov, player, Jug:

“In order to win the game against BPM Sport Management we have to be strong, be fast and it’s still not going to be an easy game. It’s not easy to play in Italy because of the fans and atmosphere but we are playing better and better every game I hope we are going to win.”

20.30 Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Recent form:

Mladost: LLLLL

Olympiacos: WLDWW

Last match:

Mladost: 9-12 v BPM (away)

Olympiacos: 11-10 v Szolnok (home)

Day 4:

Olympiacos v Mladost 13-8

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“We have not secured our qualification in Hannover’s Final 8 yet. In Zagreb we want to have a good performance in another critical game for us and of course to gain the three points that will help us to achieve our target to qualify.”

Paulo Obradovic, player, Olympiacos:

“The last game against Szolnok, was very difficult as we were under high pressure. Despite of our victory we have not secured our qualification to the Final 8 yet. We are very well prepared for the game against Mladost, we need to win this, there is no room for a bad performance. We have to be very concentrated and focused in our game and we will do that – as I mentioned before, we are well prepared for this.”