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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 13 – Preview & Quotes

A ‘live-or-die’ match for 2017 champion Szolnok against BPM

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It’s decision time, most of the open questions if not all could be settled on the penultimate day in the prelims. In Group A the second place is at stake for Brescia while visiting fellow Italian side Recco and Ferencvaros (HUN) needs a win against Steaua (ROU) to secure its F8 berth. The big match of the day in Group B will decide whether 2017 champion Szolnok (HUN) can still hope to make the finals or BPM (ITA) manages to take the last available spot as a newcomer.

In Group A Brescia should halt Recco’s unbeaten run in the Italian derby in order to keep its second position. Any other result than a win would drop them to the third place as Barceloneta (ESP) is set to gain three points at home against Zvezda (SRB). Ferencvaros needs a win against Steaua to secure their spot in the Final Eight – that should not be a challenge for the Super Cup winners. In case an upset, the Hungarians might get intro trouble as they would face a rocky closing round in Moscow – where Dynamo (RUS) will clash with Eger (HUN) for the 5th place on Wednesday.

Group B will see the most thrilling match of the day. Szolnok takes on BPM in a live-or-die scenario. The 2017 champions must win to keep their F8 hopes alive and would still need a ‘favour’ from Olympiacos (GRE) in the last round as the Greeks should also beat BPM. Provided the title-holders gain three points against Hannover (GER) in this round, the Greeks would secure their F8 spot already on Wednesday.

The round kicks off with an all-Croatian clash between Jug and Jadran. The hosts have had a lapse recently, lost in the Champions League for the first time in Szolnok, then suffered a stunning defeat from Mladost (CRO) in the Regional League final. Jug might not even need any more points to secure its top spot though, in case BPM loses one of its two remaining games. The loser of the encounter of Spandau (GER) and Mladost might finish bottom ranked so the prestige is at stake in Berlin.

 

Champions League, Day 13

Group A

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v ZF-Eger (HUN)

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

20.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Standings:

  1. Recco 36, 2. Brescia 26, 3. Barceloneta 25, 4. Ferencvaros 19, 5. Eger 15, 6. Dynamo 15, 7. Steaua 6, 8. Zvezda 0

 

Group B

Tuesday

19.00 Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Wednesday

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA)

19.00 Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Standings:

  1. Jug 29, 2. BPM Busto 26, 3. Olympiacos 24, 4. Szolnok 21, 5. Jadran 12, 6. Hannover 9, 7. Mladost 8, 8. Spandau 7

 

QUOTES

Group A

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v ZF-Eger (HUN)

Recent form:

Dynamo: LWWWL

Eger: WLLLW

Last match:

Dynamo: 9-13 v Barceloneta (away)

Eger: 13-11 v Steaua (away)

Day 2:

Eger v Dynamo 12-10

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“For us two home matches are left so we will try to please our devoted fans.”

Ivan Suchkov, player, Dynamo:

“Eger is a great team, it will be not an easy game. We lost a match in Hungary but we did a great work on our bugs so we tuned to win this game.” 

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“It will be really hard for us in Moscow, we know that they have a strong team. However, the goal is to show our best.”

Daniel Santa, player, Eger:

“We could win at home against them. If we can play our game, we will have the chance to take the victory.”

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

Recent form:

Barceloneta: WLLWW

Zvezda: LLLLL

Last match:

Barceloneta: 13-9 v Dynamo (home)

Zvezda: 9-13 v Brescia (home)

Day 2:

Zvezda v Barceloneta 3-14

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“With two rounds left and having already classified for the Final 8 on points, our goal now is to win these two games and fix our final classification in the group. We respect Crvena Zvezda a great deal, despite their lack of points, and we’ll go out to play expecting to push ourselves to our limits. In Europe there are no easy rivals.”

Felipe Perrone, player, Barceloneta:

“Wednesday’s game is fundamental for us if we want to have the chance of getting the second place in the group. It’s also an opportunity for us to continue making progress as a team. Crvena Zvezda is a young team but in some games they played at a very high level, so we need to be very focused and produce a good game to beat them.”

Fran Fernandez, player, Barceloneta:

“Having secured qualification for the Final 8, our goal now is to get second place. We can’t relax and continue in line with the last games. It’s also the last home game of the season and we want to thank our fans for their support by giving our best.”

Aleksandar Filipovic, head coach, Zvezda:

“Playing against Barceloneta will definitely be a challenge but we have been practicing a lot recently and I hope we could demonstrate that in the pool.”

Boris Popovic, player, Zvezda:

“It’s always a pleasure to play against such a great club as Barceloneta. We can always learn something new as well as improve our own game. It’s always a great experience.”

20.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest BA (ROU)

Recent from:

FTC: LWWLL

Steaua: LLWLL

Last match:

FTC: 7-13 v Recco (home)

Steaua: 11-13 v Eger (home)

Day 2:

Steaua v FTC 6-9

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“With all respect for our opponent, we need these three points to book our tickets to Hannover. Our goal is definitely to beat Steaua in the Komjadi Pool.”

Mark Kallay, player, FTC-Telekom:

“This is our chance to qualify for the Final 8, therefore the only option for us is to win the game. I think we are a better team than Steaua Bucharest, so we have to prove it once again. Reaching the Final 8 would be a great achievement for FTC so we want to grab this opportunity.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“It is a pity that we cannot put the best team in the water on Wednesday because of the injuries and illness but I am convinced that anyone entering the pool will give his best against one of the top class teams like Ferencvaros.”

Țic Marius, player, Steaua:

“We have two more games in Champions League and we want to finish this competition with our heads high. Ferencvaros is one of the best teams in the world, and this is a good opportunity for us to see where we are compared to top opponents.”

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Recent form:

Recco: WWWWW

Brescia: WWLWW

Last match:

Recco: 13-7 v FTC (away)

Brescia: 13-9 v Zvezda (away)

Day 2:

Brescia v Recco 8-9

Guillermo Molina, player, Pro Recco:

“We have already beaten Brescia three times this season, they will want to take revenge and keep the second position in the group: it will be a physical game, we have to play as well as we could.”

Luka Bukic, player, Pro Recco:

“A great game awaits us: the two best teams in Italy face each other. We have already played many times against them this season, we know each other very well. It will certainly be a tough challenge, but we hope to win.”

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“Wednesday’s result is very important for us, we have to keep the second position in the group. Recco hasn’t got this kind of problem, nevertheless we expect a very, very hard game. They are an amazing team and their efficiency has been extraordinary, the big victory against Ferencvaros is only the last demonstration of their strength. We have to do our best, giving 110 per cent in every moment of the match.”

Group B

Tuesday

19.00 Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Recent form:

Jug: DWWDL

Jadran: WLWLW

Last match:

Jug: 7-10 v Szolnok (away)

Jadran: 12-11 v Mladost (away)

Day 2:

Jadran v Jug 6-13

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“We are very close to the end of the competition and we need one more win to secure the first spot in our group. We had difficult last weekend in the Regional League and now we need to be much better if we want to win this game.”

Marko Macan, player, Jug:

“It’s another difficult game for us. We played badly last weekend in Zagreb and now we need to improve and win this match if we want to take first place in the group.”

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We have lost in Regional League to Mladost, now we are going to focus on this match against Jug CO. They are the favourites in their home ground. It is a pity that we had to play both our matches in Champions League in Dubrovnik, since our pool was not operating in the time of the second round. We want to play a good match before we play against them once more in weekend in Croatian League semi-final.”

Nikola Milardovic, player, Jadran:

“It is one more game where we can learn something. We had a good spell in the Champions League this year, we want to enjoy the remaining games ahead of us. Jug is the favourite, but we will try to surprise them.”

Wednesday

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA)

Recent form:

Szolnok: WWLWW

BPM: LWWDW

Last match:

Szolnok: 10-7 v Jug (home)

BPM: 12-7 v Hannover (home)

Day 2:

BPM v Szolnok 7-5

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“BPM Sport Management is a strong, good structured team. They have well qualified Italian players and foreigners in the team. They have a good position in group B, but we must beat them in order to carry on the hope that we can get into the Final 8. Good news is that Gábor Kis and Andrija Prlainovic are going to play after coming back from injuries. One thing is for sure: we are going to put all of our will and strength into the game.”

Gergely Kardos, goalkeeper, Szolnok:

“Busto Arsizio is playing a massive and dynamic game. We must play patiently and smart. I honestly hope that we can play against them the way we did against Dubrovnik. I am hopeful that we will play determined and will be able to win this encounter.”

Marco Baldineti, coach, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“It’s going to be at 90% decisive match for us. We are expecting a very difficult game against a very strong team, which beat Jug Dubrovnik 10-7 in the previous round. This is the result that proves their strength. But we will go there to play and to try to do our best for the result and then we will see. This will be one of the most difficult games, where there will be so many factors to deal with and it will not be enough just to play well, because there can be many decisive episodes. But we will go in Szolnok to do our best, as always.”

Cristiano Mirachi, player, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“Obviously it’s a very important match, even if in theory there is also the game in Athens against Olympiacos which could be decisive as well. Of course it would be nice to close down the open questions already tomorrow. The first game played at a particular time of the season. Now they are much more prepared and ready to fight against us. But we don’t feel any pressure also because we have done our maximum and we have shown our value throughout the entire season. We will try to show it again tomorrow because we want to qualify for the Final Eight. “ 

19.00 Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 (GER) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

Recent form:

Spandau: LLLLL

Mladost: LLLLL

Last match:

Spandau: 3-11 v Olympiacos (home)

Mladost: 11-12 v Jadran (home)

Day 2:

Mladost v Spandau 9-7

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau 04:

“Mladost has a first-class team including Milos Cuk and Cosmin Radu. Switching that team’s strength off only works when our players are fully involved and highly motivated. That must be our goal.”

Hagen Stamm, President, Spandau 04:

“We want to offer our home crowd a respectable performance in the last home match of the Champions League. That can only be a victory and a successful revenge for the 7-9 loss in the first leg. Mladost, as the results in the national league show, is on its way back to the national and international top and certainly wants to underline this in Berlin. The Croatians are probably not completely satisfied with their results in the Champions League either and although both teams are not having chances for the Final Eight anymore Mladost will not only come to Berlin to ‘swim off’ and I expect a game on a high class level.”

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“Even we lost the chance to go to the Final 8 in Hannover, we still want to end our Champions League campaign with best possible games and results. We know team Spandau04 from game in Zagreb and we will do our best to play a good and hard game so we can come back home with 3 points in our bag. I am sure it will be great and interesting game and we will do our best to win it like we did at home in Zagreb.””

Ivan Buljubasic, player, Mladost:

“Last time here in Zagreb we won 9-7 in a hard game against Spandau. We know how they are playing and what are theirs strengths and weaknesses so for sure we will use all we can to win the game in Berlin. I know it will not be an easy one and we will need to play really well but I hope that in the end we will win and end this Champions league season by winning last games in our group.”

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: DWWWW

Hannover: WLLWL

Last match:

Olympiacos: 11-3 v Spandau (away)

Hannover: 7-12 v BPM (away)

Day 2:

Hannover v Olympiacos 9-9

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

”Two games before the end of the preliminaries, two games away from the final stage of Hannover we welcome the host team of the Final8 in Piraeus. We only need a victory to ensure mathematically our presence in the Final8. Apart from the three points we need in this game, we want continue our good performances in order to please our fans! This game will be a game injection for our later presence in the final8 in June.”

Manolis Zerdevas, player, Olympiacos:

“It is a very important game for us and I am pleased to conclude with my debut with the red-white cap. With a victory in our home we also ensure the qualification in the Final8 mathematically, which is one of the main goals of the year. With the help of our fans we will give our best to get the desired result.”

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“It’s not easy to play in Piraeus against Olympiacos. We expect not so much, but we hope we can make some trouble and perhaps we reach an open game.”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:

“We played a big game in our home and took a point. We respect them a lot, so we can say that we need to give 100%, then we’ll see the result. But for sure Olympiacos is in this moment has a big advantage and the favourite to win this match.”