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2020 Champions League Champions League 2020 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 4 – Preview

Clash of champions and Croatian derby in the spotlight

The clash of two former champions, Szolnok (won in 2017) and Olympiacos (2018) is definitely the most-awaited match of the fourth round. The Croatian derby of Jadran Split and Jug Dubrovnik also promises something special.

The first day of the fourth round presents thrilling encounters. 2017 champion Szolnok takes on 2018 winner Olympiacos in the most highlighted match-up: the Hungarians lost to Barceloneta in the previous round and in order to keep up with the front-runners they would need a win against the Greeks. Last year’s runner up is 3 for 3 so far though neither of their last two home wins came in a convincing manner. Especially the one against Jadran Carine ten days ago suggested that Olympiacos was yet to reach the top shape.

Barceloneta faces a tough test in Kazan: the Russians seem to be more dangerous at home and a positive result would definitely boost their plan to clinch an F8 berth despite being a newcomer. The all-Croatian contest in Split offers no less excitement – though Jug is the definite favourite (beat Jadran with ease in the domestic competition two weeks ago) but in-house battles can draw surprising outcomes at any time.

The game in Berlin between Spandau and Jadran Carine might already be labelled as a live-or-die scenario – both sides seek its first win respectively and the loser would fall behind quite painfully.

In Group B, the three leaders have easy tasks at first glance. Title-holder FTC visits winless Dinamo in Tbilisi, the Hungarians, fresh from retaining the Super Cup in Marseille, are set to add their first away win after three straight home victories.

OSC opened its campaign with three wins too and they are definitely stronger than Marseille though the French just demonstrated against the fellow Magyar team in the Super Cup final that they were capable of causing head-aches as they held a four-goal lead before bowing to Ferencvaros.

Stunningly, Recco left valuable points in Zagreb in the third round so they need to be cautious in their next away match in Hannover. Still, they have some nice memories from the Final Eight in last May when they beat the host Germans 14-10 in the quarter-finals – a result would surely satisfy them again.

The brave boys of Mladost, grabbing a point in an incredible finish against Recco, are set to continue their adventures in Terrassa on Saturday. It’s a tricky tour, all in all, the Spaniards look to have more comfort playing at home and their win would somewhat devalue the Croats’ superb performance in the previous day – while a win would definitely put Mladost in the driving seat in the chase for the fourth F8 berth behind the top guys.

Champions League, Round 4

(all times are local)

Group A (Friday)

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

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

20.00 Sintez Kazan (RUS) v Zodiac Barceloneta (ESP)

Standings: 1. Olympiacos 9, 2. Jug 9, 3. Barceloneta 6, 4. Szolnok 6, 5. Sintez 3, 6. Spandau 1, 7. Jadran Split 1, 8. Jadran Carine 0

Group B (Saturday)

18.30 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Pro Recco (ITA)

19.00 CN Terrassa (ESP) v HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

20.30 A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)

Standings: 1. OSC 9, 2. FTC 9, 3. Recco 7, 4. Mladost 4, 5. Terrassa 3, 6. Marseille 3, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Tbilisi 0

 

QUOTES

Group A (Friday)

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

Day 1-3

Spandau: 8-11 v Barceloneta (home), 12-12 v Jadran (away), 7-12 v Jug (away)

Jadran Carine: 7-12 v Jug (home), 12-14 v Szolnok (home), 7-8 v Olympiacos (away)

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Jadran Carine played very well in its last match against Olympiacos. Especially goalkeeper Petar Tesanovic played fantastic. I work a lot with my team and you can see that we fully geared up for the season.”

Marin Restovic, player, Spandau:

“We play against a motivated rival with a lot of national team players. In the match against Olympiacos they showed that we have to take them seriously. But we are prepared for this match and we play home. We go into the game with a lot of confidence to get the three points.”

Petar Radanovic, head coach, Jadran Carine:

“We believe that we have a chance for a first win in the Champions League. Spandau is the great team but we have great motivation to get our first points. In the game with Olympiacos we confirmed that we have a very good young team and we can play even with everybody.”

Duro Radovic, player, Jadran Carine:

“We are ready and motivated before the game with Spandau. Their team is strong but I think that we can better them in this game and earn our first points. Being strong both in attacks and defence should be a recipe for the first win in the Champions League. Anyway, we are going to Berlin to give our best and to try to bring some points home.”

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Day 1-3

Jadran: 8-17 v Olympiacos (home), 12-12 v Spandau (home), 11-16 v Sintez (away)

Jug: 12-7 v Jadran HN (away), 15-13 v Barceloneta (home), 12-7 v Spandau (home)

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“Jug is one of the best teams in the world and of course a favourite to go to the Final Eight from this group. They have started the season in a really impressive way, but I hope that we can surprise them in front of our home crowd.”

Ante Viskovic, player, Jadran:

“Everyone who follows water polo knows what Jug stands for, so we must be on a really high level to play against them. But honestly, I think our team is better then our current results show. We have won one game against Jug last year, I’m convinced we can repeat that this time around. We are playing better in each game and we have our chances.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“We played against Jadran in the Regional League two weeks ago and we won easily but on Friday it will be a much harder match for us. However, our goal is the Final Eight tournament, so we need these three points to achieve that goal.”

Filip Krzic, player, Jug:

“Surely, it will be a tough match. We are in good shape in this period of the season and I hope we can take these three very important points.”

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

Day 1-3

Szolnok: 13-10 v Sintez (home), 14-12 v Jadran Carine (away), 10-14 v Barceloneta (away)

Olympiacos: 17-8 v Jadran Split (away), 10-8 v Sintez (home), 8-7 v Jadran Carine (home)

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“It is without a doubt that Olympiacos is one of the strongest and most successful teams in the continent. They won the Champions League in 2018 and claimed the silver medal last year. They have gone though some changes last summer, but they are still a very strong team. It is not by chance that they are yet to lose a point in this year’s prelims. We are preparing hard for the game, with no fear in us. There will be a lot of fans coming to the pool and we do not want to let them down so we promise to bring our best to this game.”

Kristof Varnai, player, Szolnok:

“We are expecting to have a tough and exciting encounter. We know that our opponent is very strong, well structured and very skilled. As we all know they have played for the title last year. We want to make an upset, we are training hard, watching videos and tactical schemes. We want to gain minimum one point against the Greek team.”

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“After three victorious games we travel to Szolnok. Our opponent wants the victory as much as we do. Both teams changed after the previous season but our characteristics have not changed. I expect a difficult game, to be determined by the defence and the proper management of the situations arising. I want my players to play without pressure and very passionate about winning.”

Konstantinos Genidounias, player, Olympiacos:

“It’s a crucial game against Szolnok. If we want to end on the 1st or 2nd place of the group, we have to win away against at least one or two strong opponents, one of which is Szolnok. We’re well prepared, we have experience from the past so we know how strong Szolnok is at home. We’ll fight for the best.”

20.00 Sintez Kazan (RUS) v Zodiac Barceloneta (ESP)

Day 1-3

Sintez: 10-13 v Szolnok (away), 8-10 v Olympiacos (away), 16-11 v Jadran (home)

Barceloneta: 11-8 v Spandau (away), 13-15 v Jug (away), 14-10 v Szolnok (home)

Artem Odintsov, captain, Sintez:

“This game against Zodiac is very important for us.  We will play with the favourite of our group and one of the best teams in Europe.  We will try to show our best game and make our fans happy.”

Aleksandr Eryshov, head coach, Sintez:

“We have a match against a very strong opponent. Zodiac is a strong team and I am sure the match will be interesting and exciting. This match will be held in our home pool and we would like to please our fans with a victory!”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“After beating Szolnok in our first home game we now face another two games away. Kazan has proved that it is a team difficult to beat – add that they’ll be playing in their home pool, so we need to play a great game if we want to get this victory. We have to keep in mind that they have high quality players and we’ll have to impose our rhythm of play throughout the game and make some improvements especially in defence.”

Felipe Perrone, captain, Barceloneta:

“The match with Kazan is very important for us. The teams in our group are very evenly matched and Kazan is a team with a lot of players from Russia’s national squad. They also have a coach who’s a water polo legend. Trips to Russia are never easy, they’re long and it will be a very complicated game, but we’re ready and looking for a win.”

Francisco Fernandez, player, Barceloneta

“Kazan’s pool is difficult for everyone and I dare say that all the teams are going to struggle to gain points there. If we want to have a chance to win we’ll have to play at a level that we haven’t yet reached, especially in defence. But if we manage to be true to our style and impose our game, we can find the winning option.”

Group B (Saturday)

18.30 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Day 1-3

Tbilisi: 5-9 v Terrassa (away), 11-21 v Mladost (away), 8-14 v OSC (home)

FTC: 15-12 v Hannover (home), 13-7 v Marseille (home), 17-11 v Terrassa (home)

Revaz Chomakhidze, head coach, Dinamo:

It’s another tough test for our team. FTC is last season’s Champions League winner, may be the best club in the world. We will have our plan for this game and try to play according to it and that will give to our team a good opportunity to improve in all aspect of the game.”

Sandro Adeishvili, player, Dinamo:

“This match is of great importance to me since it is my debut match in the Champion League and it is held at home. It is a great challenge for me to compete against the Champions League winner and the same time it is a challenge for our team as well.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“Tbilisi fans create a great atmosphere in their home pool and push their team strongly as we could see in their last game. We take this game seriously, we must collect the three points and remain unbeaten.”

Mark Kallay, player, FTC-Telekom

“Although the Super Cup victory was important for us and we had three days rest after that game, we travel to Georgia for three points. I think we are the better team, but like every time, it must be proved. I have never been to Tibilisi, so it looks like an interesting trip!”

19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Day 1-3

Hannover: 12-15 v FTC (away), 10-19 v OSC (away), 7-8 v Marseille (away)

Recco: 13-9 v Marseille (away), 15-5 v Terrassa (home), 11-11 v Mladost (away)

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“This is our first game with the complete roster and we have nothing to lose, so it is a pleasure to play against Recco.”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:

“A big game for us. A big team is coming with great players and a great coach. We can play without pressure. We try to limit the number of individual mistakes and to score easy goals.”

Edoardo Di Somma, player, Pro Recco:

“We want to resume our game after the draw in Zagreb. We know that a battle awaits us in Hanover, it’s their first home game and they will want to shine. We will have to be concentrated for all four quarters, this is the only way to take three points.”

19.00 CN Terrassa (ESP) v HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO)

Day 1-3

Terrassa: 9-5 v Tbilisi (home), 5-15 v Recco (away), 11-17 v FTC (away)

Mladost: 10-13 v OSC (away), 21-11 v Tbilisi (home), 11-11 v Recco (home)

Didac Cobacho, head coach, Terrassa:

“With the Saturday’s match against Mladost we bring the best water polo back to town, our second Champions League match at home. Mladost is a great team, one of the historic ones, with several continental titles in its list of honours. This is a team in a great shape as it arrives after getting a very meritorious draw against Pro Recco, a really big team. Mladost also has some experience with our league as their centre forward Josip Vrlic played in Barceloneta. They have another very powerful centre forward, Cosmin Radu, and great shooters such as Milos Cuk, Luka Bukic or the American Alexander Bowen. So this is a squad of high level. We will try to keep growing in this competition. We will try to take advantage of the fact that we play at home, we will try to give speed to the pace of the match and play with the intensity that has taken us to the group stage of the Champions League.”

Alberto Barroso, player, Terrassa:

“Mladost is a team that comes from a draw against Pro Recco, in fact almost beat them. For us, at home, it will be a very exciting game, which will allow us to continue with our progress of competing and learning. We must not forget that we are a team that debut at this stage of the Champions League and will face an experienced side in this competition. We must be able to absorb as much as we can from this type of encounters. The truth is that Mladost has a great squad. From the goalkeeper Ivan Marcelic to the last player they are all very good. They have Milos Cuk, a great shooter; Luka Bukic, an experienced player despite his young age; the American Bowen; the great centre forward who played in Barceloneta Josip Vrlic; and another quality centre forward as the Romanian Cosmin Radu. It will be a great game, very hard.”

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“We go to Barcelona with full respect of this new competitor in the Champions League. We are aware of a couple of very good individuals, but we are going there to collect points to reach the Final 8. So we will do our best to have a good game and come back home with three points in our bag.”

Lovre Milos, player, Mladost:

“They are a new team in the Champions League this year so we don’t know what to expect from them. However, we are preparing for a hard game and I think we are a better team and we should win this Saturday.”

20.30 A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)

Day 1-3

OSC: 13-10 v Mladost (home), 19-10 v Hannover (home), 14-8 v Tbilisi (away)

Marseille: 9-13 v Recco (home), 7-13 v FTC (away), 8-7 v Hannover (home)

Lajos Vad, head coach, OSC:

“We would like to win at home field to continue our good series!”

Robert Kovacs assistant coach, OSC:

“We receive a prestigious opponent on Saturday and we give respect to the team of Marseille! All our players are healthy, we don’t have any injuries and we’ve thoroughly prepared for this game.”

Sava Randjelovic, player, OSC:

“It’s going to be a really tough game. They have a strong team with good individuals, but we are preparing hard for this match. It won’t be easy, but we want to get three points at home. With support of our fans, I think that we can achieve this!”

Marc Amardeilh, head coach, Marseille:

“The OSC team is one of the favourites of our group to qualify to the Final 8. It’s a team of high quality. We want to play in our away match with the same energy as at home especially in defence – that will be one of the keys of the match for us.”

Ante Vukicevic, player Marseille:

“The team is very motivated to work and improve our game to a higher level. We are happy for playing two very good quarters against Ferencvaros in the Super Cup final but it’s also true that in the other two we didn’t play well. OSC is a big team but we believe that if we start the game the right way, if everyone is concentrated on his own task and trying to play better his role from the beginning till the end we can win this game and make a small step toward the Final 8.”