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2020 Champions League Champions League 2020 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, Day 5 – Preview & Quotes

Recco is to maintain 33-game home run against title-holder FTC

In the highlighted clash of the 5th round 8-time winner Pro Recco faces title-holder FTC-Telekom. The Italians enjoy a 33-game unbeaten run at home since the autumn of 2013 but it’s going to be a tough test for them.

 

In Group A Olympiacos is set to march on after nail-biting wins over Jadran Carine and Szolnok – Spandau, despite earning two draws so far, might not be the first team to the halt the Greeks’ four-match winning streak.

Jug can recover from the shocking defeat in Split in the previous round and they are on their way thanks to a fine win over home arch-rival Mladost in the domestic competition. Here Sintez would need something special to stay close to the Croats in their home pool.

Jadran caused the biggest upset in this group so far by catching Jug on Day 4 and another win would definitely place them among the top contenders for the F8 berth. However, they miss five key players now and even if Szolnok is in the middle of a bad series (back-to-back losses to Barceloneta and Olympiacos, a big defeat against Ferencvaros in the home league), the weakened line-up may prevent the Croats from bringing down another favourite.

Though Jadran Carine earned its first point in Berlin, this time the young Montenegrins face another uphill battle against Barceloneta.

The big game of this round is coming in Group B where 8-time winner Recco, bronze medallist last season, has another showdown with title-holder Ferencvaros. While last year their matches were somewhat one-sided (Recco won 13-7 and 9-6), this Wednesday might see a different encounter. Still, beating Recco in its home requires a hell of effort: the last time the Italian giant lost a home game dates back to the autumn of 2013 when Primorje Rijeka won 8-6. Since then Recco has been 33 for 33 as a host despite staging the matches in different venues in order to promote water polo – this week Bologna will welcome this outstanding battle.

The other Hungarian side OSC was upset in the previous round by Marseille and the Budapest boys would need to bounce back in Terrassa which doesn’t seem to be an easy task.

At the same time the two teams getting hungrier and eying the F8 spots after delivering surprising results (Mladost tied with Recco, Marseille won in Budapest) play at home with the two winless rivals in the group and both can add three more points to further boost their chances. Though Mladost needs to be cautious as Hannover earned an 11-11 draw last season and beat them badly 14-9 at home.

Group A (Tuesday)

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Jadran Split (CRO)

19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (CRO) Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)

20.30 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)

Standings: 1. Olympiacos 12, 2. Jug 9, 3. Barceloneta 9, 4. Szolnok 6, 5. Jadran Split 4, 6. Sintez 3, 7. Spandau 2, 8. Jadran Carine 1

Group B (Wednesday)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

20.30 CN Terrassa (ESP) v A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN)

20.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)

20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Standings: 1. FTC 12, 2. Recco 10, 3. OSC 9, 4. Mladost 7, 5. Marseille 6, 6. Terrassa 3, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Tbilisi 0

 

QUOTES

 

Group A (Tuesday)

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Recent form:

Szolnok: WWLL

Jadran: LDLW

Last round:

Szolnok: 7-8 v Olympiacos (home)

Jadran: 12-11 v Jug (home)

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“We know that there are no easy opponents in the Champions League, Jadran proved to be a good team last year and as a further a proof for this, they have defeated Jug Dubrovnik recently. They are a firm team with good players in all positions. We are in the midst of a hard series of games, we are concentrating on preparing for this very important one. Obviously, it is our intention to beat Jadran.”

Andras Teleki, player, Szolnok:

We have had two very tough games with Jadran last year, it will be no otherwise this time. Jadran will be full of energy as they defeated Jug Dubrovnik in the last round. Certainly, there are no weak teams in the Champions League, we have to give our maximum in all games. The last two rounds did not turn out as we wished. Our most important task is to do our maximum in defence. We want to gain three points since we need this victory very much, as we will have away matches in the following two rounds.

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We are in a very bad position since we are going on a trip without five important players. Setka and Krapic are injured, Buric and Butic are ill, and Zovic has some personal issues to deal with. But we are going to fight hard and try to do our best with the players we have.”

Antonio Duzevic, player, Jadran:

“We won against Budva on Saturday, now we are without some key players, but we will not surrender. We also have Croatian Cup semi-final on Saturday, so this is a start of big week for us.”

19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (CRO) Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Recent form:

Jadran Carine: LLLD

Barceloneta: WLWW

Last round:

Jadran Carine: 9-9 v Spandau (away)

Barceloneta: 20-12 v Sintez (home)

Petar Radanovic, head coach, Jadran Carine:

“Barceloneta is one of the best teams in this current season. They play beautiful water polo with lot of mobility and a great deal of swimming. Hope we will be able to impose our style of play, resist them and defend well on their centre-forwards who are extremely strong, and they also have excellent shooters like Milan Aleksic and Felipe Perrone. Defence will be the key of our success, we will do our best that’s for sure.”

Marino Cagalj, player, Jadran Carine:

“Barceloneta is a top team, almost every year they are in the Champions League semi finals so they are the favourites in this game. We play at home and we have to play in every game as well as possible  and to try to win, especially at home. We are ready for this challenge, without any pressure.”

Jesus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“Jadran Carine is proving to be a very competitive team. Although it has only one point, he has been playing at a very good level. In its pool it will be very difficult to beat them and we will have to play a great game to earn a victory. We want to continue at the top of the classification and we are prepared for a tough battle.”

Dani Lopez, goalie, Barceloneta:

“Playing away from home is always hard. As of now, the situation of Jadran Carine with one point is difficult so I expect to see a team in the need to add a victory. We have nine points and our idea is the same, to add a victory in order to keep the second position in the classification, tied with Jug. Jadran Carine is a great team with great players and we must play at our highest level if we want to win in Montenegro.”

Marc Larumbe, player, Barceloneta:

“We have lost only one match and for that reason we are highly motivated to take up another great game in Montenegro. Another victory will let us approach the next game, a very difficult one against Olympiacos, with an even greater emphasis and much more confidence.”

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: WWWW

Spandau: LDLD

Last round:

Olympiacos: 8-7 v Szolnok (away)

Spandau: 9-9 v Jadran Carine (home)

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“After an important away win that we achieved the previous week, we face Spandau, a team being capable of everything. They always play for the win until the last minute of the game and is more experienced and knit each year. We want to stay unbeaten at home by playing a very good game, imposing our pace from start to finish.”

Alexandros Gounas, player, Olympiacos:

“We come from the away match with Vouliagmeni at the home competitions, but we need to leave that behind. Our focus is now on the important match that follows with Spandau, which we want to win at home in order to continue our good run in the competition.”

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“It’s always difficult to win in Piraeus. My team has shown different faces in the last games. I expect their performance to adapt to the excellent weather conditions in Greece. It would be great to get some sunshine on the points account too.”

Maurice Juengling, player, Spandau:

“Olympiacos may have given up players, but it is still very well staffed, with many national players from the major water polo nations. They are one of the top favourites for the title and have proven in recent years that they are among the top sides in Europe.  We know what it’s like to play in Piraeus because we’ve often been in the same group in the last few years. We don’t go there as a favourite, but we are not afraid because we know our qualities. We only have to play our game for 4 x 8 minutes. And as a player at Spandau 04, you grow up with the attitude of playing to win every game, whether it’s in the national league or the Champions League.”

Dmitrii Kholod, player, Spandau:

“Olympiacos is a top experienced team, used to winning their home games. We have to be focused and motivated to be able to make the most of our opportunities. I have settled in my new team in the best possible way and I know that we do have opportunities for a surprise.”

20.30 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)

Recent form:

Jug: WWWL

Sintez: LLWL

Last round:

Jug: 11-12 v Jadran (away)

Sintez: 12-20 v Barceloneta (home)

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“It’s going to be a hard match. Our team is full of confidence after a great win over Mladost last week and we expect to continue our positive strike and add three points.”

Luka Loncar, player, Jug:

“Sintez is a very good team and we expect a tough game but I think we are the better team and are in good shape at this time of the season.”

Aleksandr Eryshov, head coach, Sintez:

“Our next rival is the team Jug which is a very serious opponent. We have prepared for this match and we have a plan and we will try to impose our game on Jug.”

Artem Odintsov, captain, Sintez:

“We had a good preparation before the match against Jug. Jug is a strong opponent and above all everything will depend on how we play in defence. We have to help each other. And, of course, in the offensive part it’s important how we move the ball, and how much we trust each other.”

Group B (Wednesday)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Recent form:

Recco: WWDW

FTC: WWWW

Last round:

Recco: 21-13 v Hannover (away)

FTC: 15-10 v Tbilisi (away)

Ratko Rudic, head coach, Pro Recco:

“It will be a test match for us: I want to see quality of play, right behaviour and a positive result. I know that a win on Wednesday counts relatively because the crucial moment will be in June, but we would like to have a great performance and overtake Ferencvaros in the rankings.”

Aleksandar Ivovic, captain, Pro Recco:

“A fantastic and tough match awaits us: we face the European champions who are even stronger than last year. They have great shooters in every position and to win we will have to show all our potential, which for the moment we have not yet done. I’m sure Bologna fans will give us a hand, more than one thousand tickets sold in a few days to demonstrate the high expectations. We play in a wonderful pool, one of the best in Italy for water polo, and the atmosphere last year was incredible.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“Pro Recco is still one of the best teams in the world. I want my players to play without pressure, it’s a good possibility to assess where we are at this phase of the season.”

Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, player, FTC-Telekom:

“We are looking forward to play against Recco. We have been preparing and we are exited for the opportunity. I think it will be an high quality water polo game.”

20.30 CN Terrassa (ESP) v A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN)

Recent form:

Terrassa: WLLL

OSC: WWWL

Last round:

Terrassa: 11-14 v Mladost (home)

Didac Cobacho, head coach, Terrassa:

“Again we have the opportunity to play against one of the great teams in Europe, OSC Budapest, a team we already know from last season, as we played in the quarterfinals of the Euro Cup. OSC maintains the same roster of last season, with a luxury addition, the Serbian Andrija Prlainovic, a great offensive player with a great shot. They have a great defence and they have the Serbian national team goalkeeper Mitrovic. As always, we will try to compete with these great teams, especially at home. Let’s see if we can play a great game and keep composed in defence. It will also be a chance to regain the good feeling after our defeat in the Spanish league last Saturday.”

Oscar Aguilar, player, Terrassa:

“OSC is a favourite team to qualify for the Final Eight, to be among the top three in this group. We are excited to return to play a Champions League game at home, in front of our people, with the intention of creating a surprise. We saw that on the previous day when Marseille won in the pool of the OSC, so we expect a rival somewhat wounded, eager to recover from the blow. We want our pool to be a fortress, we want the teams to suffer a little, at least for three periods, so that the match is decided in the last quarter, in an equal outcome that offers us a chance to win. Last year we already had a good result, a draw in the first leg of the Euro Cup quarterfinals. The match will be very tough, but we will try to stand up, adjusting some things that we need to improve. And it is at home where we must put that into practice, here we must be stronger than in the away games.”

Lajos Vad, head coach, OSC:

“After our loss to Marseille we need even more these three points.”

Branislav Mitrovic, goalie, OSC:

“After losing against Marseille we go now to Terassa. This is the one of the hardest home pools, we had a tough game last year in the Euro Cup. Terassa is a typical Spanish team with a lot of motivated, very good local players. I expect a very hard match but I believe in my team.”

20.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)

Recent form:

Marseille: LLWW

Tbilisi: LLLL

Last round:

Marseille: 13-10 v OSC (away)

Tbilisi: 10-15 v FTC (home)

Marc Amardeilh, head coach, Marseille:

“We wish to add a second victory after the good result against OSC Budapest. We want to live our first victory at home in front of our public but we need to be very serious in the whole match against Dinamo Tbilisi if we want to win.”

Milos Scepanovic, goalie, Marseille:

“The next two matches are the most important for our team, especially after the glorious victory against OSC. To give real value to these huge three points we need to continue to win games at home. I believe that we will manage to maintain our concentration and motivation for the next match against Dinamo Tbilisi. We need to respect everyone and we must consider every gained point like a huge feat. If we manage to win those games we’ll be present in the fight for the Final Eight, which, I believe, is a huge success for our team, no matter if we finally reach the finals or not. Dinamo Tbilisi is the national team of Georgia, reinforced with several foreign players and they deserve all our attention. We’re doing all to prepare that match in a good way and I believe, with the support of our fans, we can have a home victory.”

Revaz Chomakhidze, head coach, Dinamo:

“Any game in this competition is a serious test for our team. I’m sure it will also be the case in Marseille. They had a very successful game in Budapest, this makes our task even more difficult. In any case, I think we had some progress in the last rounds, and as in every game, we will try to show our maximum.”

Nikoloz Shubladze, player, Dinamo:

“Our team gains great experience in every game. This time we will play with a well-prepared and well-balanced team. It’s always hard to play away, but we will give our maximum to get our first points in the Champions League.”

20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Recent form:

Mladost: LWDW

Hannover: LLLL

Last round:

Mladost: 14-11 v Terrassa (away)

Hannover: 13-21 v Recco (home)

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“We know the team of Waspo from last season and we respect them like all teams in league. We will have a good game and in our home we will win and get these important three points.“

Lovre Milos, player, Mladost:

”They form a good team but we will do our best to win this game at our home pool. We hope people will come and enjoy great water polo. “

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“It is our fourth away game and a difficult one, too. Mladost have achieved very good results, especially at home. If we want to have a chance we need a focused performance in defence and offence during the whole 32 minutes. We will fight for a chance.”

Aleksander Radovic, player, Hannover:

“They are a complete team with two really good centres in Europe. Playing in Zagreb is always a special occasion. Against Recco they have indicated that in this competition you can win at home against anyone.  It will not be easy for us, but we don’t want to lose.”