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2020 Champions League Champions League 2020 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Preliminaries, Day 7 – preview

Monday Night fever with Olympiacos and Jug

In a special round beginning on Monday and finishing in the weekend, the game of Olympiacos Piraeus and Jug Dubrovnik stands out in Group A, while the all-­‐Hungarian clash of OSC and title-­‐holder Ferencvaros is the featured match in Group B.

Just five days after the previous round, five more games kick off the 7th round of the Champions League. The schedule of the group stage had long been set, the timing of the rounds is tend to respect the general water polo calendar and to avoid clashing with the football Champions League playing days. However, FINA’s decision to move the U20 junior World Championships to December from the original summer dates came much later – since many clubs field young talented players who should join their U20 national teams soon, LEN accepted their request to bring their matches forward to this Monday.

The big match in Group A will be played in Piraeus featuring the leaders of the group Olympiacos and Jug. The two sides also met in the 2016 final where Jug stunned the Greeks – and in the last season too when they had a thrilling 10-­‐10 draw in Piraeus and Jug won 10-­‐6 in Dubrovnik. It’s going to be a thrilling clash, Maro Jokovic joined the Greeks from Jug this summer while Paulo Obradovic returned to the Croats from Olympiacos – so there will be some extra flavour to enjoy.

Third ranked Barceloneta’s visit in Split also promises some exciting moments: Jadran managed to beat Jug earlier but recently – weakened by illnesses and injuries – suffered back-­‐to-­‐back defeats and it’s yet to be seen if they could recover from the last one at home against Jadran Carine.

In the meantime the Montenegrins, fresh from their 6-­‐goal triumph in Split, are eager to hunt down Sintez in their home, however, the Russians would also love to bounce back from their home loss to Spandau.

The Germans showed their strength and now faces Szolnok which went down in Dubrovnik and suffered an embarrassingly big defeat in the semis of the Hungarian Cup Saturday (against Ferencvaros). Szolnok now holds the 4th place, just four points ahead of Spandau so this encounter is crucial.

The Hungarian in-­‐house derby is the highlight in Group B – OSC and Ferencvaros are to play for the Hungarian Cup this Sunday (soon) and a week later will also go for the points in the Champions League. The title-­‐holder is still undefeated while OSC lost twice at home, a third one would definitely narrow the run for the top spot in the group to a two-­‐horse race between FTC and Recco.

The Italians face perhaps their easiest test, a home game against pointless Dinamo Tbilisi – while the Monday matches feature the teams going for the fourth qualifying spot. The battle of Mladost and Marseille will be a crucial one in this regard but after its surprising win in Marseille, Terrassa might also dream of the F8 berth, though playing in Hannover is never an easy task.

Champions League, Day 7

Group A

Monday, 9 December

18.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)

Friday, 13 December

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

Standings: 1. Olympiacos 16, 2. Jug 15, 3. Barceloneta 13, 4. Szolnok 9, 5.

Spandau 5, 6. Jadran Carine 4, 7. Jadran Split 4, 8. Sintez 3

Group B

Monday, 9 December

17.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v CN Terrassa (ESP)

19.00 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v CN Marseille (FRA)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)

Saturday, 14 December

19.00 A Híd-­‐OSC Budapest (HUN) v FTC-­‐Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Standings: 1. FTC 16, 2. Recco 14, 3. OSC 12, 4. Mladost 10, 5. Marseille 9, 6.

Terrassa 6, 7. Hannover 3, 8. Tbilisi 0

QUOTES

Group A

Monday, 9 December

18.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: WWWWD

Jug: WWLWW

Last round:

Olympiacos: 11-­‐11 v Barceloneta (away)

Jug: 14-­‐11 v Szolnok (home)

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“We play against Jug, one of the best clubs in Europe, which more or less have the same achievements in the past years as our team. We want to win this game, we want to play our game in front of our fans, in order to finish with a huge victory our year in the Champions League for 2019.”

Maro Jokovic, player, Olympiacos

“They are probably the best team in Europe at the moment, they’ve had a good season so far and I am sure that they will come here to win. They had great games against Kazan, Spandau and Szolnok. Jug is a very well organised team, tactically prepared and I am sure this will not be an easy game. But since we play at home, we have a small advantage over any team coming here. We already gained important points in Barcelona and Szolnok and if we win against Jug for sure we will make a huge step forward.”

Vjekoslav Kobešscak, head coach, Jug:

“We are playing in hardest pool in the world against a great opponent, leader of our group. Finish in the first place with a positive result, which means o point or three, would be big boost for us psychologically. Anyway, we’re looking forward for the big clash.”

Alex Papanastasiou, player, Jug:

“It’s going to be a very difficult game in a pool where is hard to play. We will try to give our best to finish this year in a positive way.”

Paulo Obradovic, player, Jug:

“We expect a very tough match. Olympiacos plays much better at home and it is difficult to play against them in Papastrateio. They are the favourites in this game but I think we have our chances. Personally, I am very happy to be back in Piraeus again.”

19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)

Recent form:

Jadran Carine: LLDLW

Sintez: LWLLL

Last round:

Jadran Carine: 12-­‐6 v Split (away)

Sintez: 11-­‐12 v Spandau (home)

Petar Radanovic, head coach, Jadran Carine:

“After an excellent game in Split on day 6, a new challenge is waiting us on Monday. The shape of team is improving and this game is a perfect opportunity for taking three more points. It will be not easy, Sintez is a good team, physically very strong. We are ready to give our best.”

Petar Tesanovic, goalkeeper, Jadran:

“In one week playing two games in the Champions League is very difficult. Our advantage is that we play at home. I hope we will be motivated as we were in Split and with a strong defence we will win. The game will be physically very difficult because all Russian teams play strong pressing. Our goal is clear, three more points.”

Aleksandr Eryshov, head coach, Sintez

“Everyone feels fine, everyone knows what is at stake. The recent games have been very difficult for us, and the one ahead of us is another difficult one. Jadran Carine is a strong team and we need to fight in order to win and halt our series of defeats. The whole team must look for the best moments, then we can gain our points. The main thing is to go out with the mood to win, play smartly and show your best game.”

Artem Odintsov, captain, Sintez:

“We feel good. We lost a few matches that we could have won, but sometimes this happens. Now we need to focus on the game with Jadran Carine. This is a great team, they have a lot of good players. We need to focus on our defence and not give them the opportunity to score easy goals. It will be a difficult match, but we are ready for this challenge.”

Friday, 13 December

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

Recent form:

Spandau: DLDLW

Szolnok: WLLWL

Last round:

Spandau: 12-­‐11 v Sintez (away)

Szolnok: 11-­‐14 v Jug (away)

QUOTES

Day 7

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Szolnok is a team with great playing experience and very strong defence. After many good moments this season, my team won its first game in. We want to take the momentum from there with us and give ourselves an early Christmas present on Friday. In order to realise this, we have to give a 100 % performance since are side is still not complete.“

Maurice Juengling, player, Spandau:

“After our first win in the Champions League this season, we would like to add another one at home of course. Szolnok is still one of the big teams in Europe, even though they lost a few players. I think it will be another very exciting game.“

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“Spandau has a history of being in the elite of water polo for dozens of years. Their game is tough and energetic and they are a challenging team in the pool. They have been playing as a team for years, with well trained German and foreign players on board. Without doubt, this encounter in Berlin is of great importance for us, we are four points ahead of Spandau. If we manage to win this coming Friday and in our home pool in February, we will gain a considerable advance ahead of them. Therefore our aim is to win both matches.”

Kristof Szatmari, player, Szolnok:

“Spandau is a well structured and strong team, especially dangerous in their home pool. They have German national team players and highly qualified foreign players, it’s always hard to play against them. Using a soccer phrase, we are expecting a 6-­‐point game in Berlin, where we want to gain points to reach our goals.”

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

Recent form:

Jadran: DLWLL

Barceloneta: LWWWD

Last round:

Jadran: 6-­‐12 v Jadran Carine (home)

Barceloneta: 11-­‐11 v Olympiacos (home)

Jesus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“The next match will be the last one of the first round before the break for the European Championship. It will be very difficult to play against Jadran Split, because playing away is always complicated and we keep in mind that Jadran beat Jug on the second day. On Tuesday we tied with Olympiacos at home so it’s very important for us to add three extra points. We will take a big step if