Champions League, Season 2016-17, Draw – Dubrovnik (CRO)
Semis to be replayed in the prelims
Just as last year, the city of Dubrovnik hosted the Champions League draw for the preliminary rounds – this time on behalf of the proud title-holder team. Croatia’s top side, Jug won the trophy in June and will return to the battlefield from October. Rematches of the semifinal against Pro Recco already promise two outstanding clashes in the prelims.
Two unforgettable semifinals were among the highlights of the Final Six last June in Budapest (HUN) – and both will be replayed in the prelims as the draw for the next season (broadcasted live in prime time in the Croatian TV) sent the respective sides to the same groups in the Champions League.
Title-holder Jug Dubrovnik will play with previous year’s winner Pro Recco (ITA) in Group B – a couple of months ago a penalty shootout decided the outcome of their semis, where the Croats managed to upset the Italian giant and went on winning the competition for the fourth time in their history.
The other semi was just as thrilling, Olympiacos managed to score the game-winner in the very last second from a seemingly impossible situation, ousting the home favourite Hungarian side, Szolnok. These two might be the frontrunners in Group A, the Greeks lost a single match in the entire last season, unfortunately it was the final against Jug – they will have another shot for the title in the upcoming contests. Szolnok also eyes the trophy which they never won and so far they seem to have a somewhat easier route as they face Olympic Nice (FRA) and Spandau (GER), sides have never made the F6 so far.
The other group features Barceloneta (ESP) who reached the F6 last season (and won the cup in 2014) and the ever-dangerous Partizan Belgrade (SRB). Though the Olympic gold medallist Serbs usually play in foreign teams, the youth academy of Partizan always produces new talented youngsters – Jug and Recco will face a hard test, especially in Belgrade.
Of course, four more teams will join the two quartets – two apiece – at the end of the qualifications and a lot of strong clubs are seeking the berths in the prelims. Those surviving the tough three-round process will mean a pretty tough challenge for the teams already appearing in the current draw.
The qualifications will run from 30 September to 9 November, while the prelims are due to start on 30 November. The Final Six tournament will be hosted in Budapest again, on 25-27 May 2017.
One more draw was conducted alongside the beautiful Adriatic Sea on Tuesday evening, teams were sorted for the opening qualification round of the men’s Euro Cup (see below).
Champions League, Draw – Prelims
Olympiakos Piraeus (GRE)
Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)
Olympic Nice (FRA)
Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
Winner of match D (Qual)
Winner of match B (Qual)
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
Pro Recco (ITA)
CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
VK Partizan Belgrade (SRB)
Winner of match A (Qual)
Winner of match C (Qual)
Euro Cup – Qualification Round I
Group A to be played in Aix en Provence (FRA)
Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
Pays d’Aix Natation (FRA)
Shturm 2002 (RUS)
Group B to be played in Split (CRO)
FTC Budapest (HUN)
Bayer Uerdingen (GER)
POSK Split (CRO)
Group C to be played in Kosice (SVK)
Canottieri Napoli (ITA)
Primorac Kotor (MNE)
Hornets Kosice (SVK)
Group D to be played in Napoli (ITA)
Kinef Kirishi (RUS)
Posillipo Napoli (ITA)
OSC Potsdam (GER)
CN Terrassa (ESP)
First two seeded teams from each group will go through.