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2017 Champions L. 2017 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League F6, Preview, Day 2 – Semi-Final 1

 

19.00 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA)

  • This is the clash of respective winners of the last two seasons: Jug won in 2016, Recco in 2015.
  • The two sides meet regularly on the big stage. Last year they also clashed in the semis here in Budapest, that time Jug upset Recco. Though the Croats seemed a sure winner as they led 10-8 with 39 seconds to go, Recco managed to equalise after some hotly disputed events but Jug still prevailed in the penalty shootout.
  • For the third consecutive year, the rivals already met in the prelims. Recco won both encounters with ease, won 8-11 in Dubrovnik (led 5-11 before the last quarter) and 9-5 at home.
  • In the 2015-2016 season Recco won 14-6 at home and had a 5-5 tie in Croatia. It was even more balanced a year earlier when Jug won 8-7 and Recco hit back with a 12-10 win in Sori.
  • The two sides contested the Champions League final on three straight occasions (that time in Final Four format): Jug won 9-7 in Dubrovnik 2006, Recco won the next two, 9-8 in Milan 2007 and 13-12 (in extra time) in Barcelona 2008. Recco won 9-6 in the semis in 2009.
  • Recco lost a single game in this season, it happened against Brescia in the regular season of the Italian championship, right after they managed to break the record of the longest winning streak in the domestic league with 73 straight wins. Later they beat their arch-rivals in the championship final with ease (13-6).
  • Recco posted a perfect 10/10 scoreline in the Champions League prelims. The last time they managed to achieve a clean sheet happened in 2015 when they went on winning the trophy.
  • Jug made 5-2-3 in the prelims, including a surprising 15-15 tie with Hannover in Dubrovnik (though Jug came back from 7-11 down in the last period which ended in an amazing 9-5 partial result). Besides losing to Recco twice, they also fell to Eger on the last day.
  • Recco is a club of records. By winning in 2015 they grabbed the first place on the all-time ranks in the Champions League with 8 titles. They also have the most appearances in the finals, 14 (8-time winner, 6-time runner-up). Recco’s first triumph came 52 years ago, in 1965, and followed by wins in 1984, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2015. As their website proudly states: ‘The water polo club with the most titles’.
  • This is Recco’s 13th appearance in the Final Six/Four since 2003 (twice they didn’t enter the competition), made the last stage more than any other clubs since the Final Four/Six format was inaugurated in 1997. On the previous 12 occasions they won 6 times, were runners-up 3 times, once they came 3rd, once 4th (last year) and once 6th. Between 2006 and 2012 Recco reached 7 straight finals, winning 4 and losing 3.
  • Recco is absolutely superior in Italy, they won their 12th consecutive championship gold and have 31 titles under their belt. The first came in 1960.
  • Jug also has a rich history in the Champions League: they clinched the title 4 times (1981, 2001, 2006 – all in finals held in Dubrovnik and 2016 in Budapest), were runners-up also 3 times (2007, 2008, 2013) and reached the Final Four/Six 11 times altogether since they first made it in 2001. Between 2005 and 2010 they were part of the show in 6 straight occasions.
  • Jug won the Croatian/Yugoslavian championships 33 times altogether.
  • Recco’s international squad is full of with outstanding warriors: they field 11 players from the top four teams in Rio. Three Serbian gold medallists (Filipovic, Mandic, D. Pijetlovic), one Croatian silver medallist (Sandro Sukno), six Italian bronze medallists (Tempesti, di Fulvio, Figlioli, Bodegas, Fondelli, Aicardi) and one Montenegrin (Ivovic). Two Spanish, Molina and Echenique are also part of the show.
  • Jug fields 5 Olympic silver medallists from Rio: Luka Loncar, Maro Jokovic, Xavier Garcia (born in Spain), Marko Macan and Marko Bijac. They also have the 2015 and 2016 Final Six MVP in their line-up, Brazilian Felipe Perrone.
  • The two sides netted the most goals in the prelims, Recco tops the list with 116 goals, Jug comes next with 115. As for the goals against, there is a significant difference, though: Recco got 63 (2nd fewest behind Szolnok, 62) while Jug conceded 92 (the most among the F6 participants).
  • Jug enjoyed a fine evening while beating Olympiacos 11-8 in the quarter-finals. They were effective in offence, scoring 11 goals from 23 attempts (47.8%). It was a good team effort as seven players shared the scoring.
  • Jug’s Marko Bijac (best goalie of last year’s F6) produced a 52.6% saving percentage, stopping 9 shots on 17 attempts.
  • Jug’s head coach Vjekoslav Kobescak played frequently among the best as member of Mladost Zagreb (CRO). He won the title in 1996, and was runner-up in 1997 and 2000 (that time in the Final Four).
  • Recco’s new head coach is another legend, Vladimir Vujasinovic. He played for the club between 2001 and 2008 and was part of three Champions League (Euro League) wins in 2003, 2007 and 2008. With Serbia, he has 3 Olympic medals (two bronze and a silver), four from the World Champs (including a gold from 2005), five European titles (3 gold) and four World League wins.

• This is Vujasinovic’s third F4/F6 as a coach: with Partizan Belgrade (SRB) he finished 4th in 2013 and 2014. Recco’s previous F6 win in 2015 also came under a legendary Serbian coach Igor Milanovic who had arrived from Partizan, too. He led Partizan to a huge win in the 2011 Final Four, upsetting Recco in the final played in Rome. That time Vujasinovic was the protagonist player in the Serbian team and captured his 4th title.