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Champions League, Main Round, Day 11 – Preview & Commentaries

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Easter Show: Barceloneta (2014 winner) v Jug (2016 winner), Recco (2015 winner) v Szolnok (2017 winner)

In a busy season even the Easter weekend should be filled with action – it’s good news for the fans as they can enjoy another thrilling round of the Champions League which might see a handful of teams securing their Final Eight berths. Still, a couple of sides hope to have a kind of resurrection with four rounds to go.

Jump right to the comments from players and coaches for the upcoming games!

For live scoring, stats and play-by-play action visit www.len.eu!

Group A

In Group A Olympiacos (GRE) has a relatively easy task as they visit Partizan (SRB), the only pointless team in the group and the Greeks can take another step to secure their top position (they are fresh from winning the Greek Cup for the 19th time last weekend). At the same time the other four sides continue their fierce battle for the remaining three spots.

The big match of the day will be played in Barcelona, featuring the 2014 winner Barceloneta (ESP) and the 2016 champion Jug (CRO). The Spaniards have had a brilliant run so far, they won their last five encounters but in this group, a loss would mean an immediate setback for any side ranked 2-5th. That’s why Jug, claiming three wins in the last three rounds, would also go for the three points as they are also aware of the pressure coming from Brescia (ITA) and Dynamo (RUS).

The latter two also face tough challenges respectively as they play with teams which virtually lost their chance to advance, still, Hannover (GER) and OSC (HUN) can impose a threat to any rivals. Dynamo visits the Germans and the Russians badly need a win. Though they had a couple of encouraging draws but winning only once in the last five matches made them sinking slowly to the fifth position, though after Day 6 they had been ranked second.

Last year Brescia and OSC had a tight duel for the last available F6 spot and that time the Italians prevailed – now only the home side will feel some pressure as the Hungarians are heading towards the exit once more.

Group B

Group B offers a different landscape, the top four sides on their way to make the F8, here Jadran (MNE) and Steaua (ROU) have some slim hopes and they play each other so only one of them can stay in the ring at the end of the day. And making the last stage might still be difficult since Spandau (GER) is to collect three points with ease as they play with bottom-ranked side Alphen so the Germans will most probably keep the five-point gap ahead of their chasers.

Recco also enjoys a five-point advantage at the top though their next two home matches are due against the Hungarian arch-rivals. The first can turn into another edition of Saturday Night Fever as the Italian giant clashes with title-holder Szolnok (to complete the Big Easter Water Polo Show featuring the last four winners of the trophy playing against each other). Their first game was arguably the best of all in the current season, the Hungarians managed to win the thriller by a single goal. That battle offered everything including a 4min expulsion on Recco’s side but the Italians stayed in the game despite of that. Something similar is in sight for this evening – and perhaps it’s a preview what comes on 6-8 June in the same pool when the Final Eight will be held there.

Eger is also heading to Genova, though playing in Sabadell is never easy. Still, the Hungarian team is the favourite against the hosts who have already bowed out from the contest for the finals. The Hungarians are on the winning track, having produced 5/5 in as many rounds, an Easter Sunday win would technically secure their fifth straight F8 appearance.

Champions League, Day 11

Group A

11.45 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

18.30 Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

19.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)

Group B

18.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v AZC Alphen (NED)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

Sunday

12.00 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v ZF Eger (HUN)

 

Insights and Commentaries for the 9th leg of the 2017/2018 Champions League

Group A

11.45 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

11.45

Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Last 5 CHL matches (Win, Draw, Loss)

Barceloneta: WWWWW

Jug: WLWWW

Last match

Barceloneta: Dynamo 9-5 (away)

Jug: Brescia 10-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Jug v Barceloneta 9-9

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

 “After winning in Moscow we have another very difficult game now in our pool against an excellent team. Jug is playing very well and has great players of great quality. Our goal is to play a great match and to add three points that bring us close to the Final Eight.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“We have a series of good result behind us and we hope we can continue the same way. The Spanish have put their game on a high level in the recent months so a very hard game is in front of us like the all games against Barceloneta.”

Viktor Rasovic, player, Jug:

“We are two teams who played in a similar way. There is no secret between us ‘cause we played too many times in the last years. This is the battle for the second place in the group and I hope it will be a nice and interesting match.”

18.30 Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

18.30

Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Last 5 CHL matches

Partizan: LLLLL

Olympiacos: WWLWW

Last match:

Partizan: Hannover 11-15 (home)

Olympiacos: OSC 10-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Olympiacos v Partizan 16-8

 Stefan Ciric, head coach Partizan:

“We are going to host one of the biggest favourites for winning the Champions League title. Olympiacos has been playing on a high level since the beginning of the season. The Greeks play very strongly, nobody has an easy task against them. Our aim is to do our best on Saturday.”

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“As we head to the finish line of the regular season, we want to continue with good performances in the games and of course clinch wins. Maybe we are the favourites against Partizan, but we don’t have to forget that the Serbian side is one of the most successful teams in water polo with great history. So we have to show respect and to stay focused 100% in our game in order to win this match.”

Manolis Mylonakis, player, Olympiacos:

“This is an away game and it’s difficult as all the away games in the Champions League. Partizan is not as strong as the past but if we want to win we have to be focused in our game from the first to the last second.”

19.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

19.30

Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Last 5 CHL matches

Hannover: LLLLW

Dynamo: DWDDL

Last match:

Hannover: Partizan 15-11 (away)

Dynamo: Barceloneta 5-9 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Dynamo v Hannover 9-6

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“The last game shows us it’s way better to win a game. Based on this experience, it would be nice to beat Dynamo. We will try it and do our best.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Dynamo is a good team, composed of Russian and Serbian players. The match in Moscow has shown that we can deal with them, I think that with a good performance we can achieve a good result.”

Moritz Schenkel, player, Hannover:

“Moscow is currently fifth. In Moscow we lost too badly, we did not arrive into the game. In the second leg, it is important to get rid of the mistakes. With a tight team performance, we can impose danger to Moscow. We have trained properly and want to win at home again.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“Our team gains great experience through every game. This time we will play with a very qualified team in which there are a lot of outstanding masters as Brguljan, Radovic, Jokic and also national team players. It will not be an easy game.”

Dusko Pijetlovic, player, Dynamo:

“I think we have to come up with a really good game if we want to win there. They are the team that play much better at home where they feel comfortable and there it’s really difficult to play against them, even for the best teams in Europe. We will prepare ourselves as much as we can because for us every game is crucial if we want to reach the Final Eight. We know what they are good at, but we also know where they have difficulties in a game and we will try to use that in our advantage.”

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)

20.30

AN Brescia (ITA) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)

Last 5 CHL matches

Brescia: DWWDL

OSC: LLDLL

Last match

Brescia: Jug 7-10 (away)

OSC: Olympiacos 7-10 (away)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

OSC v Brescia 6-8

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“For us, Wednesday’s match is about a final: we play in our pool and we have to win. In the current tight rankings three points are fundamental to stay in the hunt for the qualification to the Final Eight. With no doubt, it will be a very hard task, OSC has a very good defensive line. It will be necessary to be clear-minded throughout the whole game, no mistakes or gifts are allowed. Unfortunately, Paskovic will be absent but we’re ready to give 110 per cent.”

Laszlo Toth, OSC, head coach:

“Despite injuries of our key players, we will do our best to make a good result at Brescia’s home where we know it’s very hard to win because it’s a very good team. Now the most important thing is that the team should reach the maximum of its mental and tactical abilities to cause surprises in the rest of the season, both in our remaining Champions League games and in the Hungarian championship.”

 

Group B

18.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

18.30

Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

Last 5 CHL matches

Jadran: LWLLL

Steaua: LWWLW

Last match

Jadran: Recco 5-10 (away)

Steaua: Sabadell 10-9 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Steaua v Jadran 4-8

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran:

“This game is very important for us to stay in race and save some chance for the Final Eight tournament. As we play at home we will give our best to make as good result as we achieved in Bucharest. This game is our 41st game I this season, and it is very difficult to keep the players in shape on the highest level all season. We will give our best and hope we will win.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran:

“It is always nice to play Champion League games at home. Steaua is good team and we had a very difficult game in Bucharest. We could take the lead in last minutes of that game. In case of winning this match we reserve some chance to make the Final Eight. The team is ready for this game and we will give best of us.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“Jadran is very solid in defence. We haven’t found an easy way to score goals in the previous game. I hope this time we will be more sharp on the offensive part, because we have potential. It’s a must win game for them, so we expect them playing very hard.”

Nikola Murisic, player, Steaua:

“It will be very hard game like first one. If we play patiently and smartly we can achieve a good result in Montenegro. I’m sure we will give our maximum and play one high level game and try to win there.”

Mihnea Gheorghe, player, Steaua:

“In this round we are facing one of the fastest teams in our group. We must be smart in attack and try to not give them the opportunity to go for counterattacks because this is their main weapon. In the first game we lost because we didn’t take care of that! They are a young team, they all have desire to play and these things push them to some good results until now in the group. It will be a very hard game, especially physically that’s why we must try to put the game in our rhythm, play simple and if every player in our team will give 100% I am sure that we will make a good game and win!”

19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v AZC Alphen (NED)

19.30

Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v AZC Alphen (NED)

Last 5 CHL matches

Spandau: WLLWL

Alphen: LLLLL

Last match

Spandau: Eger 4-8 (away)

Alphen: Szolnok 4-17 (away)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Alphen v Spandau 5-17

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“The finish line hasn’t come closer and therefore it is not the right time for experiments. Even we are the favourite, we have to keep our concentration high in order to be successful. Alphen’s performance against Steaua and Sabadell did show that the team was improving and came closer. Alphen just won the national cup and of course they are going for the next positive result. But there is no doubt, we need the points and therefore I do expect a win.”

Ron van der Wild, head coach, Alphen:

“Playing against Spandau is great, a team with a lot of history and a top team from Germany. Our goal is to play the best game so far in the Champions League which we can than bring home for the domestic league. The team is complete, fit and ready.”

Jacopo Mandolini, player, Alphen:

“Currently we have a very busy schedule with lots of games heading towards the playoffs in May. These Champions League games make us stronger and we still notice the learning curve. We are looking forward to the game against Spandau, also because of some history with them but also because we have a lot of fans who are travelling with us to support us.”

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

20.30

Pro Recco (ITA) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

Last 5 CHL matches

Recco: WWWWW

Szolnok: WLLWW

Last match

Recco: Jadran 10-5 (home)

Szolnok: Alphen 17-4 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Szolnok v Recco 10-9

Filip Filipovic, player, Pro Recco:

“We have to start from the first two quarters played in Szolnok; that day we played very well in the first sixteen minutes, then we couldn’t withstand the pressure of Szolnok in the first big challenge of our season. Tomorrow will be another story, I’m convinced we’ll not repeat the mistakes. We have grown physically and tactically and we are ready to face the champions in charge. Atmosphere in Piscine Sciorba will be fantastic.”

Sandor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

“Recco is the fiercest and toughest team of the field as all the positions are filled with exceptional players. They have been playing in great condition for the past weeks, they won the Italian Cup and they are the leaders of the championship. Luckily we are also in good condition, but I will only be satisfied if we measure up to Recco.”

Gergo Zalanki, player, Recco:

“We won’t have a simple game with Recco, as they are a well-prepared quality team and they lead the championship. Playing in Italy is always trying. Nevertheless I am optimistic, because we are in a good condition. We are looking forward to this game.”

Sunday - 12.00 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v ZF Eger (HUN)

12.00

Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v ZF Eger (HUN)

Last 5 CHL matches

Sabadell: LLWLL

Eger: WWWWW

Last match

Sabadell: Steaua 9-10 (away)

Eger: Spandau 8-4 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 4:

Eger v Sabadell 14-5

Chava Gomez, head coach, Sabadell

“Although our main objective is not the classification for the Final Eight, we want to grow as a team to reach the end of the season on a good level to compete in our league. We will play against a great team but anyway we will try to create a hard game for them and we will try to play the whole match on equal terms.”

Jordi Mardones, player, Sabadell:

“The Champions League competition is very attractive but when you play against teams like Eger, without a doubt you have to give a plus of your game to be able to compete against them. We will try to be a very competitive team throughout the game and make things difficult for our rivals.”

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“Spanish teams are unpleasant opponents every time. Sabadell demonstrated this in the past, for example against Herceg Novi in both games. For us this is a must win situation, because three points would secure the Final Eight for our team.”

Gergo Kovacs, player, Eger:

“We worked hard this week, because we have time now to lay a firm base for our form for the final of the season. We want to win against Sabadell to make sure our position in the Final Eight.”

Krisztián Bedo, player, Eger:

This time I’m really tired, because we have had really strong trainings. I hope we can relax before the weekend and we can win in Barcelona, which city has offered so nice memories for lots of players from our team. Our goal is the victory and to participate the Final Eight.”

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