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Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Preview
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November 3, 2018
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Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Preview

Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Preview

Must-watch matches in Brescia and Busto Arsizio

The rematch of last May’s all-Italian quarter-final featuring Brescia and Recco is the highlight of Day 2. The third Italian side, BPM Busto is set to beat the 2017 winner Szolnok after bringing down title-holder Olympiacos in the opening round. The Greeks face another tough visit, this time in Hannover while the in-house battle of the Croats, Jadran and Jug might also offer some thrills.

The second round will kick-off on Friday already with Steaua (ROU) clashing FTC Telekom (HUN). The Romanians lost their first home game to Brescia and they have an even higher mountain to climb as Euro Cup winner Ferencvaros, trouncing Dynamo (RUS) on Day 1, looks even stronger.

Dynamo returns to Hungary once more and the Russians won’t have any easier task while playing in Eger after their bad loss to Ferencvaros. Barceloneta (ESP) might march on after a fine win against Eger, the Spaniards are the favorites in Belgrade (SRB) as well.

The big game of the day will be staged in Brescia where fellow Italian side Recco is to pay a visit. Their clashes are always as fierce as it can get, last May the underdogs almost stunned Recco in the quarter-finals by forcing a penalty- shootout which they lost at the end.

With three games decided by one goal and the fourth ending in a tie, Group B already offered some appetizer how tough battles the teams would produce here. BPM Sport Management delivered the biggest surprise by downing title-holder Olympiacos and now they can go on hunting for former winners as they meet Szolnok, the 2017 champions in Busto Arsizio.

Olympiacos travels to Hannover (GER) to get some consolation after that shocking defeat but that won’t be an easy job. Mladost (CRO) faces its second German test after saving their opening match to a draw with a last-gasp goal against Hannover. At the same time, visitor Spandau (GER) meets a Croatian side again after they were narrowly defeated by Jug in Berlin two and a half weeks ago. At the turn of the 80s and 90s these two sides belonged to the rulers of Europe, in 1990 they met in the final and Mladost pulled off another triumph – this time that outcome would be a bit of surprise.

In the all-Croatian clash, Jug is the favorite, especially because they could play in Dubrovnik despite Jadran being the host team – the ongoing renovations in Split still prevent their rivals from playing at home and that should benefit Jug on Saturday evening.

Matches and Quotes

Group A

Friday

20.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v FTC Telekom Budapest (HUN)
Last season:
Steaua: 6th in Group B – 4W, 0D, 10L, 109-152
FTC (Ferencvaros): Winner of Euro Cup
Best results in CHL history
Steaua: Quarter-finalists in 1992, 1995
FTC: semi-finalist in 1989
Day 1
Steaua: 5-8 b Brescia (home)
FTC: 13-6 v Dynamo (home)

Andrei Iosep, head coach, Steaua:

“These games are good for my players because they have the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world. It is a big test for them to demonstrate that the gap between them and those excellent players is not as big as you may think at first sight. Of course, we are big underdogs, but we will show up and try to display a good game.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“I saw the first match of Steaua against Brescia, it was a good, tough game. Steaua is a good, complete team. Our main objective is to play solid in defense and to concede as few goals as possible. This is necessary to take home the three points.”

Saturday
13.00 ZF Eger (HUN) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
Last season:
ZF Eger: 6th (F8) – Prelims: 2 nd in Group B – 10W, 1D, 3L, 134-87
Dynamo: 5th in Group A – 6W, 4D, 4L, 141-133
Best results in CHL history:
Eger: 4th in 2017
Dynamo: runner-up (3x) in 1964, 1969, 1987
Day 1
Eger: 7-12 v Barceloneta (away)
Dynamo: 6-13 v FTC (away)

Nobert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“The truth is that the Dynamo Moscow is the same as Russia men’s national water polo team plus they have three Serbian players. We know that they are really strong, but our goal is to keep the three points at home.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“To stay in this race we have to demonstrate our best team’s aspects and we are ready for this.”

19.00 VK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
Last season:
Zvezda: eliminated in the 3 rd round of qualifications (v Sabadell, ESP)
Barceloneta: Bronze medallist (F8) – Prelims: 3rd in Group A – 8W, 3D, 3 L, 137-102
Best results in CHL history:
Zvezda: winner in 2013
Barceloneta: winner in 2014
Day 1
Zvezda: 4-17 v Recco (home)
Barceloneta: 12-7 v Eger (home)

Aleksandro Kralj, player, Zvezda:

“It is a fact that we’re in really powerful and high-quality group. Since we’re quite a young team, our goal is to learn as much as possible from every game we play. We strive to point out all the benefits when it comes to facing CNA Barceloneta. First of all, the game will be played in Belgrade, in front of our people and that for sure will push us to put up a great water polo fight! Although Barceloneta is this game’s favorite we’ll make sure that those three points are hard ones to take.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“We are in a very difficult group and each match will be very complicated and a good start is very important for the future. Even so, we respect Crvena Zvezda a lot because it doesn’t stop forming great young players of outstanding talent. We must be very focused and play a perfect match if we want to add the three points. We know the difficulty of playing in this swimming pool so we must be well prepared.”

19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Last season:
Brescia: 7th (F8) – Prelims: 4th in Group A – 8W, 2D, 4L, 114-106
Recco: Runner-up (F8) – Prelims: 1 st in Group B – 13W, 0D, 1L, 186-80
Best results in CHL history:
Brescia: 5th in 2014
Recco: winner (8x) in 1965, 1984, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015
Day 1
Brescia: 8-5 v Steaua (away)
Recco: 17-4 v Zvezda (away)

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“We’re going to face the strongest team: for us, it will be the first game on the highest level and we’re longing to compare ourselves in a great challenge. Against an opponent like Recco you can do nothing but give your best and we’re ready to do it; nevertheless, it will be also necessary to manage the stress of the big match. Saturday’s game will be useful to evaluate our current conditions.”

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:

“Tomorrow will be a very important match for us. Brescia plays well, has improved a lot compared to last year with a player, Figlioli, already integrated into their mechanisms. In Europe, they played five games more than us and this certainly can be a small advantage, but we have prepared well and I expect a good match.”

Group B

18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Last season:
Hannover: 6th in Group A – 4W, 0D, 10L, 133-150
Olympiacos: Winner – Prelims: 1 st in Group A – 12W, 1D, 1L, 153-102
Best results in CHL history:
Hannover: 11th in 2018
Olympiacos: winner in 2002, 2018
Day 1
Hannover: 11-11 v Mladost (away)
Olympiacos: 6-7 v BPM (away)

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“I expect a challenging game, especially after the defeat of Olympiacos on the first match-day. They will be highly concentrated in Hannover and they will not underestimate our team. Even a reigning champion needs the points, but we will not give way voluntarily. Let’s see how good our team is right now.”

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“The next Champions League game against Hannover is very important for us. We want to win this game, against a team that is stronger than last year and doesn’t have stress about qualification for the Final Eight, since it is the organizer and already qualified. We must impose our rhythm and fight with our well-known features to win the match.”

19.00 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Spandau 04 (GER)
Last season:
Mladost: eliminated in 2 nd round of qualifications
Spandau: 8th (F8) – Prelims: 4th in Group B – 8W, 1D, 5L, 133-125
Best results in CHL history:
Mladost: winner (7x) in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1990, 1991, 1996
Spandau: winner (4x) in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989
Day 1
Mladost: 11-11 v Hannover (home)
Spandau: 6-7 v Jug (home)

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“Twenty-nine years after Mladost won the European Cup in Zagreb against Spandau we will play a very good game with them this Saturday. Spandau is a very good team, has good players and a rigorous playing system. If we approach the game in the right way, I’m sure it will be an interesting clash with a good ending.“

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“Looking at the results of day 1 does give an idea, how hard it’s going to be to reach the Final Eight. The fact that we have Waspo in the group, already qualified, doesn’t make the road easier. We have reached a result to be respected in the first round against Jug, but that doesn’t help us. We need every single point, therefore we have to try making up the missing points against Mladost Zagreb. Mladost has managed a draw in the first round at home against Waspo. Even though that was a good result, they still have lost two points at home. Therefore both teams are already under pressure if they look for the Final Eight. It will be hard enough to go for a point in Zagreb, however, we will try to be successful.”

20.30 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
Last season:
BPM: Runner-up in Euro Cup
Szolnok: 5th (F8) – Prelims: 3rd in Group B – 10W, 0D, 4L, 169-99
Best results in CHL history
BPM: –
Szolnok: winner in 2017
Day 1
BPM: 7-6 v Olympiacos (home)
Szolnok: 10-9 v Jadran (home)

Marco Baldineti, head coach, Busto:

“They represent a very strong team that won the LEN Champions League two years ago and last year in the Final Eight lost in quarterfinals against Jug Dubrovnik. Andrija Prlainovic is certainly their top player, but they have many other champions. We will try to do our best, playing with speed against this very physical team.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“The biggest surprise on the first game day was that the Italian team beat the title- holder Olympiakos. Their play is fast and aggressive. They don’t have world-class players, they play together as a real team has to. I expect my team coming up with its best game so we can and play a good match with BPM.”

20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)
Last season:
Jadran: newcomer
Jug: 4th (F8) – Prelims: 2nd in Group A – 9W, 1D, 4L, 147-113
Best results in CHL history:
Jadran: winner in 1992, 1993
Jug: winner (4x) in 1981, 2001, 2006, 2016
Day 1
Jadran: 9-10 v Szolnok (away)
Jug: 7-6 v Spandau (away)

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“I’m sad that we are not able to play this first Champions League match in Split and to have a crowd behind us. We are officially the home team but will play in Dubrovnik. Jug has once again a strong squad, great players in every position. They lost in the Regional league to Mladost Zagreb, but Jadran has a different type of players and we can’t play the way Mladost did. Nevertheless, players are ready to fight.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“After a very good start of the season with a win in Berlin, we lost the home game against Mladost in the Regional League and our self-confidence was a little bit shaken. But our game is in progress and I hope we will show it in the game against Jadran.”

For all the news, results and match videos, follow LEN Champions League 2018/2019.

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