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Champions League, Main Round, Day 3 – Preview & Commentaries

LEN-champions-league-2017-2018-Day03-Preview

Outstanding clashes in Brescia and Barcelona

Though there are a lot of games to play in the expanded Champions League, Day 3 is to see a series of key clashes where the outcome will surely influence the final ranks and ultimately the Final Eight berths.

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

Some thrilling clashes are in sight, though the encounters in Barcelona and Brescia are standing out, no doubt. Barceloneta (ESP) aims to collect its first win after a draw with Olympiacos and a narrow loss in Brescia. The Spaniards are in the midst of a tough ride as now they face OSC Budapest (HUN) which staged the most successful start in three years. The Hungarians earned the only away win so far in the group, on the opening day in Belgrade, then escaped miraculously at home against Hannover by scoring the last three goals, including a last-grasp winner.

Brescia (ITA) compensated its somewhat surprising loss in Hannover with a hard-fought victory over Barceloneta and now takes on Olympiacos (GRE). The Italians won the last two encounters, though both were a bit special as Olympiacos had nothing to lose on the last day of the prelims (13-10) while in the Final Six in Budapest they clashed again in the match of the disappointed ones (8-5, for places 5-6th). In Piraeus, at the beginning of the season the Greeks rolled over their rivals (8-4) – this upcoming match is expected to be a much tighter affair.

Hannover (GER) posted some telling results, first they brought down Brescia and did a great job in Budapest but crashed in the final minutes and had to leave the OSC pool empty-handed. Though they meet Jug (CRO), the 2016 winners and 2017 runners-up, the Germans will surely go for another upset and the Croats showed on the opening day in Moscow that they were vulnerable. And they might even recall last season when Hannover stunned them in Dubrovnik as they led by four goals early in the fourth period but with an amazing 9-5 partial result in the last eight minutes Jug saved the match to 15-15 tie.

Partizan (SRB) might look for a positive result as they play at home with newcomer Dynamo (RUS). The young Serbian side is still considered underdogs against the Russians who opened their campaign with a brilliant win over Jug but had to learn a lesson in Piraeus in the second round.

 

Group B

They third day in this group won’t be much calmer either. While two matches look to be an easy cruise for the hosts, especially for Recco (ITA) against newcomer Steaua (ROU), and Sabadell (ESP) should also go for its first points while playing with Alphen (NED) on Tuesday.

The Hungarian teams’ respective visits promise much more excitements. Playing in Berlin has never been an easy task for anyone though title-holder Szolnok (HUN) enjoys another great season. They have almost forgotten the date they lost a match for the last time (in the Champions League it happened in the semis of the 2016 Final Six) and they are definitely the favourites in the home of Spandau. Still, last year’s game in the prelims should be in their mind as the Germans could hold on for three periods (7-7) before succumbing in the fourth (8-12).

Eger (HUN), F6 participant in the last three years, is facing a tough test in Herceg Novi (MNE). Perhaps the Hungarians have the better chances – they played a great match against Recco at home despite losing it – but the young Montenegrin side is really on fire as they opened their quest with two wins, beating Spandau and Sabadell. Another victory would make them a serious contender for a F8 berth.

 

Champions League, Day 3

Group A

18.15 VK Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

19.15 CN Barceloneta (ESP) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Group B

19.00 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v AZC Alphen (NED) ***Tuesday

18.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v ZF Eger (HUN)

18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

 

Insights and Commentaries for the 2nd leg of the 2017/2018 Champions league

Group A

18.15 Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

18.15

Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Previous season

Partizan: Prelims: 5th in Group B – 1W, 1D, 8L (76-124)

Dynamo: newcomer

This season

Partizan: OSC 7-11 (home), 6-15 Jug (away)

Dynamo: Jug 12-11 (home), 7-19 Olympiacos (away)

 

Stefan Ciric, head coach, Partizan:

“Dynamo is a newcomer in the current format of the Champions League, but the club from Moscow entered the competition with big ambitions and with a very strong team. Dynamo brought several excellent new players last summer. Among them are former successful players of Partizan: Dusko Pijetlovic , Nikola Radjen and Gavril Subotic , plus members of national team of Russia like Lysunov and Lazarev… The Russian club is one of the pretenders for the places at the Final Eight tournament. We must respect Dynamo. On the other hand, we didn’t play well in the last game before the Champions League Day 3, we lost to Mornar in the Regional League. But I know we can do better like in games against OSC in the Champions League and against Jadran in the Regional League. Both clubs were favourites, but we didn’t let OSC beat us with ease, while we earned a point against Jadran in Herceg Novi. In these two matches we showed our game model which we have to follow this season.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“We will play with one of the most famous Serbian clubs, with the representative of the school, which won Olympic medals, so we prepare for a hard and tense game and we will try to rehabilitate ourselves after the previous match against Olympiacos.”

Nikolay Lazarev, player, Dynamo:

“It won’t be a simple game. Partizan is a good and young team, but we are ready to get our points in this match. There is a good atmosphere within our team. All of us are in line-up and we prepare for the coming task.” 

18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

18.30

Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Previous season

Hannover: Prelims: 6th in Group B – 0W, 3D, 7L (98-128)

Jug: 2nd in Final Six. Prelims: 3rd in Group B – 5W, 2D, 3L (115-92)

This season

Jug: Dynamo 11-12 (away), Partizan 16-5 (home)

Hannover: Brescia 8-6 (home), 7-8 OSC (away)

 

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“Games with Dubrovnik are always highlights. We are motivated and look forward to play a good match.”

 

Julian Real, player, Hannover:

“If we catch a good day, it is possible to win against Dubrovnik. And I expect that we have a good dayJ.”

 

Alexander Radovic, player, Hannover:

“Jug has lost some great players compared to last year, but nonetheless they are a fantastic team led by two lefties, a centre-forward and the best goalkeeper in the world. However, I think we have a chance especially having a home match. I expect an outstanding game.”

 

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Jug is a good team, the last two years they were finalist in the Champions League, and now they are one of the favourite teams for the Final Eight. We are well prepared and expect a challenging game. We will do everything to achieve a good result.”

 

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“Hannover is a better team than last year, they showed that in the first two rounds. It will be very difficult match for us, very tough but I believe in my team.”

 

Hrvoje Benic, player, Jug:

“We have a tough game in front of us. Hannover is a team with many great players. Last year we had a lot of problems with them especially in the game in Dubrovnik. But we are focused for this very important match and I believe in our victory.”

 

Viktor Rasovic, player, Jug:

“Wednesday we have very important match. We need to take care of Brguljan and Radovic, their best players. Generally, our defence must be on a high level. We are the better team but we need to show that in the water.”

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v A Hid-OSC Ujbuda (HUN)

19.15

Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v A Hid-OSC Ujbuda (HUN)

Previous season

Barceloneta: Prelims: 4th in Group A – 4W, 2D, 4L (89-81)

OSC: Prelims: 4th in Group A – 3W, 3D, 4L (79-74)

This season

Barceloneta: Olympiacos 7-7 (home), Brescia 5-6 (away)

OSC: Partizan 11-7 (away), Hannover 8-7 (home)

 

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“The match against OSC Budapest is a match with doubled value played in our home. After two rounds our position is seventh with one point so this match is very important, we need three points to start rising in the ranking. OSC is the only team of Group A with two wins so the match against them is going to be tough and beautiful. We want to get three points with the backing of our supporters.”

 

Josip Vrlic, player, Barceloneta:

“CNAB wants to earn the first three points in the Champions League this season. The match against OSC Budapest will be a difficult one but we are prepared for this game. Our pool will be ready for this match and our supporters will encourage us during the whole game.”

 

Attila Petik, head coach, OSC:

“I feel like my team is getting better and better. Everybody already knows where his place is. Barceloneta is a very good team of great players, but we are also, so I’m sure there won’t be a simple match.”

 

Balazs Erdelyi, player, OSC:

“We had two Hungarian Cup matches this weekend and we were able to practice many tactical elements. Barceloneta is Barceloneta. We shouldn’t be fooled by the fact that they have only one point in the Champions League because they are a very strong team, which will be better and better. We respect Barceloneta but our goal is clearly to take three points or at least a point from Barcelona.”

20.30 Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

20.30

Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Previous season

Brescia: 5th in Final Six. Prelims: 3rd in Group A – 5W, 2D, 3L (91-78)

Olympiacos: 6th in Final Six. Prelims: 2nd in Group A – 7W, 1D, 2L (90-63)

This season

Brescia: Hannover 6-8 (away), Barceloneta 6-5 (home)

Olympiacos: Barceloneta 7-7 (away), Dynamo 17-9 (home)

 

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“We’re going to face a great team, Olympiacos nearly equals the whole national team of Greece, with three foreigners of top level: Buslje and Obradovic form an awesome defensive line, Pavic is one of the best goalies. No doubt, it will be a tough challenge but we play in our home waters and we absolutely want to stay in the hunt for a place in the Final Eight, so we’ll do our best to gain three points.”

 

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“We are going to Brescia for the third game of the season, with main target our first away win. We know that our opponent is a hard team that always plays for the win, especially in their home, but we are prepared for this. Every game has different difficulties and every game is special for the season. This is a game that we have to be prepared in every section of the game and be focused 100%.”

 

Josip Pavic, goalkeeper, Olympiacos:

“Brescia has a very strong team this season, this is one of the strongest away games that we will play, but we are also very strong. So I believe that it will be a good match and we hope that we can take something from it. We are still in the start of the competition and we have many games in front of us to achieve our target, but we want to win all the games in our home and fight for a good result in the away matches.”

 

 

Group B

19.00 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v AZC Alphen (NED) *Tuesday

19.00 *Tuesday

Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v AZC Alphen (NED)

Previous season:

Sabadell: newcomer

Alphen: newcomer

This season

Sabadell: Szolnok 5-16 (home), Spandau 8-11 (away)

Alphen: Recco 1-19 (away), Jadran 7-14 (home)

 

Ron van der Wild, head coach, Alphen:

“We are looking forward to this game, the difference with Sabadell is smaller on paper compared to the strong teams like Pro Recco and Szolnok.”

 

Philip Coric, player, Alphen:

“In the first two games we had to get used to the high level of the Champions League, while Sabadell is also newcomer at this level. They have the home advantage, but I think we can look forward to an interesting match.”

18.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v ZF-Eger (HUN)

18.30

Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v ZF-Eger (HUN)

Previous season

Jadran: did not qualify

Eger: 4th in Final Six. Prelims: 2nd in Group B – 6W, 0D, 4L (78-84)

This season

Jadran: Spandau 11-5 (home), Alphen 14-7 (away)

Eger: Steaua 8-3 (away), Recco 4-6 (home)

 

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran:

Eger is an excellent team with excellent Hungarian and foreign players. They really play very good games this season. We play at home and in case we realise all our ideas and we provide our best we have chance to achieve a positive result in this match. In our first two games we had excellent results, won two out of two, and we are ready for next one.”

 

Slaven Kandic, goalkeeper, Jadran:

“We really respect the team of Eger, they have top players, excellent shooters, so it will be a very difficult job for me. We have to be very strong team in defence and to try to concede as low number of goals as possible. Each new game in the Champions League is a new experience for our team and we will give our best.”

 

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“We learned a lot about Jadran. Good team with young players and an excellent coach. Nevertheless, our goal is the victory and I think we have every chance to get three points.”

 

Branislav Mitrovic, captain, ZF-Eger:

“We will have a lot of travel until Wednesday, it might cause some confusion since we prefer the trainings to the travel before an important game. Jadran plays a very high level water polo. They are young, strong, fast and dynamic. But we are the better team, we are more experienced. We have to win, this is very important also for the qualification to the Final Eight.”

 

Daniel Angyal, player, ZF-Eger:

“Our opponent is a great team, we have to play on the highest level, because we want to win. To collect the three points is very important for our team.”

18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

18.30

Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

Previous season

Spandau: Prelims: 5th in Group A – 2W, 1D, 7L (75-95)

Szolnok: Winner in Final Six. Prelims: 1st in Group A: 9W, 1D, 0L (101-62)

This season

Spandau: Jadran 5-11 (away), Sabadell 11-8 (home)

Szolnok: Sabadell 16-5 (away), Steaua 15-3 (home)

 

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

„We have had a couple of games this season. The start was not as good as I have expected. We did try to integrate the new players and I want to see that the team has made some steps forward. Of course, Szolnok is probably one of the toughest competitors we can face. But therefore we have to play as a team, try to keep up the concentration during the whole game. We can only withstand the pressure against Szolnok if we are wiling to play our best water polo. I hope we are able to do so.“

 

Peter Rohle, team manager, Spandau:

„It is a great pleasure for us to have Szolnok in Berlin. Due to he fact that Szolnok is last season’s Champions-League winner they are the big favourite. In the last season we have lost both games to them but considering the quality of both teams we did perform well. We will try to play a good game and make it tight.“

 

Sándor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

“Spandau is a good team, it is not by chance that they have been aboard in the Champions League for several years now. Their players are strong especially the goalkeeper, the centre and wing posts. We cannot sit back for a single moment. In the past round they beat Sabadell, which could give them more confidence. We will have to deliver a disciplined and good game in order to win, which we are determined to do.”

 

Bence Batori, player, Szolnok:

“Spandau is a strong team, they made several of their opponents sweat in the pool at Berlin. They have great players in several positions, their wing players and defenders are especially skilled. They are massive and tough, therefore we will have to play with maximum concentration at this encounter as well. It is evident that we go to win in Berlin.”

 

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

20.30

Pro Recco (ITA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

Previous season:

Recco: 3rd in Final Six. Prelims: 1st in Group B – 10W, 0D, 0L (116-63)

Steaua: newcomer

This season

Recco: Alphen 19-1 (home), Eger 6-4 (away)

Steaua: Eger 3-8 (home), Szolnok 3-15 (away)

 

Lorenzo Bruni, player, Pro Recco:

“Steaua Bucharest will come to Genoa being eager to show off, it will be a physical match as it often happens in Champions League. We are training intensively so we are a bit tired, but we are Pro Recco and tomorrow we will have to play our game.”

 

Niccolo Figari, player, Pro Recco:

“This game will certainly be a lot more challenging than the last ones we played in the championship, a great preparations for the December 9th match against the title-holder Szolnok. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking about that match, but remain focused on Steaua Bucharest and give 100% to make a good performance.”

 

Andrei Iosep, head coach, Steaua:

“The schedule of our matches definitely doesn’t help us at all. In the first three games we are facing the strongest teams of our group, all favourites to win the Champions League as well. Our task will be very difficult, we have in front of us some of the best players in the world in their respective positions. Despite of the result, I would like to see improvement in our game comparing to our last performance against Szolnok.”

 

Dorde Filipovic, player, Steaua:

“The upcoming game against Pro Recco will be a big challenge for us. We are aware of their strength and power and in this game everything depends on them. My team will try to present his best performance in this moment while enjoying the occasion to play against the best team in the world in the last several years.”

 

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